‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’ - Coastal Habitats in grave danger

Tramore Eco Group (TEG) launched its dunes project with a ‘Vision Walk’ in an attempt to raise awareness of the urgent need to protect Tramore’s local and national treasure, the Sand Dunes. 

What is meant by the ‘thousand cuts’? It is the day-to-day, mostly human activities, such as trampling, dog walking, riding, camping and lighting fires, considered local and low impact, and therefore not raising concern. However, it is these repeated activities that are able to bring a site to a serious state of decline.

According to a survey as far back as the late 90s by The Heritage Council, areas both outside and inside of designated protection areas are in decline, many of them even ‘beyond repair’ as the report states. 

"We must look at the timescale. Nature is able to repair itself over a long period of time. There is human impact on the area that needs action right now," states geologist Robbie Galvin from Copper Coast Geo Park.

A lot more has been lost over the intervening years but much can still be gained by a carefully designed management plan and its implementation, secured by sustained funding.

Dunes play a protective role in coastal communities and are last refuges for species that need undisturbed grassland and flower meadows beyond the reach of intensive modern agriculture.

‘One of our aims is to draw attention to the value of the dunes, enabling sustainable visiting, rather than people randomly criss-crossing the delicate areas, including important archeological sites’,  comments Ecologist Katriina Bent, who is a member of the group.