Farming and conservation A view from the western edge of Europe

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James Moran. Farming and conservation A view from the western edge of Europe. Outline. The Burren . Evolving relationship between agriculture and Natura 2000 (Conflict to Partnership for a Sustainable F uture) The Burren Farming for Conservation Programme - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Farming and conservation A view from the western edge of Europe

James Moran1OutlineThe Burren.Evolving relationship between agriculture and Natura 2000 (Conflict to Partnership for a Sustainable Future)The Burren Farming for Conservation ProgrammeFarming for Conservation in Natura 2000 areas across EU

2The Burren

Approximately 720km2 > 50% of area is Natura 2000One of the finest examples of a glacio-karst landscape in western Europe. Located in the west of Ireland covering approximately 720km2. Its nature value is recognised by the designation of over 366km2 (>50%) as Natura 2000 sites. 3

Heaths and Grasslands: Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco Brometalia)(*important orchid sites) (6210) Alpine and Boreal heaths (4060) Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands (5130)Lowland hay meadows (6510)

Limestone pavement (8240)

Wetlands:Turloughs (3180)Calcareous fens (7210)Petrifying springs (7220)Important EU Habitats of the Burren include: Heath and Grasslands; Wetlands and Limestone pavement4Farming in the BurrenSemi-natural pastoral landscape dominated by extensive grazing systemsNot a natural landscape but shaped by over 5000 years of agricultural activity. Pastoral landscape 5

Beef SteersDairy Herds

Cattle & Sheep

Suckler HerdsConventional & Organic6Mix of suckler farms; beef steers; dairy farms; mixed cattle and sheep farmsFarm SettingHigh biodiversity, landscape and socio-cultural valuesPhysical limitation - soils, topography, climate and remotenessAging farming populationFarming increasingly part timeLess time for labour intensive farming practicesRural isolationAttractiveness of farming as an option for next generation?

Diversity in landscape, management and society7Evolution: Conflict to Sustainable Management8

Burren Farming for Conservation Programme:

A new model for the sustainable agricultural management of the Burren

www.burrenlife.comIm going to concentrate on the current BFCP 9Burren Farming for Conservation Programme (BFCP)Recognises the role that farmers and farming practices play in the conservation of habitats.

Objectives:

Sustainable agricultural management of high nature value farmland in the Burren. Contribute to the positive management of the Burren landscape and its cultural heritage.

Contribute to improvements in water quality and water usage efficiency in the Burren region. 10Article 68 fundingArticle 68.1 (a) (i) of Council Regulation (EC) 73/2009 Provision for the use of unused Single Payment Programme funds for specific types of farming important for the protection or enhancement of the environment Made possible as a result of close working partnership between all stakeholders developed through BurrenLIFETiming crucial: maintain momentum of BurrenLIFE1million per annum (payment to farmers)Administration costs paid by National Parks and Wildlife Service (state funded) - Authority with responsibility for N2000

11BurrenLIFE coming to an end we were investigating all possibilities to ensure a phase 2 (AfterLIFE), timelines matched for submission of applications for article 68 funding (July 2009). Needed to maintain momentum built up with BurrenLIFE (too long to wait for next CAP programming period)Key Principles of BFCP

Open to all farmers: targets Natura 2000 sites and undesignated areas of Annex 1 habitat. Programme participation voluntary but competitivePayments calculated on the basis of work done Farmers contribute to the cost of any capital works on their land. Rewards past positive management and incentivises improvement in habitat quality.

12Open to all farmers but would target Natura 2000 sites, though other areas of Annex 1 habitat are eligible for inclusion. Programme participation is voluntary but competitive: only a percentage of farmers qualify based on available funding. Payments are calculated, and will be made, on the basis of work done as opposed to income foregone and farmers will be asked to contribute to the cost of any work done on their land. The programme will reward those who have been managing their land well in the past but will give incentives to those who have not, so that they will strive to improve habitat quality. As this is a targeted programme, payments would be made on a per-hectare of annex 1 habitat basis, not on a per-farm/farmer basis, though scaled levels of payment would apply.

Key Innovations

3 simple, practical, output based measuresMeasure 1: bonus payment for production of high quality Annex 1 habitatsEligible limestone grassland and associated habitats on the farm mapped and assessed by a trained farming for conservation advisor. The conservation status of the grassland habitat in each field scored on a scale of 0 to 10 (no payment where silage feeding)

13Complexity of interactions of farming and conservation in a diverse landscape captured within 3 practical measuresField Scores Explained

Principle: simple, transparent and reward farmers skill in production of high quality Annex 1 habitatsUseful monitoring tool and value for money guaranteeFarmer: flexibility of management (guidelines available)Habitat health check indicatorsIndicators adapted for different habitats of the Burren

System devised by Dr. S. Parr14Method where only rudimentary ecological and botanical skills required. Current site condition monitoring in Ireland and Britain considered too difficult to apply. Based on rangeland health assessment by Alberta Resource Development in Canada; site condition assessments for Natura 2000 etc. Re-assessed and improved on ongoing basisHabitat Health Check Indicators

System devised by Dr. S. Parr15Method where only rudimentary ecological and botanical skills required. Current site condition monitoring in Ireland and Britain considered too difficult to apply. Based on rangeland health assessment by Alberta Resource Development in Canada; site condition assessments for Natura 2000 etc. Re-assessed and improved on ongoing basis

Grazing (Sward Structure)

Litter

Bare ground/Erosion

Water point damage

Feed site damageRelating to Grazing & Stock Management16

Weeds

Scrub encroachment

Purple moor-grass

BrackenRelating to Undesirable or Invasive Species17

Silage Feeding 0/ha

Very Undergrazed 30-40/haWell managed, few or no problems 90 or 100/ha

18Field Scores (Year 1)Incentive and flexibility to improve managementSuggestions on management improvements included in farm plan

Source: BFCP 201119Key Innovations

Measure 2: Site enhancement worksWorks considered important by farmer and BFCP team for proper management of Annex 1 habitats. Part funded by farmer (25%-75%)Tracks, water facilities, stone wall repair, scrub control.Allocation of funding to farmer (detailed in plan) Only paid when work is completedFarmers decision to carry out workDatabases of 65 local workers

20Key Innovations

Simplified Farm Plans2 pages + supplementary resource material

Adoption of innovative solutionsReplacing silage with concentrate feedRainwater harvestersNew Burren traditional style gateSolar powered electric fencingSolar powered water pumps

21Knowledge Transfer and Advisory ServiceOne stop shop for Burren farming for conservation A focal point/hub for farming for conservation advise located in heart of area. Base for project teamAdvisory ActivitiesIdentification of practices to maintain, enhance, restore nature valueAdvice on carrying out practices-farm planning and implementation Resource material and trainingFinancial supportCommunication and organisation support providing forum for organising joint actions and maintains lines of communication between stakeholder

22Is it Working?Demand: 350 farmers applied for approx 140 places Area under active management year 2

Encroaching scrub removal (45ha + 23.6km)Wall repair (19.4km)Gradual increase in habitat health scores from year 1 to 2.

BFCP Area (ha)SAC Area (ha)% SAC in BFCPBlack Head Poulsallagh SAC2,1835,57239%Moneen Mountain SAC3,6206,07060%East Burren Complex SAC7,10618,82038%Totals13,25623Article 68 and current CAP supports for Natura 2000-DIFFICULTIESCostings - income foregone and costs incurred loss making extensive farming on marginal land??Relatively poor conservation value grasslands on intensive farms in broad agri-env scheme get 3 times more payment/ha??UAA no payments for scrub mosaics, limestone pavement (priority habitats maintained by extensive grazing)GAEC rules: more costly to abide by rules (e.g. Control of unwanted vegetation) and receive less direct payments on average than more intensive areas

24Article 68 and current CAP supports for Natura 2000-ALTERNATIVESPayment for ecosystem service provision: Opportunity costs + transaction costs + incentive/reward payment. Principle fair days pay for a fair days workRecognise through payment structure that all farmed annex 1 habitats should be paid on gross area (similar to current rules for landscape features i.e. hedgerows and other field boundaries of landscape value eligible for payment)Twin track approach to CAP (appropriate rules for each track)Track 1: intensive farming areas-food and fibre production focus areas (provisioning ecosystem services); Track 2: extensive farming areas-climate change mitigation, biodiversity, landscape and water focus areas (support and regulatory ecosystem services).

25Main success factors applicable across N2000 networkParticipatory-partnership approach worksNeeds to be: Targeted to specific areaAdaptive, flexible management approach Well researched knowledge based (science and tradition)Farmer focusedOne stop shop-project office for knowledge transfer/advisory services and administration located in communityOutput based payment system ensures quality productMainstreaming farming for conservation- requires resourcesContinued research and monitoring. Farming in N2000 not fossilised but continues to improve and innovate, producing the highest quality environmental product

26

Knowledge based, adaptive BFCPParticipatorySupport &Build Expertisechange?ResourceResource27How it worksHigh Nature Value Farmland Ecosystem ServicesConservation grade beef, lamb, dairy productsEco-tourism, Education and Awareness RaisingVibrant Rural Economy

Farming for Conservation-ProductsWhat it looks like28The environment is the new product, we can provide it and there is a marketWhat the farmers say29

AcknowledgementsBFCP Project Team143 BFCP farmersDr. Brendan DunfordDr. Sharon ParrDr. Bryony Wiliams12 BFCP farm advisors65 farming for conservation contractorsThe BurrenLIFE partnership (NPWS, Teagasc, BurrenIFA) Support of wider communityFunded and supported by European tax payers.30The people making it happenPhased mainstreaming of farming for conservation_Funding?31Evolution towards a situation where we have management of farmed Natura 2000 fully integrated into CAP supports (Part of a truly multifunctional sustainable agricultural future)

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