The Habitat Connectivity project aims to protect and preserve existing areas of nature and connect isolated natural pockets together.

The Belfast Hills are home to an amazing mosaic of natural habitats right on the edge of the city. Northern Ireland was recently ranked as the 12th worst in the world for biodiversity loss.

The Habitat Connectivity project aims to address this by protecting, preserving and enhancing existing areas of nature. In addition it will identify suitable areas for connecting isolated pockets of nature together. We hope to help our native species thrive and ensure they have plenty of space to flourish for future generations.  This is broken down into four simple guidelines:

  • More
  • Bigger
  • Better
  • Joined Up

By adopting these four guidelines, we want to develop a Nature Recovery Network (NRN) for the Belfast Hills. This is an interlinked system of habitats that allow movement between different areas, thus opening up territories for all wildlife living there. This can be achieved through simple actions. For example, high quality hedgerows can act as nature’s highways between areas of woodland. Rotating livestock on areas of grassland can give grasses and flowers time to recover and bloom.

The Habitat Connectivity project is being run in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Landscape Partnership. In 2017 the National Trust, Woodland Trust, Ulster Wildlife and RSPB came together to form the Landscape Partnership and decided to work collaboratively on large landscape-scale conservation projects. The data provided by these partner organisations has been invaluable in helping paint a picture of the whole hills area.

Watch the video below to learn how NRNs work and what we hope to achieve in the Belfast Hills: