Wednesday 14 June 2023

Big bio bog

Property is theft. Or La propriété, c'est le vol! as Proudhon first coined it in Qu'est-ce que la propriété ? ou Recherche sur le principe du Droit et du Gouvernement (1840). I've been down a biodiversity rabbit hole since International Day of BioDiv on 22nd May 2023. I don't know anyone who'd like a simpler world inhabited solely by starlings, daisies, humans and house-mice. Darwin famously, only tolerated ichneumon flies through gritted teeth, and yellow fever is no fun; but in general more [species / diversity / difference] is A Good thing.

In my mind, property developers are in the same bin as ichneumonidae and yellow-fever virus: making a living as we're all entitled to do but causing a mort o' collateral damage as they tromp through the world turning sod into cash. I wish I could [easily] discover which property developer had been able to acquire nearly 2,000 hectares of the Dublin Hills by 2008 and where they are now. Because that PropDev went bust in 2008 and that holding was acquired by NAMA, the National Asset Management Agency. In 2016, they sold it, as per policy, to Jo Public for a bargain price to the National Parks and Wildlife Service NPWS. The leader of The Green Party Eamon Ryan would like to claim this decision was on foot of his on-line petition in 2016 to save the extensive site for sphagnum and recreation rather than 'development'.

I'm not going to diss him for his contribution. The facts are that 1,983 hectares in Glenasmole, known as The Featherbeds have been on the assets of NPWS since 2016 increasing their holding in the Wicklow Mountains National Park by 9%.

Ryan was up the Featherbeds and in the news at the end of May in his characteristic white-shirt-no-tie. "The catchment-based restoration plan launched today includes measures to re-wet blanket bog and plant native trees in deep gullies to support biodiversity, water quality and flood management in south Dublin."  Politicians love to be caught planting trees. If you find that Ryan looks suspiciously similar to Ethiopian P.M. Abiy Ahmed, it's because press release photographers have a want of imagination when it comes to snapping Big Feller handles Small Tree. Our own CW/KK TD & Minister Malcolm Noonan was present also. But it takes more than planting the tree to see it through to maturity long after Ryan and Noonan and I are all dead. For starters y'gotta plant it in a suitable place, then protect it from deer, drought and dingbat walkers. 

The case has been made to re-introduce beavers Castor fiber to such soggy uplands for flood control and The Eamon Ryan Memorial Tree will make a handy addition to any dam constructed by the nearest beaver. More to the point, the NPWS are going to need buy-in from farmers who graze sheep in the uplands. There is sound / solid precedent for this in the SUAS (Sustainable Uplands Agri-environment Scheme) project, whither we went on a works-outing in 2019.

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