The Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021 is viewed as an important step in setting out the work that has been completed to date within the Bord na Móna bogs, the lessons that have been learned already in terms of practical management and successes relating to biodiversity enhancement, and how we will proceed to plan the future of biodiversity within the Bord na Móna bogs. The objectives of the 2016-2021 plan are outlined below:
This objective underpins all of the other objectives outlined in the Bord na Móna Biodiversity Action Plan. Bord na Móna is a diverse company. In relation to the environment there are a number of legislative regulatory mechanisms that Bord na Móna adheres to. The primary regulation mechanism relating to the environment and in particular peat harvesting activities is Integrated Pollution Control Licensing. IPC licensing is granted, implemented and monitored for compliance by the EPA.
Bord na Móna is a major landowner in Ireland, with a significant area of peatland making up the most of the 80,000 ha in its stewardship. Understanding the ecological status of those peatland areas is critical to informing how these lands can be rehabilitated into the future. The work of the Ecology Team on the baseline has become an essential tool in managing the Bord na Móna Bogs and will be maintained and updated as part of ongoing operations.
Almost all peatlands in Ireland have been modified to some degree and require some level of management to prevent further degradation and/or improve and enhance their condition. There is a growing recognition that investment in restoration and rehabilitation of peatlands can have enormous benefits for society both in terms of social and natural capital. Bord na Móna is working to develop and implement best practice measures in terms of rehabilitation and restoration.
A considerable part of the Bord na Móna Biodiversity Action Plan 2010-2015 focussed on communication and creating awareness of the value of biodiversity, and the benefits of rehabilitation and restoration of the Bord na Móna bogs. This work will continue under the next planning phase and ranges from local to international levels.
Annual review days are one of the key measures used to outline the work completed by the Ecology Team in any given year, and also present an opportunity for interested parties to comment. From humble beginnings in the Tullamore Court Hotel at the launch of the plan by the late Éamon de Buitléar (1930-2013) in November 2010, the annual review days now attract academics, scientists, planners, practitioners, consultant ecologists, local community members and Bord na Móna employees from a range of interests.
Some achievements under the 2010-2015 Action Plan include: