Biodiversity and Trees
Trinity has a Pollinator Plan as part of the National Pollinator Plan, and has taken steps to increase and encourage biodiversity on campus. Bee hives and solitary pollinator hotels are erected on campus to encourage pollinating insect populations.
On this webpage you can learn more about special trees, green areas and biodiversity on campus.
In our Green Flag programme, we have committed to the objectives listed above.
The 'Green Map' button brings you to a map showing the locations of trees and biodiversity highlights around campus. Click on any icon on the Green Map to get more information.
Trinity Pollinator Plan
Trinity has a Pollinator Plan in place since 2016, for more information see here.
The Trinity Campus Pollinator Plan is part of a wider national programme of actions to reverse pollinator decline in Ireland and help to restore healthy pollinator populations. Bee populations and other beneficial insect populations are in decline due to the encroachment of humans on nature and wild habitat.
Pollinators ultimately contribute to our economy and wealth (via pollination of food crops and other economic plant crops), our health and well-being, and the lives of other wildlife in the wider landscape.
Trinity has a number of birds which are on the endangered species list, including seagulls (yes, seagulls!) and swifts. The DU Zoological Society published a book of bird species found on campus in 2016, which you can view here.
In 2014, Trinity held a BioBlitz - a one day inventory of plant and animal species - to see how many plants and animals could be recorded on the campus within a 24-hour period.
The most recent BioBlitz in 2017 was a collaborative effort between the ZooSoc, EnviroSoc and BotSoc. The BioBlitz helps to prove that there's more wildlife to Trinity than just pigeons and seagulls!
Trinity's animals, plants and fungi are surveyed during the BioBlitz and volunteers are needed to help (that’s where you come in). The Bioblitz is a fantastic opportunity for people studying natural science to learn surveying skills (an essential part of being a biologist), and is a brilliant opportunity for all nature lovers to learn more about Dublin's wildlife.
One of the key aims of BioBlitz is to raise awareness about biodiversity – the variety of life that surrounds us and provides us with the ecosystem services that support and enhance our quality of life and connection to nature. Ireland’s biodiversity has been valued at contributing a staggering €2.6 billion to the annual economy.
As part of the 2014 Trinity BioBlitz, nests for solitary bees were made, which are positioned around campus.
Trinity established a small pond on campus in 2015, to provide water and habitat for wildlife on campus. The pond is located in an area of native, wild vegetation in the northwest corner of campus, in Steward's Garden. This area is protected from public access to allow native species to flourish, and is used for research purposes. Frogs are rumoured to be found there every so often!
35% of food crops (by weight) are pollinated by insects globally. Over the past 40 years, worldwide bee populations have declined, in some places dramatically (the colony collapse in Oregon in 2013, for example). More than half of Ireland’s bee species have undergone substantial declines in their numbers since 1980. The distribution of 42 of our bee species has declined by more than 50%. 30% of Ireland’s 97 bee species are now threatened with extinction. Contributing factors include the use of pesticides and insecticides in farming and gardening, and the loss of habitat due to development of housing, expansion of urban landscapes and removal of hedgerows.
As part of Trinity's Pollinator Plan, two beehives were installed on campus roofs in 2016, in order to provide habitat for bees within the city. There are very few natural locations for bees to live within the city. Bees are essential pollinators and are responsible for pollinating 30% of the food plants that we eat on a regular basis (apples, strawberries, potatoes, onions, celery, tomatoes, nuts, just to name some of the hundreds of food plants they pollinate).
As part of the campaign to raise awareness of pollinators, Trinity held a nationwide Queen Bee naming competition in 2017. You can find out more about the names offered here.
Ireland has 20 species of bumblebee and 76 species of solitary bee, a variety about which little is known. With a desire to protect solitary bee species, four bee hotels were established on campus for wild solitary bees/pollinators.
Green roofs not only slow down the flood of rain water from building roofs, but also provide habitat for beneficial insects and birds. There are green sedum-planted roofs on the Long Room Hub, Lecky library, Health Centre, and Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.
Santry Book Repository and Playing FieldsPart of the old Santry Demesne woodland, all of the trees at Santry playing fields are covered by a Tree Preservation Order. In 2017, buzzards were spotted nesting in the trees here. Nesting boxes for birds and bats were established here in 2014, to provide habitat and encourage populations.
We were extremely fortunate to welcome David Attenborough as our keynote speaker at the launch of the Trinity Centre for Biodiversity Research in December 2008. In his words, "The challenge of biodiversity loss is the greatest problem facing humanity".
There are a number of student societies to bring you in closer contact with the birds and the bees (and many other fascinating and diverse Irish species):
- Join the Zoological Society here
- Join the Botanical Society here
- Join the Biological Association’s Facebook page here
- Join the Environmental Society’s Facebook page here (the oldest environmental society in Ireland)