Climate change

There is evidence that climate change is negatively impacting on coastal habitats, and is also likely to have some effect on Irish species. Ireland’s wintering waterbirds, for example, may be responding to climate change as many species are showing a north-easterly shift in their range across Europe.

Invasive species

Invasive alien species (IAS) are species that have become problematic after they have been introduced (deliberately or accidentally) to places where they do not occur naturally. They can have a negative impact on the economy, wildlife or habitats and are one of the top five causes of biodiversity loss across the globe.

Many IAS, both plants and animals, are now well-established in Ireland and some of the different invasive species in Ireland present a significant threat to native species and to habitats and several, including rhododendron and zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), have proven to be extremely difficult to eradicate. In general, once established IAS are extremely costly and difficult to eradicate. The pressures presented by land use activities and trends towards increased trade and human movement globally, and now potentially climate change, mean that the risk of new IAS arriving and becoming established may increase in coming years.