“This is an excerpt from a paper given by Donal Daly, manager of the Catchments Unit at the EPA, at a meeting of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (Irish Chapter) in Tullamore in April 2017. It explores the role of natural capital in catchment management and outlines a framework for ‘catchment services’. The full paper can be downloaded here.
We live and work in a world in which the environment is challenged by the activities of humankind. The natural capital on which life on the planet depends is deteriorating. While the overall quality of Ireland’s environment is good in comparison to many other countries, the situation with our water quality, biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions is unsatisfactory.
As the future is everyone’s responsibility, there is an onus on us to evaluate how we, both as individuals and groups, can contribute to the changes that Irish society needs to make. This paper presents thoughts on ways that we can do this by:
- putting people at the core of environmental management;
- ensuring genuine sustainable development by developing and utilising the natural capital approach, as this provides a means of accounting for nature, including water, biodiversity, mineral resources, etc., and of attempting to ensure that natural capital is not diminished by human activities.
- integrating geosystem services into natural capital as a parallel service to ecosystem services thereby making it more holistic and defensible as an approach;
- making Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) the over-arching framework and process for water management…”