HNV farming events October 2015

Teagasc Biodiversity Conference, October 21st-22nd

Teagasc will host the Teagasc Biodiversity Conference on Wed October 21st and Thurs October 22nd in the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

The sessions include:

  1. Agriculture and Biodiversity Policies
  2. Locally-led Agri-environement Schemes
  3. High Nature Value farmland
  4. Ecosystem Products and Services
  5. Promoting Biodiversity in the Wider Countryside

For further information on the speakers in these sessions click here. This promises to be a really interesting conference with speakers such as Davy McCracken (Scotland’s Rural College), Alan Matthews (Trinity College Dublin) and several of the IDEAL-HNV team members. Closing date for registration is Friday October 9th.

Burren Winterage School, October 22nd-25th

The Burren Winterage Weekend will take place from Thursday October 22nd to Sunday October 25th. One of the many events running over the weekend will be the Burren Winterage School, the title of which is Supporting High Nature Value Farming in Europe. Click here for a draft agenda of the school.

There will be contributions from farmers and researchers from HNV areas in Croatia, Austria and Ireland.

Members of the IDEAL-HNV team will be presenting and participating in discussions over the 4 days. There is a special farmer rate. Book before September 30th by following directions here.

HNV farming in West Cork

HNV farming in West Cork


Upcoming events in 2015

There are a number of interesting events coming up in the next few months that may be of interest to folks. The IDEAL-HNV project will be running four farmer workshops across the country in late July and early August. See here for further details.

In September, several members of the IDEAL-HNV team will attend an international conference in Rome, Italy to present some of the latest project results at a symposium on High Nature Value farmland: towards more effective conservation and monitoring of biodiversity across European landscapes. Further details on the conference are available here.

October will also be busy with two events on the week of October 20th. The Teagasc Biodiversity conference will be held in the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise on October 21st and 22nd. Anyone who wishes to submit a paper or poster can do so until Monday July 27th. Further details are available here. The IDEAL-HNV team will be attending. The Burren Winterage Festival is also on that week and we will be announcing further details on events in conjunction with that in the coming months.


IDEAL-HNV farmer workshops

We will be running four workshops across the country in the next couple of weeks for farmers who are farming High Nature Value farmland. The workshops aim to gain farmer input on what it is like farming HNV farmland and provide information that can be used to design appropriate potential supports for these areas.

The workshops will run for ~2 hours. They will begin with a short introduction (15-20mins) to the project and will also show some of the results from farm surveys carried out in 2013 and 2014. We will spend most of our time discussing issues around farming these types of land in general such as scrub encroachment, invasive alien plants like Rhododendron and Japanese Knotweed, Bracken, poaching, deer grazing etc. We are also interested in hearing how farmers have adapted their management for these lands and any suggestions on future solution for the problems faced in these areas. We will also discuss whether these areas need supports and what those supports might look like if they do.

The information gathered will be reported back to the Department of Agriculture and will be used to design supports for farmers in HNV areas.

Dates and venues of workshops are listed below:

Peacockes Hotel, Maam Cross, Co. Galway         July 28th 2015                     7:30pm

Twomey’s Bar, Castletownbere, Co.Cork              July 30th 2015                     7:30pm

Glendalough Hotel, Laragh, Co.Wicklow              August 4th 2015                 7:30pm

Room B1201, Sligo IT, Sligo                                     August 10th 2015              7:30pm

All are welcome and refreshments will be provided

For further information contact Caroline Sullivan on 0863519657 or email

Teagasc Agriculural Land Use Workshop, RDS Dublin, 19th May

Ireland Land Cover & Land Use

  • Teagasc Land Use Change Workshop, May 19, RDS (am)

Land Use and Land Mobility is a complementary driver of future productivity growth in Irish Agriculture. . At this workshop a report prepared by Teagasc on Agronomic, Economic and Policy Drivers of land Use Change will be launched. An outline of the programme is as follows:

Chair – Paddy Brown        -(Head of Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme, Teagasc)

  • 1045 Opening of Workshop
  • 1055 Oireachtas Committee Report, “Land Use – Maximising It’s Potential” (Andrew Doyle, TD, Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine )
  • 1120 Agronomic, Functional Soils and Environmental Drivers for Land Use Change (Rogier Schulte, Reamonn Fealy, Teagasc)
  • 1140 Policy and Economic Drivers of Land Use Change (Cathal O’Donoghue and Anne Kinsella, Teagasc)
  • 1200 Economic and Environmental Scenarios for Land Use Change (Trevor Donnellan, Teagasc)
  • 1220 Discussion
  • 1245 End

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Calculating a nature value index for Irish farms

Researchers from IT Sligo and NUI Galway (including two members of the IDEAL-HNV team) have just published a paper in Ecological Indicators on Development of a nature value index for pastoral farmland-A rapid farm-level assessment. The paper proposes combining three simple measures, proportion of improved agricultural grassland, stocking density per hectare of Utilisable Agricultural Area (UAA) and length of linear habitats (field boundaries) to give a value on a ten point scale that indicates the nature value of the farm. The methods used could be applied to other systems in other European countries.

The index was developed based on farms in counties Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim and tested on farms in east Galway. The index could be incorporated into farm sustainability indices as the nature value component, or adapted for labels such as Origin Green. It could also be applied to identify High Nature Value farmland as farms with high nature value index scores are most likely HNV farms. Click here or contact Pamela Boyle, James Moran or Caroline Sullivan for further details.

Cattle grazing by the shore in Co Sligo

Cattle grazing by the shore in Co Sligo

Stakeholders meeting for IDEAL-HNV project

The IDEAL-HNV project hosted a stakeholders meeting on April 9th in IT Sligo. The event was held in parallel to the Environ 2015 meeting. Some preliminary results on HNV typologies were presented (based on the 2013/2014 fieldwork). A number of stakeholders were in attendance including representatives from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Department of Agriculture, Mountaineering Ireland, farmers, local community groups and organisations with HNV farming interests.

Participants raised issues such as CAP funding limitations, the need to get other agencies involved in discussions, the possible policy implications of the results of the project and the need for dissemination of the results to the wider public. We have taken all the views on board and aim to incorporate them into future analyses, report writing and information dissemination sessions.

Further similar discussions  will no doubt take place at the Irish Uplands Workshop in Trinity College, Dublin next Wednesday (April 15th) and at the British Ecological Society (BES) agricultural ecology annual conference in Belfast next Wednesday and Thursday (April 15th and 16th).

Discussion during the stakeholders meeting

Discussion during the stakeholders meeting