Biodiversity in your Neighbourhood
Biodiversity and Development
We are in the midst of a Biodiversity crisis. The global population of wild species has fallen by 60% over the last 40 years. In Ireland 50% of Irish Bee Species are in decline and a third threatened with extinction. Birdwatch Ireland estimates that two thirds of our bird species are headed for extinction. As a house builder we have a big impact on the land we develop and it is our objective to minimise the loss of habitat and put in place the green infrastructure to support biodiversity within our communities into the future.
What is Biodiversity
Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms within a natural ecosystem. As a general rule the greater the diversity the healthier and more robust the ecosystem. A useful way to visualise this is as a food pyramid with apex predators such as Birds of Prey, Bats, Badgers and Foxes on top. Below this will be the smaller animals and bugs that the apex predators feed on and below this again the trees, bushes, wildflowers, grasses, lichens and fungi that provide food and shelter. Our native plants are in turn reliant on insects, fungi and bacteria to pollinate their flowers and break down nutrients in the soil and feed the plant roots. Diverse natural ecosystems tend to be self-balancing and self- regenerating; for example Owls and Birds of Prey provide a useful service keeping rodent populations in check. Native woodland and meadows can regenerate without any need for replanting.
Cairn and Biodiversity Action
Every Cairn development incorporates a range of biodiversity measures to protect and enhance local Biodiversity and to raise awareness and knowledge of local flora and fauna amongst our residents. Biodiversity Action begins with the planning and design of a development; starting with a thorough appraisal of existing site features and scope for incorporating existing habitats, water courses, woodland, hedgerows and trees into the new neighbourhoods. Well considered retention of trees and hedgerows within green spaces provides a wonderful opportunity to give a neighbourhood a unique sense of place and character.
Feasible green solutions to engineering issues are implemented such as Green Walls to retain slopes and swales and grass basins to intercept and filter stormwater runoff. All of our planting schemes will have a high proportion of native tree species; in particular longer-lived specimens such as Scots Pine and Oak. We have reinstated and restored hedgerows across many of our developments and planted native woodlands in some of the larger parks. Within our green spaces we have sown wildflower meadows and bulb drifts to support pollinating insects. Our planting mixes for front gardens incorporate pollinator friendly flowering plants. Where possible, each private garden is provided with a native tree and residents are provided with bulb packets of Pollinator friendly flowers in their welcome pack. We have also been installing bat boxes and bird boxes across many of our sites.
Quality of life
Besides biodiversity benefits, we also believe conserving and creating natural habitats provides a pleasing and stimulating environment for our residents, especially children who have the opportunity to explore and grow in proximity to nature. Neighbourhoods with abundant tree cover and hedgerows also have more comfortable micro-climates as the vegetation buffers us from high winds in addition of course to their role in sequestering Carbon and providing clean air.