The resources found here offer some guidance on the relevant policy, research and practice dimensions of farming for nature in Ireland, as well as a bibliography of some relevant publications and a list of some useful websites.
How to help wildlife on your farm
Farm Wildlife UK was set up by a mixture of farmers and conservation organisations to help farmers choose the right measures for wildlife depending on the habitats available. They have identified the 6 most important areas for restoring wildlife on a farm: existing habitats, field boundaries, wet features, flower-rich habitats, seed-rich habitats and farmed areas. They give advice to farmers on each of these areas depending on the type of land it is and what the farmer aspires to achieve.
Managing your land for pollinators
The above link (National Pollinator Plan) has guidelines on how to help farmers improve their land for pollinators including 1) maintaining native flowering hedgerows, 2) allowing wildflowers to grow around the farm, 3) providing nesting places for wild bees, 4) minimising artificial fertiliser use and 5) reducing pesticide inputs.
To download the quick guide specifically for farmers go here.
Or view here a short video on what you can do on your farm:
How to manage hedgerows on your farm for pollinators
Farmer John Fogarty explains how he manages his hedgerows for pollinators on this short 5 minute video with ‘no extra cost to him’.
(Source: National Biodiversity Data Centre).
Managing habitats on your farm for birdlife
Click here for advice from the RSPB on how to manage habitats for wildlife on your farm, from margins, banks and headlands to meadows, scrub land and buildings.
How to help wading birds on your farm
See here a quick video from Scotland on how to help wading birds on farmland. Much of which is as applicable here as it is in Scotland.
What is Safe Operating Space for Livestock?
The central idea of this EU report is that there is a safe operating space for livestock. It lies between the lower boundaries defined by level of livestock production and consumption which offer sufficient health, cultural, environmental, social and psychic benefits of farmed animals, and the upper boundaries defined by the sustainable thresholds for the negative impacts on health and environment and acceptable animal welfare. Click here to view report. (RISE Foundation, 2018)
Results Based Agri-environmental Payment Scheme
RBAPs was a three and a half year project in Ireland and Spain working with farmers and stakeholders developing ways to reward farmers for delivering biodiversity on their lands. The key element of the results-based method of delivering payments is that the amount of money paid to the farmer, reflects the quality of wildlife (biodiversity) that is delivered on their farmed land. Whilst the focus is mostly in Leitrim, Shannon Callows and Spain, many of the links below may be helpful to those exploring this more:
Guidance for policy makers to support High Nature Value farmland
Building on the work of existing studies, European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism and IT Sligo has developed the basis of an outcome-based agri-environment programme which can be used by policy makers to support HNV farmland in the RDP post 2014-2020.
- Report to download Here.
- Case study of North Connemara and Aran Island can be downloaded Here.
- Case study of Iveragh Peninsula can be downloaded Here.
Other Useful Farming for Nature Websites
Agricology aims to share practical information about sustainable farming based on agroecological principles. www.agricology.co.uk
Blackstairs Farming Futures EIP aims to adopt innovative approaches to add value to the Blackstairs hill farming system whilst simultaneously improving habitat condition. View here.
Curlew Conservation Programme involves locally based teams of advisors, champions and nest protection officers, working closely with landowners and other local interests, to protect Curlew nesting attempts and to improve habitat quality. View here.
GLAS Scheme first opened in Februrary 2015 and is co-funded by the DAFM and the EU. This scheme aims to focus on the rural environment, focusing in particular on the preservation of various habitats and species, mitigating climate change and improving water quality. www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/glas
Inishowen Upland Farmers Project EIP aims to improve the economic sustainability of farming High Nature Value land in Inishowen through the implementation of a range of innovative measures which also deliver on environmental sustainability by increasing biodiversity, improving water quality and combating climate change. View here.
Macgillycuddy Reeks Agricultural Plan EIP aims to improve the economic viability of farming in the MacGillycuddy Reeks through the development of practical, achievable actions and innovative solutions to address the issues facing farmers on the Reeks. View here.
North Connemara Locally Led Agri-environmental Scheme EIP aims to ensure the long-term economic viability of hill farming in the Twelve Bens/Maumturks area. View here.
Pearl Mussel Project is a locally led EIP whereby local farmers, researchers, and advisors are working together to develop a programme to ensure long term coexistence of farming and freshwater pearl mussel in eight priority catchment areas in the west of Ireland. www.pearlmussel.ie
Protecting Farmland Pollinators EIP aims to develop a flexible mechanism that encourages all farmers to make their farm more pollinator friendly in a way that will not impact on productivity. View here.
The Aran LIFE Project seeks to develop best conservation management practices of local farmers on designated Natura 2000 sites while harnessing local knowledge with scientific expertise of Project partners. www.aranlife.ie
The Bride Project is a locally led EIP that aims to design and implement a results-based approach to conserve, enhance and restore habitats in lowland intensive farmland along the River Bride in Co.Cork and Co.Waterford. www.thebrideproject.ie
The Burren Programme started in 2016 with 200 farmers, is a natural progression of the Burren LIFE project from the previous 16 years, continues to work closely with farmers, advisors and the EU, DAFM and NPWS to implement solutions to help manage and protect the Burren. www.burrenprogramme.com
The European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism is a European organisation focusing on the maintenance of low-intensity livestock farming. www.efncp.org
Hen Harrier Project is a results based agricultural programme targeted specifically at farmers with land designated for the protection of breeding Hen Harriers. www.henharrierproject.ie
The HNV Link Project creates a community of practice and knowledge by linking 10 areas throughout the European Union where HNV farming systems are prevalent. These ‘learning areas’ are used to evaluate innovation examples and gaps relevant to HNV systems. www.hnvlink.eu
The Ideal HNV Project project identified the distribution and extent of agricultural land of High Nature Value in Ireland. This research was carried out to address important knowledge gaps for policymakers on the national scale distribution of potential HNV farmland. It looks at the typical characteristics of HNV farmland and threats to this type of farmland. www.high-nature-value-farmland.ie
The Kerry LIFE Project aims to implement, in co-operation with farmers and forest owners, a wide range of measures that will enable farming and forestry to be practised, in a way that sustains both the pearl mussel population and the livelihood of the farm and forest enterprises. www.kerrylife.ie
The National Parks and Wildlife Service manages the Irish State’s nature conservation responsibilities. As well as managing the national parks, the activities of the NPWS include the designation and protection of Natural Heritage Areas, Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas. www.npws.ie
The National Rural Network is a membership network for farmers, agricultural advisors, rural communities and others interested in rural development. It provides up-to-date information, case studies, seminars and conferences to maximise the beneficial outcomes of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 for rural stakeholders. www.nationalruralnetwork.ie
The RBAPS Project was a three and a half year project in Ireland and Spain working with farmers and stakeholders developing ways to reward farmers for delivering biodiversity on their lands. www.rbaps.eu
The Wicklow Uplands ‘SUAS’ Project is designed to assist both commonage groups and individual farmers across the Wicklow and Dublin uplands and will ensure the sustainable management of the unique, natural habitats the area is renowned for. www.wicklowuplands.ie/projects/suas_project
Water Friendly Farming is part of the Fresh Water Habitats Trust in the UK. It is a research demonstration project that aims to find out how successful agri-environment measures can be at protecting freshwater habitats and providing ecosystem services such as clean water and flood protection. View here.
Want to hear more from the farmers themselves on how they farm for nature, join us on a farm walk:
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