Irish Gorse Fires Decimate Species
More fires have continued to decimate bird species in the British Isles. In Ireland gorse fires have spread across 16 counties, and according to Birdwatch Ireland, have proved a great threat to local wildlife. The fires have come at the worst time because of the nesting season. The organisation estimates that the worst affected species of birds are likely to include the red grouse, twite, grasshopper warbler, whitethroat, linnet, stonechat, dunnock, curlew, blackbird and meadow pipit. Mr. Murphy of Birdwatch Ireland explained that gorse fires in Ireland have greater consequences for wildlife than similar fires in other countries.
“Gorse and bog fires in Ireland are different in many respects to similar fires in Scotland, for example, as the compacted peat (up to 20ft deep in places) that lies underneath the gorse here continues to smoulder long after the gorse fires have been extinguished. Scotland’s granite terrain means that the gorse fire is faster burning and does not penetrate as deep underground and therefore the effects on wildlife are not as significant. In Ireland, the grass that grows in the aftermath of such fires benefits cattle and sheep only and not the birds and food sources that previously inhabited the area.”