Northern Ireland's Priority Species

Criteria used to select Priority Species

Scientific criteria have been devised in order to identify which species in Northern Ireland qualify as a priority.

Species which meet any one of the following 7 criteria are considered to be NI Priority Species.

  1. Listed as a UK Priority Species.
  2. Rapid decline (2% per year).
  3. Decline (1% year) with Northern Ireland being a stronghold (S) consisting of either
    • >50% Irish population or
    • >20% UK population/range

    or with the Irish or UK population restricted (R) to Northern Ireland i.e. Decline + S or R
     
  4. Rare - confined to a small population of one or two sites in Northern Ireland with Northern Ireland being a stronghold (S) consisting of either
    • >50% Irish population or
    • >20% UK population/range

    or with the Irish or UK population restricted (R) to Northern Ireland i.e. Rare + S or R.
     
  5. At least 20% of international population of species or well-recognised subspecies occurring in Northern Ireland.
  6. Irish Red Data Book (RDB) species classed as critically endangered (CR), endangered (EN) or vulnerable (VU).
  7. Red-listed species in either Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland (BOCCI) or the UK Birds of Conservation Concern (UK BOCC) lists.

A wide range of species are known to meet the Priority Species criteria. However, some species are poorly recorded and there is not sufficient information to assess their status and any required conservation action. This is especially true for invertebrate groups such as spiders and flies, and lower plants such as lichens. For these little known species, increased recording effort is required.