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. For more information go to their website here.
The National Pollinator Plan
The above link has guidelines to help farmers improve their land for pollinators including
1. Maintain native flowering hedgerows
2. Allow wildflowers to grow around the farm
3. Provide nesting places for wild bees.
4. Minimise artificial fertiliser use
5. Reduce pesticide inputs
To download the quick guide 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 wildlife
Click here for advice 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. Its 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 (SOS) 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. The practical questions are how to identify this safe operating space, and how to move consumption and production into this space. Click Safe Operating Space for Livestock to view report. (RISE Foundation, 2018)
The Burren Programme
The following link gives an overview to The Burren Programme (formerly The Burren LIFE Programme). It includes information on how it works, why it works and what are the plans going forward. Click here for the Burren LIFE Overview Document.
The Aran LIFE Programme
Here is a layman’s report on the AranLIFE Programme – a results based programme based out of the Arans.
Results Based Agri-environmental Payment Scheme (RBAPs)
This is 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:
The Heritage Council
The Heritage Council has grant-aided the ‘European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism’ (EFNCP) to undertake work on high nature value (HNV) farming since 2010. Building on the work of existing studies (e.g. the Burren Life project, the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme, the HNV farmland pilot in Connemara and the Aran Islands, the BioUp research project in Kerry and the Irish Uplands Forum work in Sligo/Leitrim and south Leinster) and liaison with farmers, government bodies and other interested parties, EFNCP in partnership with 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.
Agricology is a UK platform for sustainable agriculture where farmers and researchers sharing knowledge to work towards more resource efficient, resilient and profitable agricultural systems. The website covers material from fields and farms, a resource library with about 300 technical guides, articles, leaflets etc. in seven themes.
Useful Farming for Nature Websites
The Burren Programme www.burrenprogramme.com
The Aran LIFE Project www.aranlife.ie
The RBAPS Project www.rbaps.eu
The Hen Harrier Project www.henharrierproject.ie
The Kerry LIFE Project www.kerrylife.ie
The Wicklow Uplands ‘SUAS’ Project www.wicklowuplands.ie/projects/suas_project
The European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism www.efncp.org
The National Rural Network www.nationalruralnetwork.ie
The Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project www.pmproject.ie
The Ideal HNV Project www.high-nature-value-farmland.ie
The GLAS Scheme www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/glas
The National Parks and Wildlife Service www.npws.ie