Beavers in Ireland

 

Sir, – It is always encouraging to have Queen’s University research mentioned by Michael Viney (Another Life, September 11th) but I would take issue with him regarding the possibility of introducing beavers to Ireland. I can raise three strong reasons why this should not be considered seriously.

First, the impact of introduced species is notoriously difficult to predict and experience indicates that their effects are generally negative, especially on islands and where mammals are involved. Second, there is no reason to assume that experience with beavers in Britain will be replicated in Ireland not least because our island has a different topography, hydrology, ecological history, settlement pattern and land management. Third, speculative species introductions are a distraction from much more effective means of addressing climate change and loss biodiversity.

We should be prioritising restoration of all peatland and freshwaters, and massive re-afforestation of land incapable of sustainable food production, using native tree species sourced from Irish populations.

There is always the additional problem of the Border which is no obstacle to invasive species but seems to be impenetrable when it comes to co-operation between the two jurisdictions. – Yours, etc,

IAN MONTGOMERY

Castlewellan, Co Down.