PRESS RELEASE  - Wetland Map of Ireland Launched

To coincide with World Wetlands Day last week the first on-line Map of Irish Wetlands1 has been launched by wetland ecologists Dr Peter Foss and Dr Patrick Crushell of Wetland Surveys Ireland.

Wetlands that occur throughout Ireland include areas of bog, fen, swamp, wet woodland, salt marsh, lakes, rivers and lagoons. There is an increasing awareness of the importance of the services provided by these most valuable and threatened ecosystems such as flood prevention, carbon storage and biodiversity conservation. However, in the opinion of Foss and Crushell, the value of wetlands across Ireland is not fully appreciated and many sites continue to be damaged each year by drainage, infilling, peat cutting and other activities.

The Map of Irish Wetlands project has been launched in an attempt to highlight the occurrence and value of wetlands throughout the country, increase awareness amongst the general public and bring information relating to wetland sites across Ireland into a single easily accessible resource using the Google Maps interface.

It is envisaged that the map will prove useful to community groups, schools and other bodies involved in promoting the natural heritage of their areas. The map should also prove useful in ensuring that the value of wetland areas is considered in decision making relating to land management and planning. To date over 3100 discrete wetland sites have been mapped.

Despite the known importance of wetlands and the requirement of authorities to protect them, our knowledge of the resource is poor as a national survey has not been undertaken2. Only after such a survey is carried out can the relevant authorities perform their functions in protecting these important habitats.

The map is a work in progress and will be developed further as more information becomes available. To date, no funding has been received for the project and both Dr Foss and Dr Crushell have developed it using their own resources in a voluntary capacity.

ENDS

Notes:

1The map can be viewed at either of the following websites:
www.WetlandSurveysIreland.com;
www.FossEnvironmentalConsulting.com

2The following counties have commenced surveys of their wetland resource: Cavan, Clare, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Sligo, Westmeath, and Wicklow.

Illustrations and photographs are available on request.

© Peter Foss 2012