{{ 'Go back' | translate}}
Njus logo

Nature news | Njus Ireland

Significant decline in wintering waterbird populations, report finds

Nature Green News Ireland


'July 3rd, 2019 A new report from the Irish Wetland Bird Survey has found that the numbers of wintering waterbirds in Ireland have declined by 15 per cent in recent years.Themajority of waterbird species assessed by the survey, coordinated byBirdWatch Ireland, are showing significant declines over the lastfive years, with some species showing long term population declines.According to the survey results , key pressures negatively affecting waterbird populations include hunting, illegal killing, agriculture and forestry, fisheries by-catch, urbanisation, and poor water quality.Large-scaleclimatic changes are also causing shifts in distribution, it states,meaning birds from the north-east no longer need to travel as far asIreland to find suitable wintering grounds. “Changesin temperature, precipitation levels and sea level all greatlyincrease the risk of a temporal or spatial ecological mismatchoccurring, which may have deleterious effects on bird populations,”the report adds.Thereport also states that while existing onshore windfarms have beenconsidered a low-level pressure to Irish waterbirds to date, theexpected large scale roll out of new renewable energy developmentsmust be “located sensitively so as to avoid deleterious ecologicalimpacts”. “The processes for acquiring planning permissions in Ireland for such developments should protect designated SPA sites and their listed waterbirds from the impacts of windfarm developments,” the report states.Populations of diving ducks such as Goldeneye, Pochard and Scaup, for example, are down over 50 per cent in just the last two decades.In addition, the populations of Wigeon wintering in Ireland have declined by almost 40 per cent in the 22 year period assessed.Wigeon Photo: Alyn Walsh NPWS Thepopulations of Greater Scaup has almost wiper out, declining by 98per cent.The species breeds across northern Europe and westernSiberia and winters in western Europe, including Ireland.WinteringBewick’s Swan populations in Ireland also declined by almost 99from 1990 to 2015 Eachwinter, Ireland hosts over 50 per cent of the population of GreenlandWhite-fronted Goose, which, as their name suggests, breed inGreenland.The wintering population in Ireland has declined by almost21 per cent from 1993 to 2018, however, the report finds.TheWhooper Swan, which migrate from breeding grounds in Iceland,conversely, have increased by 39 per ent from 1991 to 2015, withBlack-tailedGodwits alsoup77 per cent.Dr SeánKelly of the National Parks and Wildlife Service said that the surveyfindings make for “real cause for concern” given the importanceof Ireland’s wetlands for waterbirds nationally andinternationally.He saidthat while climate change is havign an impact, population declinesare also related to the “management and use of wetlands here inIreland”. Speaking before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Heritage yesterday,BWI’s assistant head of policy and advocacy Oonagh Duggan said thatpopulations of a host of birds, including iconic species such as theBarn Owl and Curlew, have been “decimated” over the past fewdecades.Shesaid that climate change, the intensification of the agriculturalindustry, habitat loss, and plastic pollution are all contributing tothe decline in numerous terrestrial and sea birds.Thesurvey is the principal tool used in the monitoring of winteringwaterbirds in Ireland and the conservation management of the wetlandsites upon which they rely.Over the past 25 years, 900 volunteer counters and staff from both the National Parks and Wildlife Service and BirdWatch Ireland have contributed tens of thousands of hours to the survey.About the Author Niall Sargent Niall is the Editor of The Green News.He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London . The post Significant decline in wintering waterbird populations, report finds appeared first on Green News Ireland .'

Brexit uncertainty continues to bite Irish, UK businesses

Nature Irish Examiner Business

Optimism amongst Irish manufacturers dropped to a near three-year low in June, as manufacturing conditions deteriorated for the first time in six years amid heightening uncertainty over the nature of Britain's exit from the EU later this year.
'Optimism amongst Irish manufacturers dropped to a near three-year low in June, as manufacturing conditions deteriorated for the first time in six years amid heightening uncertainty over the nature of Britain's exit from the EU later this year.'