Nature Designations

Designations for the protection of sites or species of conservation importance.



NameWhat is it?
National ParkWhere plant and animal species, geomorphological sites and habitats are of special scientific, educational and recreational interest or which contain a natural landscape of great beauty. Designated under the Wildlife Act.
National Nature ReserveArea of particular importance to wildlife – most owned by state. Strictly protected for nature conservation. Designated under the Wildlife Act.
SAC – Special Area of Conservation (including candidate SACs)Sites of European and Irish importance for the conservation of habitats and species (Habitats Directive)
SPA – Special protection Area for BirdsSites of European and Irish importance for the conservation of wild birds (Birds Directive)
NHA/pNHA – Natural Heritage Area/ proposed NHASites designated for the protection of Habitats and species of Irish conservation importance (Wildlife Acts)
Annex I HabitatHabitats of special community importance for which SACs must be designated
Annex II SpeciesPlants and animals in need of special protection for which SACs must be designated (Habitats Directive)
Annex IV SpeciesPlants or Animals of European importance that are protected from accidental or deliberate injury, or disturbance / damage to their breeding or resting places wherever they occur (Habitats Directive)
Annex I Species (Birds)Species for which SPAs must be designated (Birds Directive)
Priority HabitatAnnex I habitat of priority conservation importance. SAC must be designated. (Habitats Directive)
Notifiable ActionsActivities or developments within a SAC/SPA/NHA requiring Ministerial consent (from NPWS). Actions are habitat- or species-specific.
Ramsar siteInternationally important wetland sites (open water, peatlands, fen)
Wildfowl SanctuaryAreas over which shooting of wild birds is prohibited. These areas have been excluded from the ‘Open Season Order’ so that game birds are left undisturbed to rest and feed. (Wildlife Acts)
Refuge for FaunaAreas where the specific protection of one or more species of animal is required, (Wildlife Acts)
Red List SpeciesRed Data Books/Red lists – National register and classification of rare and threatened species using IUCN criteria. Currently prepared for vascular plants, bees, terrestrial mammals, non-marine molluscs, water beetles, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish, bryophytes, mayflies and macro-moths.
BoCCI Birds of Conservation Concern in IrelandA list of priority bird species for conservation action for Island of Ireland.
FPO – Flora Protection OrderIt is Illegal to damage any plants or their habitat listed on the Flora Protection Order 2015 in any way. (Wildlife Acts)
TPO – Tree Preservation OrderLegal protection for specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands designated by local authority under Planning Acts
Noxious weedsAgricultural weeds that must be controlled e.g. Ragwort, Creeping thistle and Dock. (Noxious Weeds Acts)
Third Schedule Species Invasive plant or animal species subject to strict control under sections 49/50 of the Habitats Regulations.
This page was added on 01/11/2016.

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