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Title: A Framework for an Action Plan on Marine Biodiversity in Ireland
Authors: Costello, M J
Keywords: Marine Resource Series
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: Marine Institute
Citation: Costello, M. J., "A Framework for an Action Plan on Marine Biodiversity in Ireland", Marine Resource Series, Marine Institute 2000
Series/Report no.: Marine Resource Series;14
Abstract: As this century ends three priorities have emerged in environmental management, namely biodiversity, coastal zone management, and sustainable use of natural resources. At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio, 1992, the nations of the world agreed that the basis for future economic development must be the maintenance of biodiversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed at this conference and ratified by Ireland in 1996 (Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, 1998). These priorities are setting the agenda for the management of the marine environment and require people to broaden their understanding of the marine ecosystems and review their approaches to the use of marine resources. This report, with an emphasis on marine ecosystems, firstly defines biodiversity and how it can be measured, and indicates the reasons it is a priority for management. These reasons have been politically recognised at global and European levels, and the action required outlined. The various research approaches required to support management, especially with regard to nature conservation, are described. Marine biodiversity is a priority for management because of the ‘goods and services’ it provides to humanity, including its major role in maintaining the global ecosystem. The services provided by the world’s ecosystems have been calculated to be 33,000 billion US$, of which 21,000 billion US $ is provided by the ocean (Costanza et al. 1997). Coastal seas provide 60 % of the ocean services. The services accounted for were nutrient cycling, recreation, cultural, food production, biological control, disturbance regulation, raw materials, habitats and refugia, waste treatment, and gas regulation. The ocean acts as a sink and buffer against rising levels of carbon dioxide which is a major factor in global warming. The world is a blue planet because the sea covers about 70 % of the earth’s area and it is deeper than land is high. Because more than 51 % of the earth is covered by sea greater than 3000 m deep, most of the planet is dominated by deep-sea life (World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1992). This includes a remarkable diversity of marine life living in extreme conditions of temperature and pressure. While deep sea biodiversity is largely dependent on a rain of food from surface waters, it does include its own chemosynthetically based ecosystems around the ‘deep sea vents’. Life on earth originated in the sea, and there are fundamental differences in the physical and biological structure of marine compared to terrestrial ecosystems. In this report, the consequences of the importance of biodiversity for the management of Ireland’s marine environment are outlined.
ISSN: 1393-4643
Appears in Collections:Marine Resource Series

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