“We have a huge interlinked biodiversity network at The Phoenix Park”
The Phoenix Park is a special world inside of Dublin. It is home to an extremely valuable Irish biodiversity, serving as the great green lungs of the city and as a connection between nature and men.
The next radio documentary concerns the biodiversity of The Phoenix Park, that interconnects a unique ecosystem with a place surrounded by a complex city. Beth Ann, an environmental scientist working at the Visitors Centre in The Park, spoke to The Circular about the importance and power of nature to a human’s life `We have a huge interlinked biodiversity network at The Phoenix Park´.
The 4th Earl of Chesterfield first opened The Park to the public in 1747. Beth Ann describes the 350-year-old historic lands before it became a park with `There was a cultural heritage of people from the city coming out into the area before it was ever a park, when it was prairie lands of Kilmainham, to visit the holy wells. It is where the park gets its name “Fionn Uisce” which means “clear water”. ´
The Park is visited by over 900,000 people each year and recognized as Europe’s largest city park by its archaeological, architectural and natural heritage. It supports 50% of the mammal species found in Ireland, such as the large herd of free fallow deer and about 40% of bird species such as ducks, or 4 out of the 9 different species of bats that exists in Ireland.
The free fallow deer are the main attraction of The Park; however, they must be respected as a wild and protected species. Beth Ann said that `The deer are a very carefully managed population in order to keep them nice and healthy´ they are used to be surrounded by humans and noise but there is always someone throwing garbage which is very bad for the animals because they might confuse it with food.
The environmental scientists try to educate about The Park by giving talks to stop people from feeding or touching the animals and from throwing garbage on the park and explaining the importance of these species to the Irish culture. `People do not realize how much does as a small little disturbance can throw everything out, you disturbed one thing and everything is kind of a Ripple effect´ enhanced Beth Ann.
The extensive historic designed landscape of plantations and The Park´s fauna are the main connection between this natural sanctuary and humans. The Phoenix Park is a strong reminder of the interconnectedness of all living beings and of how a natural heritage in the heart of a capital city remains important through several generations.