15 September 2023

Biodiversity surveys across Northern Ireland

idverde/ RSPB Biodiversity Advisor, Conal ONeill, in Northern Ireland has been conducting biodiversity surveys for three clients for the last four months.

These surveys have resulted in the development of management plans, species lists and biodiversity reports that will hopefully lead to the creation of new habitats in the form of woodland, wildflower meadows and hedging. Supplementing these proposed habitats is to build and place deadwood log piles, nest boxes and invertebrate boxes.

At one site in the city of Derry an unassuming amenity grassland on the banks of the river Foyle revealed high levels of biodiversity linked to a modest amount of habitat diversity.

Some species found at the site included Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense), Gorse (Ulex europaeus), Greater Bird’s-Foot-Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), Hoverfly (Syrphus ribesii), Marsh Woundwort (Stachys palustris), Parasitic Wasp (Ichneumon Sp.), White-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) and Wild Privet (Ligustrum vulgare).

Recommendations for the existing habitats have been to maintain them to avoid one overwhelming the others. Care has also been taken to put the local people who enjoy the grassland at the forefront so they can continue to experience and enjoy local biodiversity.

To increase biodiversity levels while also removing difficult-to-manage areas from the cutting regime, we have recommended sowing the sloped areas of the site with wildflower or converting to long grass and reducing to a bi-annual cut and lift.

Hopefully, on return annual surveys biodiversity levels will continue to improve and specialised habitat creation with the assistance of the local volunteers will begin.

Photo of an insect
purple flower
white flower
yellow flower with bee on top

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