Biodiversity is a term used to describe the variety of living things on the Earth. Biodiversity is fundamental to our daily lives providing us with all our food, much of our raw materials and many of our medicines. Ireland is a land of varied habitats, a patchwork of farmland, woodland, cliff and marsh, sand dunes, caves, heath, bracken, grassland, bog, fens and flushes, turloughs, lakes, ponds, springs and swamps. We have over 7,800 kilometres of coastline. All of these habitats contain a host of species, some common, some rare, and some unique to Ireland ( ) .

Longford is a county rich in biodiversity. Habitat diversity ranges from lakes, rivers, grasslands, woodlands, turloughs, and peatlands. Some areas are protected in the 22 Natural Heritage Areas and 6 Special Areas of Conservation that have been designated because of the presence of nationally and internationally important species and habitats.

All the living organisms on this planet have evolved over millions of years and each of them is adapted to their own role in their natural environment. Plants and animals depend on each other for survival. We depend on biodiversity to provide us with all the necessities of life including food, shelter, oxygen, medicine and services such as air and water purification.

When we damage biodiversity, we can upset this delicate balance of nature which may have long-lasting and far-reaching consequences for ourselves and the living world around us. It is important that we use the products of nature wisely to ensure that future generations may also have enough natural resources to meet their needs.

Planting for pollinators and sustainable gardening

Take a look at a selection of biodiversity videos, including 'creating a garden woodland' and 'creative and sustainable gardening'.