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What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity / biological diversity refers to the variety of life on earth. This includes the range of animals, plants,  landscapes and ecosystems found on the planet.
Why is biodiversity important?
Biodiversity provides a range of environmental, social and economic benefits, which are referred to as ecosystem services (essential natural services for our survival) to include:

  • Provisioning services are the products obtained from ecosystems to include food, fresh water, clean air, energy, fibre and medicines.
  • Regulating services are the benefits derived from the regulation of ecosystem processes, for example, climate regulation, natural hazard regulation, water purification, waste management and pollination.
  • Habitat services highlight the importance of ecosystems that provide habitats for wildlife. 
  • Cultural services include non-material benefits that people obtain from ecosystems, which are crucial for our well-being to include recreational resources and aesthetic values.

However, biodiversity is threatened by many factors, including habitat loss, pollution, climate change and invasive alien species. The loss of biodiversity affects these essential ecosystem services. We all have a responsibility to protect biodiversity. Government, businesses, local communities, landowners and individuals all have a role in protecting biodiversity.

What is a Local Biodiversity Action Plan?

Since signing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio in 1992, the UK has committed to halting the loss of biodiversity. In response to the CBD, the UK Biodiversity Action Plan was published in 1994, which proposed that Local Biodiversity Action Plans should be prepared to implement the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. As part of this obligation, Council established the Foyle Biodiversity Partnership, a local partnership of government departments, community and voluntary organisations to produce a Derry & Strabane Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2008-2013.

Since the publication of this first LBAP for the district, there has been several legislation and policy changes relevant to biodiversity. Therefore, to reflect these changes, Council has developed a holistic ecological functioning landscape (green infrastructure) approach to biodiversity. The protection and enhancement of the district’s biodiversity, will form part of the development of an overall ’Green Infrastructure’  of greenspaces, landscapes and natural elements.