25 June 2022 LIFE Insular Sand Dunes

LIFE Insular: Celebrating World Sand Dune Day

A new EU project ‘LIFE Insular’ focuses on sand dune areas at four stunning Irish coastal locations. LIFE Insular will work to protect and conserve precious sand dune ecosystems in partnership with local communities and interested groups. Coillte Nature and The National Parks and Wildlife Service are partnering with Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain for this innovative EU-funded LIFE project.

Saturday 25th June is World Sand Dune Day and a new EU-Funded LIFE Insular project will see Coillte Nature and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) taking steps in collaboration with local communities, to protect and conserve sand dune areas at four iconic locations on the Irish coast. The selected locations are not only areas of high biodiversity value and natural beauty, but are also popular recreational sites for locals and visitors to the areas. Three of the project areas are in Co. Donegal: Murvagh Beach close to Donegal town and Ards Forest Park and Horn Head in the north of the county, with the fourth site at Curracloe in Co. Wexford.

Aoife Delaney, Coastal Specialist at NPWS said ‘Sand dunes are beautiful natural places that are home to hundreds of plant and animals. What’s more, they help us by providing a recreational amenity, reducing the impacts of storms on the coast and giving refuge to pollinators. It is time to think about how we will manage these areas in future to ensure that we can get the best from this priceless resource.’

The project will work with local communities and scientific experts develop long-term conservation management plans for these areas. The aim is to increase the biodiversity value and resilience of these ecosystems in the face of climate change and rising sea levels, so that future generations can continue to enjoy these popular areas in a sustainable way.

The project will also seek to learn about the history and ongoing value of the sites from local communities and also to raise public awareness about the relevance, natural values and ecosystem services provided by these important sand dune ecosystems. This is a five-year project, and environmental surveying of the project areas and community engagement will take place over the summer of 2022.

A survey for those who visit the project sites or live nearby is now live at  www.lifeinsular.eu

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