Research on HNV farming in Ireland
EFNCP's work is informed by and builds on the efforts of many researchers in a number of academic establishments, including:
- NUI Galway Applied Ecology Unit and Dept. of Botany, under the guidance of Mike Gormally and Micheline Sheehy Skeffington respectively.
- UC Cork Geography Dept. under Eileen O'Rourke. The publishing of a book summarising the results of the BioUp project was supported by EFNCP.
- Teagasc under John Finn.
- Sligo IT under James Moran
Teagasc and IT Sligo have been awarded a large grant under the National Development Plan 2007-2013, with additional funding from the Research Stimulus Fund of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) for the IDEAL HNV project.
This project will identify the distribution and extent of agricultural land of High Nature Value in Ireland. This research will address an important knowledge gap for policymakers on the national scale distribution of potential HNV farmland. It will result in knowledge of the typical characteristics of HNV farmland and threats to this type of farmland. It will also allow assessment of policy objectives and targeting of financial supports for HNV farmland.
The objectives of this work are to:
- Estimate the national distribution and extent of potential HNV farmland in Ireland. This will be largely accomplished through indicator-based probability assessments based on existing national-scale datasets.
- Examine the use of remote sensing methods to identify HNV areas at the farm scale. This is a novel application of remote sensing to test its utility in identifying HNV and non-HNV farming systems in a case study area.
- Develop bottom-up decision-support tools to assist field- and farm-scale identification of HNV farmland. This work will develop a farm-scale decision support tool to guide on-farm assessment of HNV status and produce user-friendly support (e.g.mobile apps, online resources). It will also define and explain priority characteristics of, and threats to, selected case study areas of HNV farming systems.
- Profile the socio-economic characteristics of HNV farming systems in Ireland.
Irish Uplands Forum research
The reports of the Challenges, Changes and Opportunities in the Irish Uplands project, run by the Irish Uplands Forum, contain useful background material on Connemara, the Sligo/Leitrim uplands and the Comeragh mountains.
EFNCP's first research work in Ireland was A review of the CAP Rural Development Plan 2000-2006: Implications for Natural Heritage (2002), which assessed the likely implications for farmers and the environment of a shift to new payments under the new RDP in Ireland. The report was commissioned by the Heritage Council.
This led to a project Assessing the potential impact on the Natural Heritage of the mid-term review of the CAP (2004), again conducted under contract from the Heritage Council. Reference farms in HNV farmland areas in Ireland were used to examine both the economic and non-economic drivers which will influence farmers' responses to the reform. Information was collected through a combination of interviews and a workshop. The conclusions of the draft report are also summarised in a poster.