Birds and butterflies given a boost

2023 marked the end of Co-operation Across Borders for Biodiversity (CABB), a successful six-year partnership project to save habitats for birds, butterflies and plants across Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas in Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland.

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A Marsh Fritillary butterfly balanced on a green, pink and yellow flower head.

Peatland restoration work carried out across the Ox Mountains near Sligo, Muirkirk in Ayrshire, and the Garron Plateau in Antrim has helped to lock away 4.5 tonnes of carbon, while drain blocking on the Antrim Plateau has allowed sphagnum mosses and other species to recolonise, helping to improve water quality and prevent flooding.

In addition, thanks to the project, 900 pairs of breeding wading birds now have safe places to feed and breed at Lough Erne in Donegal, and Gruinart on Islay. This includes threatened Lapwings and Curlews.

Butterflies have benefited too. As a result of the management of 170 hectares of land across Montiaghs Moss, Pettigoe Plateau and County Leitrim, rare Marsh Fritillary butterflies are now thriving and laying their eggs on newly created habitat.

A Marsh Fritillary butterfly balanced on a green, pink and yellow flower head.

CABB was supported by the EU’s INTERREG VA programme, with match funding by DAERA in Northern Ireland. The project was carried out in partnership with RSPB Scotland, Birdwatch Ireland, Butterfly Conservation, Moors for the Future and Northern Ireland Water.

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