Dromore Woods in Ennis attracted 70 volunteers last weekend for a biodiversity blitz event that uncovered 688 species living in the woods over a 24-hour period.
The event was organised as part of a national competition that featured five national parks in the country, all aiming to identify as many different biodiversity species over 24-hours.
Killarney National Park of some 12,000 hectares won the competition identifying 1088 species, but for an area of 400 hectares Dromore Woods was considered to have a high level of biodiversity by comparison.
Dromore Wood exceeded last year’s inaugural bio-blitz winner by 150 species, but had to settle with fourth position this year.
Biodiversity officer with Clare County Council, Shane Casey, explained, “the bio-blitz has two aims, to record species so you know what is there before we lose it, and the second is to raise awareness of biodiversity”.
He explained they approached the event organisers to enter Dromore Wood in this year’s event.
“We had 24 hours to record as many species so a fair bit of organisation was needed and we decided to break down the wood so people were looking at different habitats,” Shane added.
He explained that the species record demonstrates the high level of biodiversity that exists in Clare.
“We always knew we had a high level of biodiversity in the county with the Slieve Aughtys and The Burren for instance but this puts that into perspective and raises awareness of Dromore woods, which is right on our doorstep and is an amazing amenity. In order to find the best way to protect biodiversity we need to know what to protect and in that respect this event has been hugely beneficial,” he concluded.
The event was staged last Friday and Saturday where up to 70 ecologists from across various parts of Ireland flocked to the woods.
The competition saw ecologists competing to identify everything from butterflies and birds to flowers and fungi.
Dromore Woods was competing against Ballycroy National Park in Mayo, Killarney National Park in Kerry, Liffey Valley Park in Waterstown and Raven Wood Nature Reserve in Wexford.
A wide range of groups, organisations and institutions were represented in Dromore including Clare County Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, National Biodiversity Data Centre, Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland, NUIG and GMIT.
A number of public events were also held over the two days including pond dipping, bat walks, plant identification, butterfly catching, kick sampling, dawn chorus walks, exploring traps and activity trails.
Dromore Woods was a private estate until the 1940s before being taken over by the Forestry Division. It was worked as a commercial forest until 1985.
The area then became a Nature Reserve because of the diversity and richness of its flora and fauna and wide variety of habitat types. These include species rich woodland, rivers, lakes, turloughs, callows, limestone pavement, fen peat and reed beds.
For more information about the event and results visit www.bioblitz.biodiversityireland.ie.