Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021

Executive Summary

Bord na Móna launched its first Biodiversity Action Plan 2010-2015 in 2010, the first of its kind amongst corporate entities in Ireland, and is recognised as a significant initiative by Bord na Móna. This document outlines some of the successes and challenges of the 2010-2015 plan, and sets out the actions and KPIs for the Bord na Móna Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021.

The Bord na Móna Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021 builds on the foundation of the original core objectives and the actions set out in the 2010-2015 plan, reframing them in the current context and perspectives of peatland biodiversity management, restoration and conservation and also in the outlook for Bord na Móna as set out in the company’s Sustainability 2030 report launched in October 2015.

The company’s Strategic Framework for Future Use of Peatlands sets out the range of current land uses active on the Bord na Móna landbank (approximately 80,000 hectares in total), the range of future uses that will be considered and the main factors influencing those uses. The framework highlights the most commercially viable after-uses for the cutaway bogs as including renewable energy projects (wind, solar, biomass), niche commercial opportunities, tourism and amenity, and biodiversity.

The Bord na Móna Biodiversity Action Plan 2010-2015 was developed under this framework by the Bord na Móna Ecology Team and comprised five core objectives underpinned by a range of actions. The objectives relate to policy and governance, understanding the baseline ecological condition of the Bord na Móna bogs, rehabilitating and restoring modified peatlands, communicating the value of biodiversity and raising awareness, and reviewing progress.

The Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021 will be integral to and strengthen our transition to sustainable and renewable businesses, reinforcing biodiversity development as a core value of the company.

Developments and Achievements 2010-2015

The complete outcomes of the 2010-2015 Plan are outlined in this document with some of the key features highlighted here:

  • Biodiversity and ecology has been incorporated into the decision making processes and daily operations of the business units in Bord na Móna
  • The baseline ecology work has significantly increased our knowledge and understanding of the Bord na Móna peatland resource
  • Habitats and species with legal protection have been highlighted across the Bord na Móna bogs to ensure their preservation
  • In the plan period, Bord na Móna has undertaken the restoration of over 1,000 hectares of raised bog habitat and begun the implementation of a range of rehabilitation works across cutaway bog areas
  • In terms of rehabilitation and restoration, when we take account of previous work prior to 2010, more than 15% of the total area of land in Bord na Móna ownership has been rehabilitated and/or restored to date in line with International, EU and National 15% targets
  • Increased knowledge as to the GHG balance of cutaway bog habitats (acidic and alkaline wetland)
  • The level of awareness of the value of biodiversity has been significantly increased within the company and the communities bordering Bord na Móna lands

Key Action Areas 2016-2021

Building on continuing the actions outlined, and the success of the 2010-2015, the 2016-2021 plan maintains the core objectives and actions, while also incorporating new actions, relating to:

  • Working with other State bodies to deliver on actions under the National Peatland Strategy
  • Working with State nature conservation bodies and ENGOs under the National Biodiversity Plan to highlight biodiversity hotspots and work towards a sustainable network for nature in Ireland
  • Promoting the concept of Natural Capital
  • Developing a map of ecosystem goods and services for Bord na Móna lands
  • Identifying information gaps in the baseline survey work to increase understanding of the biodiversity value of cutaway bogs and their future management
  • Continuing with the long term rehabilitation of the cutaway bogs
  • Adding to the restored raised bog network under the Bord na Móna Raised Bog Restoration programme
  • Control and monitoring of invasive species
  • Assimilation of the outcomes relating to rehabilitation and restoration on Bord na Móna bog areas to develop best practice guidelines that can be translated to a range of peatland types
  • Supporting and working to develop GHG emission factors for Bord na Móna bog areas
  • Promoting awareness and education of biodiversity on Bord na Móna bog areas through working with schools and communities
  • Organisation of activities such as Bioblitz to encourage people to interact with and record biodiversity on Bord na Móna bog areas
  • Prioritising actions and developing metrics to track progress over the course of the 2016-2021 plan