Eco Advocacy

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Conservation Legislation

There are a number of important pieces of legislation governing conservation.


European Legislation

European Habitats Directive of 1992:

The Habitats Directive established Natura 2000. Its aim was to protect vulnerable and endangered habitats. It provides for categories of designation under SAC and SPA.

European Birds Directive 1979.

There are many more European Directives concerned with Conservation which range from IPPC, Landfill, Harmful Plants and Organisms, etc.


Principle Protection Instruments

SAC's are Special Areas of Conservation are designated under the 1992 European Habitats Directive,

SPA's are Special Protection Areas and derive from the 1979 European Birds Directive.

NHA's are Natural Heritage Area's and derive from the Wildlife (Amendment) Act of 2000. This form of designation affords protection to a number of habitats.

MPA's are Marine Protection Area's which derive from the OSPAR Convention.


International Conventions

Convention on the Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR Convention) (Ratified in Iran 1971):

UNESCO Convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (ratified in Paris 1972):

Convention of the Conservation of European Wildlife and Habitats (Ratified in Berne 1979):

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species and Wild Animals (Ratified in DC 1973 and amended in Bonn 1979):

Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio Convention) (Ratified in 1992):

The OSPAR Convention to protect the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic led to the creation of MPA's (Marine Protection Area's) for Marine Habitats. (Retified in PAris in 1992):

Aarhus Convention: Is more directed at empowering the citizen rather than conservation. There are three principal pillars to the Aarhus Convention: Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice (Ratified in Aarhus, Denmark in 1998):

Convention on Biological Diversity: Ratified in 1992:

European Landscape Convention: (Ratified in Florence, Italy in 2000):


Specific to Ireland

1937 Whale Fisheries Protection Act:

1995 Heritage Act:

1997 European Communities and Natural Habitat Regulations: SI 94 of  1997.

1999 The Floral Protection Order: Statutory Instrument 94 of 1999: scheduled a number of plants for protection:

2000 Wildlife Act:

2011 Birds and Habitat Regulations: SI 477 of 2011:


Wild Plants

Wild plants may be described as plants which occur naturally in the countryside and are often known as indigenous or naturalised plants. Some have adapted to specific conditions and can only be found in a very small habitat. This is the case with the unique habitat and climatic conditions in the Burren, County Clare in Ireland, where rare and varied plants thrive in this unique environment. Wild plants are a intrical part of a habitat and crucial to a vibrant and thriving ecosystem and biodiversity. Unlike Invasive Species or Noxious weeds, wild plants are essential to the welfare and variety within an ecosystem or habitat. In fact the presence and advance of invasive species is a serious threat to the survival of the plants that occur naturally in the wild.

Proper management of a habitat is essential to the welfare of wild plant populations. Over grazing has caused erosion and loss of habitat while conversely over protection in the Burren led to certain species taking over, necessitating a carefully balanced grazing regime. Kieran's love of nature and of the natural environment has led him to some beautiful landscapes and he is happy to share some of the images he captured from his travels. You are invited to view Kieran's photography, much of it (landscape photography) on a dedicated website on:




ISO 50001

ISO 50001; full name: ISO 50001:2011, Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use; released in June 2011 that replaces the British and European Standard BS EN 16001:2009.


ISO 14000

ISO 14000; a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations (a) minimize how their operations (processes etc.) negatively affect the environment (i.e. cause adverse changes to air, water, or land); (b) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements, and (c) continually improve in the above.

ISO 9000

ISO 9000; family of standards is related to quality management systems and designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders.

Links and Further Reading



Irish National Parks and Wildlife:

Britains National Parks:

The Burren National Park:


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