12 - Biodiversity & Green Infrastructure
Chapter 12 - Biodiversity & Green Infrastructure
Biodiversity has intrinsic value, with each species having a value and a right to exist. It is important because all of life is interconnected and functions as part of a complex ecosystem, with a multitude of inter-dependencies required for species survival and well-being. The health of the planet depends on the health of our biodiversity and humans rely on biodiversity for food, clean air and water, healthy soils, clothing and building materials, as well as for medicines and places in which to unwind and reconnect with nature. Biodiversity underpins important economic sectors such as agriculture and tourism and provides many other benefits. A Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss Emergency was declared by the Irish Government in May 2019 and Kildare County Council declared a Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss Emergency in June 2019. This chapter outlines many important sites within Kildare that contain rich biodiversity and are protected such as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs), Wetlands, Ramsar Sites and Nature Reserves.
Green Infrastructure is broadly defined as “a strategically planned and managed network featuring areas with high quality biodiversity (uplands, wetlands, peatlands, rivers and coast), farmed and wooded lands and other green spaces that conserve ecosystem values which provide essential services to society” (Comhar, 2010). Green Infrastructure can include parks, open spaces, rivers, farmland, playing fields, woodlands, allotments, and private gardens which surround and intersperse our towns and villages. Individually, each Green Infrastructure site has an important role and benefit in both urban and rural areas which can be strengthened and enhanced when the sites are linked together into a network of Green Infrastructure. Many social, economic, and environmental benefits can be achieved especially when the Green Infrastructure is proximate to where people live and work.