What is biodiversity

Biodiversity encompasses the whole variety of life on Earth. It includes all species of plants and animals, their genetic variation and the complex ecosystems of which they are part.

It is not restricted to rare or threatened species but includes the whole of the natural world from the commonplace to the critically endangered.

Biodiversity lists

Priority habitats and species require conservation action because of their decline, rarity and importance in an all-Ireland and UK context. The Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, introduced new provisions and amended the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 in order to reflect the increasing significance of protecting Northern Ireland’s biodiversity.  The Act requires the Department of the Environment to publish lists of animal and plant species, and of habitats, which are considered to be of particular priority for conservation attention in Northern Ireland. 

The Northern Ireland Biodiversity lists are lists of animals, plants and habitats that the Department of the Environment considers to be of principal importance for the conservation of biodiversity. 

The purpose of the lists is to assist public bodies in carrying out their biodiversity duty by identifying the species and habitats which are the highest priority for biodiversity conservation in Northern Ireland.  It is also a useful source of information for anyone interested in nature conservation in Northern Ireland.  

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