Belfast Telegraph

43% decline in nine butterfly species in NI, report finds

Anne-Marie McDevitt, head of species at RSPB NI, said the State of Nature 2019 report ‘makes sombre reading’.

Northern Ireland has seen a 43% decline in the abundance of nine butterfly species recorded since 2006, a report has found (RSPB/PA)
Northern Ireland has seen a 43% decline in the abundance of nine butterfly species recorded since 2006, a report has found (RSPB/PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

There has been a call for an “ambitious” environment strategy after a report found a significant decline in the abundance of nine butterfly species in Northern Ireland.

The State of Nature 2019 report revealed that 41% of UK species have declined since 1970, while 11% of 2,450 species across the island of Ireland are threatened with extinction – including the small blue butterfly, cuckoo bumblebee and spiny dogfish.

In Northern Ireland, the report noted a 43% decline in the abundance of nine butterfly species recorded since 2006.

The report found that over the last 50 years, the way agricultural land is managed and climate change have had an impact on nature.

It also noted pollution as a “major issue”, finding it has a “severe impact” on sensitive habitats and freshwaters.

The report comes shortly after many took to the streets in cities across the world, including Belfast, to take part in climate strikes.

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Protesters at the Global Climate Strike in Belfast (David Young/PA)

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has commenced a public consultation on an environment strategy.

Anne-Marie McDevitt, head of species at RSPB NI, said the new DAERA environment strategy “needs to be ambitious”.

“The report makes sombre reading but there are some great examples of how we can turn things around if we work together,” she said.

“We need more of this, over the longer term and on a bigger scale, if we are really to make a difference for wildlife.

“The new DAERA environment strategy for Northern Ireland is our opportunity to do just that.

“This strategy needs to be ambitious, have clear milestones and targets, be set in legislation and properly funded.”

For a full copy of the State of Nature 2019 report visit www.nbn.org.uk/stateofnature2019

PA

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