Irish wetlands, which provide a home to many plant and animal species, are in danger of destruction because of poor management and inappropriate development, Minister for the Environment John Gormley has said.
He was speaking in Monaghan yesterday at the Wise Use of Wetlands conference, held to coincide with World Wetlands Day.
Ireland's climate and geology made it particularly rich in bogs and other wetland areas, and in addition to providing habitats for wildlife, they are essential to the battle against climate change, Mr Gormley said.
"Wetlands in particular provide us with important environmental services such as flood mitigation, water supply and pollution control. Peatlands also act as carbon sinks, an important service in the battle against increased CO2 emissions."
These resources had been abused in the past, he said. "Many of our most important habitats have been threatened and damaged through poor management and inappropriate development."
Fen sites in Monaghan faced threats from pollution, afforestation, illegal dumping, drainage and invasive species.
The Government was developing a new national biodiversity plan which would tackle these threats, he said.
The Irish Times