Elaine Byrne: Biodiversity loss can be stemmed if we return to the beauty of our wild past

We have distanced ourselves from our native flora, with a consequent decline in indigenous plants and subsequent loss of wildlife, but we can all take practical steps to help restore it

A recent Plant Atlas report by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland has revealed that non-native plants now outnumber Irish native plants in the wild

We grew up on a small hilly farm in rural west Wicklow, where the fields had names and the wet bogs could be navigated if you knew the way. The names were self-explanatory.

There was the long field, the four acres and the haggard beside the cattle and sheep sheds. There was the orchard field, where a line of apple trees grew beside the ditch so wide that a path ran in the middle. Our ...