The EU’s own research body, the Joint Research Centre, has published the first-ever atlas showing areas of Ireland and the rest of the EU where the biodiversity of soil is under threat. The biodiversity in our soils plays a vital role in sustaining life above ground. It is key in agriculture and in the water and carbon cycle. Human pressures, invasive species and erosion are some of the main threats to soil.
Areas of Limerick, Kerry, Cavan and Leitrim show a higher risk to biodiversity than other parts of the Republic. However, the soil in Northern Ireland shows much higher widespread risk right up to border areas. The lowest risk areas are along the Western seaboard.
Of EU Member States, the UK and the Benelux countries show by far the highest proportion of soil under threat with large areas at ‘extremely high risk’. Southern Member States fare much better.