“Farming and restoring an Irish Atlantic Rainforest”
These Q&A sessions are a great opportunity to learn from our amazing Ambassadors who work with nature every day on their farms, and also to share your own ideas and experience of ‘Farming for Nature’.
First up is Eoghan Daltun. Eoghan Daltun runs a high nature value (HNV) farm and rewilding project on the Beara peninsula of Co. Cork. “The farm is all about productivity of biodiversity and nature. That is the primary aim.” The main block of private land is 21.5 acres, the majority of which is highly species-rich native Atlantic temperate rainforest. “The native woodland is incredibly species rich, this part of Ireland is recognized by biologists as a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ in terms of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts)”. The woodland consists of old sessile oaks and range of other wild native tree species. The understory is equally as species-rich and diverse, consisting of a vast array of wildflowers, ferns, mosses, lichen and fungi. The farm is home to an array of wildlife, including some rare species like the Lesser Horseshoe Bat, the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly and the Kerry Slug. The next block of land is a mix of native woodland and species-rich grassland. The final block of land is commonage. Previously a sheep farmer, Eoghan has recently replaced his flock of sheep with a small herd of Dexter cattle. He believes the cattle, as they are non-selective grazers, are better suited to his HNV farming practice and to the regeneration of the land. The plan is to graze the cattle on the commonage during the summer months and then bring them back to the lower lands during the winter – emulating the very old practice of ‘booleying’ which involved moving animals to the uplands during the summer season.