Invasion Resistance and Sectoral Impacts

Invasion Resistance and Sectoral Impacts

Funding Body (EPA, FP7, etc):    EPA

Project type (PhD, post-doc, etc): PhD

Period (start to end) October 2008 - 2012

Researcher: Roaslyn Thompson

Project Description  

This research project forms part of the larger collaborative Simbiosys project (in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin) which is conducting research into the sectoral impacts (of transport, agriculture and aquaculture) upon native biodiversity and ecosystem services (including invasion resistance, pollination, natural biocontrol and carbon sequestration). The project focuses on particular aspects of these sectors including road landscaping, bio-energy crops and bioremediation respectively.  The objective is to quantify the associated positive and negative impacts and to inform policy as to best practice in terms of avoidance, mitigation and compensation measures.

The main focus of this study is the landscaping of national road schemes.  It is a cross-cutting study which will also examine the floral assemblages in other terrestrial habitats (especially agricultural).

In 2006, the National Roads Authority (NRA) issued new guidelines which highlighted the ecological landscape design approach to landscape planting which promoted a more sustainable and cost effective approach to landscape planting. The approach included: native-only planting policy; use of suitable soil substrates, suitable sources for plants i.e.  Irish provenance; landscape schemes should reflect the wider environment; fertilizer application should cease; application of herbicides/pesticides should be minimized or avoided all together.

This projects aims to identify/assess (a) the impacts which these guidelines have had on the wider environment; (b) whether these guidelines have led to a more sustainable approach to road landscaping; (c) whether road schemes can improve connectivity in the landscape to the benefit of native biodiversity; (d) whether landscaping schemes can be manipulated to improve invasion resistance.

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork