You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.Wangari Maathai
NATURE: It’s all about people, places and things
Save Killarney National Park
…it’s time to call in the army
Thursday 15 December, 2016
(Up-dated: Thursday 1st November, 2018 – by Tom Roche)
Killarney National Park is on the brink of ecocide. An ecological disaster is taking place in the first national park to be established in the State. One of the world’s oldest oak forests is slowly dying. The rhododendron infestation and increased deer population across the region has not been adequately tackled. The infestation is now out of control. It is annihilating native flora and preventing new native species of oak, etc from growing. Nothing short of calling in the Army to break the back of the problem will suffice.
At the COP 13 UN Biodiversity Conference now taking place in Cancun, Mexico from 4 – 17 December 2016, the more than 190 countries attending have been requested to ramp up actions to protect biological diversity. A number of countries have adopted the Cancun Declaration. The Declaration represents an unprecedented recognition from the international community that biodiversity protection must involve different governmental and economic sectors and not just the environmental ministries.
On Friday last 11th December countries were asked to put actions in place without delay to protect our pollinators. Bees are major pollinators and Rhododendron is of particular threat to bees according to a report published by Botanists from Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) School of Natural Sciences entitled, ‘Toxic Tastes – Ireland’s Bees and Non-Native Rhododendron Nectar’, which was published in November 2015. Also, according to the Forest Service Rhododendron is also linked to ’Sudden Oak Death’.
Today we are seeing mass damage and destruction to the environment and people’s lives on a scale that has never been seen before in history. This sort of destruction is seriously impacting the natural world-the source of life. Our planetary boundaries (i.e., safe operating space for humanity) on a number of fronts, for example biological diversity, have already been crossed. Other planetary boundaries includes ‘land use’, ‘fresh water use’ and ‘biogeochemical flows’. The more we cross our planetary boundaries the greater the threat to our survival by making Earth less inhabitable.
Just Forests are now calling on the Government to put the necessary financial and legal instruments in place to make the proper removal of rhododendron from every garden, hedge row, field, forest and woodland in this area compulsory as a matter of urgency. We are calling for an Invasive Species Action Plan For Kerry & Cork Region. The objectives of the plan is to eradicate rhododendron and control the spread of existing invasive alien species (IAS) and to prevent any new IAS from becoming established in the Kerry/Cork region.
The real value of biodiversity to tourism, agriculture, fisheries and the forestry sectors in Ireland is priceless and beyond question. It is now time to act and give the next generation the security of a functioning and healthy natural world before it’s too late. It is not unusual for small States around the world to deploy their armies to act in the Public Interest – now is such a time for Ireland.
Just Forests will commence an on-line public campaign soon to get people across the world to email the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence, Enda Kenny, T.D., to deploy the defence forces immediately to eradicate the rhododendron problem for once and for all. Then the maintenance work of voluntary bodies such as Killarney Mountain Meitheal (of which Just Forests is a member) will be much more successful and enjoyable.
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