What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the short term used for 'biological diversity', which is 'the total variety of all living plants and animals, and the habitats in which they live'. The biodiversity we see today is the result of millions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It is found all around us, in our gardens, parks, woodlands, fields, mountains, lakes and rivers and in our coastal and marine habitats.

Why is it important?

Biodiversity is a key measure of the health of our planet and therefore vital for our survival. We are part of biodiversity and depend on it for our quality of life. Biodiversity impacts on every aspect of our lives. It not only provides the air that we breathe and the food that we eat; it also helps to create a pleasant environment for us to live in by adding variety to our surroundings. Biodiversity is an important part of our cultural heritage. It is important in defining local character and distinctiveness, and has helped shape our culture and inspire our poets, painters, writers and composers.

The many benefits of biodiversity highlight why we need to ensure that we halt the loss and work together to protect, and where achievable, restore and enhance our local biodiversity.

Newry and Mourne Local Biodiversity Action Plan

An Action Plan to protect and promote Newry and Mourne's biodiversity was published in March 2009. Local biodiversity action plans have come about through a number of international, national and local processes. These plans have led to local action for wildlife and habitats and are fantastic opportunities to raise awareness of biodiversity throughout Northern Ireland.












To find out more about Newry and Mourne's biodiversity and how you can get involved, or to obtain a copy of the Local Biodiversity Action Plan Click Here, or contact Danielle Begley, Newry and Mourne Biodiversity Officer on 028 3031 3100 or E-mail:

Newry and Mourne District Council Wildlife Gardening Competition

Urban habitats and gardens have been highlighted in the Newry and Mourne Biodiversity Action Plan as important for biodiversity. As a result of this, Newry and Mourne District Council in partnership with Ulster Wildlife Trust launched their first ever wildlife gardening competition in March 2008 to encourage everyone in the district to 'do one more thing' for wildlife in their gardens.

The competition aims to promote the creation of attractive and welcoming gardens, both for wildlife and people. Entries are encouraged from private gardens, school gardens, community gardens and business gardens. No matter how big or small, every garden has the potential to be a mini nature reserve!

For more information on the Wildlife Gardening Competition please click here, or contact Danielle Begley, Newry and Mourne Biodiversity Officer on 028 3031 3100 or email

Previous Winners

1. Bunscoil an Iuir—School Winner 2008

2. St Mary’s P.S. Glassdrumman—School Winner 2009

3. Mr and Mrs Newell Bingham, Ballymartin—Private Garden Winner 2008

4. Mr and Mrs Liam Blair, Newry—Private Garden Winner 2009

5. Annetts garden centre, Warrenpoint—Business Garden Winner 2008

Image Library


Daisy Hill Wood Local Nature Reserve

Daisy Hill Wood is a main feature on the hill above Newry city and most people would know the site from its history as a plant nursery for 100 years (1890-1990). Daisy Hill Wood is open to the public all year round and offers woodland walks and tranquility, with the promise of brilliant views over the city. Visitors to this historic site can enjoy mature oak, ash and beech in the banks and hedges, while in the springtime, primroses and bluebells provide a colourful greeting. The woodland is also home to many precious wild inhabitants, including bats, foxes and hedgehogs, while birds include long-eared owls.

On Sunday 31st January 2010, Daisy Hill Wood opened its doors to nature lovers of all ages for a very special celebration. Much to the delight of local people, Newry and Mourne District Council has declared Daisy Hill Wood as a Local Nature Reserve - the first of its kind in Newry and Mourne.

This new status will ensure that Daisy Hill Wood remains a protected site and will continue to make an important contribution to local biodiversity, as well as being a great place for people to visit.














In the picture from left to right: Gregor Fulton, The Woodland Trust, Tiernan Campbell, Newry, Danielle Begley, Biodiversity Officer and Cllr John Feehan, previous Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council.

For further information on Daisy Hill Wood, please contact Danielle Begley, Biodiversity Officer on 028 3031 3100 or e-mail

Relevant Links



Action for biodiversity is a new Cross border Project with an office in Newry and Mourne DC

Different wildlife legislation, planning policies and consent procedures exist North and South, but there is a major opportunity through EU biodiversity legislation and strategies to overcome these differences. The Action for Biodiversity project connects the two jurisdictions and ten local authorities in one project in the East border Region. The EBR comprises the Irish counties of Louth, Meath and Monaghan with parts of Counties Armagh, Down and Antrim in Northern Ireland.

Funded under the INTERREG IVA Programme Action for Biodiversity is a three year project which aims to successfully deliver a regional and cross-border Framework for the EBR. The first on the island of Ireland.

The framework will engage EBR member councils and communities with biodiversity, raise awareness and build capacity for the protection of habitats and species and ecosystems in the region.

Overall the conservation status of habitats and species in the EBR is poor to bad which means that biodiversity loss in the region is continuing unabated. The habitats and species are the building blocks of our biodiversity and enable ecosystems to continue functioning. A functioning ecosystem provides a myriad of services for us such as flood and climate control, pollination for our crops, clean water and air and waste management amongst many others. A strong vibrant economy has biodiversity at its core with a functioning healthy environment at its heart.

There is a need for a focused approach to the EBR as an ECOREGION, sharing common approaches to environmental management and protection. Many environmental assets (eg waterways and coasts)—and challenges (eg waste, littering and pollution) are shared. An audit undertaken during the development of the project shows however, that local authorities across the region are at different stages and have varying levels of experience with regard to integrating biodiversity into their services and in responding to the assets and challenges. This audit establishes the baseline for future actions and the framework will take into account these differences and set individual targets for each local authority. These will be coordinated to support regional targets so that all work is collaborative.

The specific objectives are:

To enhance and protect key habitats and species in the cross-border region

To engage and enthuse people across the region with their local natural environment

Biodiversity protection and enhancement through Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAP) development and implementation