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NATURA 2000 - Sites in Ireland

Catherine Keena, Countryside Management Specialist, Teagasc


Introduction

NATURA 2000 sites are protected habitats for flora and fauna of European importance. They comprise Special Areas of Conservation, designated under the Habitats Directive and Special Protection Areas, designated under the Birds Directive.

The Habitats Directive was transposed into national legislation by the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations, 1997 S.I. No. 94 of 1997. These regulations also cover the Birds Directive.

NATURA 2000 sites comprise over ten per cent of the country. They have management implications for farmers with sites on their land. In REPS they bring in extra money under Measure A. This benefits individual farmers, local communities and the national economy.

This paper examines the habitats and species protected under these Directives. It explains the various lists of species. It provides information on species relevant to farming.

Habitats Directive: Special Areas of Conservation

Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora

The main aim of this Directive is to promote the maintenance of biodiversity, taking account of economic, social, cultural and regional requirements. It makes a contribution to the general objective of sustainable development

A coherent European ecological network of Special Areas of Conservation shall be set up under the title Natura 2000. This network, composed of sites hosting the natural habitat types listed in Annex I, and habitats of the species listed in Annex II, shall enable the natural habitat types and the species' habitats concerned to be maintained or, where appropriate, restored at a favourable conservation status in their natural range. The Natura 2000 network shall include the special protection areas classified by the Member States pursuant to Directive 79/409/EEC.

Details of the Directives are on the following website:

www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/nature/legis.htm

The Annexes contain the following information:

ANNEX I: Natural habitat types of community interest whose conservation requires the designation of Special Areas of Conservation

ANNEX II: Animal and plant species of community interest whose conservation requires the designation of Special Areas of Conservation

ANNEX III: Criteria for selecting sites eligible for identification as sites of community importance and designation as Special Areas of Conservation

ANNEX IV: Animal and plant species of community interest in need of strict protection

ANNEX V: Animal and plant species of community interest whose taking in the wild and exploitation may be subject to management measures

ANNEX VI: Prohibited methods and means of capture and killing and modes of transport

ANNEX I

Natural habitat types of community interest whose conservation requires the designation of Special Areas of Conservation

Coastal and Halophytic Habitats

  • Open sea and tidal areas
  • Sea cliffs and shingle or stony beaches
  • Atlantic and continental salt marshes and salt meadows
  • Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic salt marshes and salt meadows
  • Salt and gypsum continental steppes

Coastal Sand Dunnes and Continental Dunes

  • Sea dunes of the Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic coasts
  • Sea dunes of the Mediterranean coast
  • Continental dunes, old and decalcified

Freshwater Habitats

  • Standing water
  • Running water
  • Sections of water courses with natural or semi-natural dynamics (minor, average and major beds) where the water quality shows no significant deterioration
Temperate Heath and Scrub

Sclerophyllous Scrub (Matorral)

  • Sub-Mediterranean and temperate
  • Mediterranean arborescent matorral
  • Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-steppe brush
  • Phrygana

Natural and Semi-natural Grassland Formations

  • Natural grasslands
  • Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies
  • Sclerophyllous grazed forests (dehesas)
  • Semi-natural tall-herb humid meadows
  • Mesophile grasslands

Raised Bogs and Mires and Fens

  • Sphagnum acid bogs
  • Calcareous fens

Rocky Habitats and Caves

  • Scree
  • Chasmophytic vegetation on rocky slopes
  • Other rocky habitats

Forests

  • (Sub)natural woodland vegetation
  • Forests of temperate Europe
  • Mediterranean deciduous forests
  • Mediterranean sclerophyllous forests
  • Alpine and subalpine coniferous forests
  • Mediterranean mountainous coniferous forests

ANNEX II

Animal and plant species of community interest whose conservation requires the designation of Special Areas of Conservation

The following species listed in ANNEX II of the Habitats Directive for which sites have been selected in Ireland as detailed in ‘Living with Nature’ booklet from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Rhinolophus hipposideros (Ialtóg crúshrónach)

Ireland has the largest national population of Lesser Horseshoe Bats in Europe. It was once widespread in Europe, but its range has been contracting. Although Ireland is at the extreme northwestern edge of its range, over 157 roosts were reported in a national bat survey in 1994 and the national population is about 12,000. It is confined to western coastal counties. The largest maternity roost in Europe (428 counted in 1998) is in an old building in Dromore in Clare.

Lesser Horseshoe bat is one of nine bat species in Ireland. All Irish bats are listed under Annex IV of the Habitats Directive (species in need of strict protection). The rarest are Whiskered and Natterer’s bats. Fewer than fifty roosts of each of these were recorded in 1994. Leisler’s bat is the largest at twenty grammes and Europe’s largest population is here. Brown long-eared bat is one of our common bats. Common Pipestrelle is our most widespread and abundant bat. It is the smallest at eight grammes. There are two other pipestrelle species. Daubenton’s bat flies close to the surface of slow-flowing or still water.

Sources: Hayden and Harrington, 2000. Whilde, 1993. EPA, 2000.

Lutra lutra (Madre uisce)

Ireland has the densest population of otters in western Europe, occuring in freshwater and coastal habitats. They are widespread throughout Ireland and appear to be thriving. Unlike other countries, they live within city limits. Elsewhere in Europe it is thinly distributed or extinct in large parts of its original range.

The otter is the fourth largest mammal, after the three deer species. They are rarely found far from water. The otter is primarily a fish-eater, but diet differs in different parts of the country depending on what food is available. Frogs, freshwater crayfish, crabs and water birds are also eaten.

They require suitable bank-side vegetation as cover for their burrows or rest sites, termed holts. Otters are largely solitary and territorial. The area of the home range depends to some extent on food supply. Otters may have a number of burrows or holts in their home range. These are usually based in natural recesses under the edge of the riverbank, usually among root systems of trees. The trees most favoured are ash, sycamore and horse chestnut. Drainage, which canalises the riverbed destroys holt sites and bank-side vegetation.

Sources: Hayden and Harrington, 2000. Whilde, 1993. EPA, 2000

Halichoerus gyrpus (Rón mór)

The grey seal is the larger and more abundant of the two seals resident in Irish waters. They are found all round the coast, more abundant along the south, southwest and west coasts. Grey seals prefer more exposed coastal headlands and islands. The long sloping head of the grey seal distinguishes it from the common seal.

Sources: Hayden and Harrington, 2000.

Phoca vitulina (Rón breacach)

At the beginning of the 19th century, the common seal was the most abundant seal, but numbers declined. Common seals are found all round the Irish coast, particularly in sealoughs and estuaries, on the western seaboard and northeast coasts. They grow up to 1.5 metres in length. The smaller dog-like head distinguishes it from the bigger grey seal. They prefer sheltered waters within bays.

Sources: Hayden and Harrington, 2000.

Tursiops truncates (Deilf bolgshrónach)

In Ireland the main populations are in sea-loughs, estuaries and harbours on the west coast. They are also regularly seen in the Irish sea. The Shannon estuary hosts a resident population, one of only five known resident populations in Europe. Bottle-nosed dolphins are slaty-blue or grey above, whitish below, with a short snout and a slender sickle-shaped fin. They can grow up to four metres in length, weighing over 400 kilograms. Ireland’s most famous dolphin is Fungi, a bottle-nosed dolphin which came to Dingle harbour in the winter of 1983.

Sources: Hayden and Harrington, 2000. EPA, 2000. Carruthers, 1998.

Phocaena phocaena (Much mhara)

The porpoise is the smallest and most common cetacean in Irish waters. It is a stoutly built, rotund animal with a blunt snout. The upper body is dark grey with a white belly. They are usually found near the shore.

Sources: Hayden and Harrington, 2000.

Lampreys:
  • Brook Lamprey Lampetra planeri – live in sandy and gravely streams. They occur in the Erne catchment and limestone regions.
  • River Lamprey Lampetra fluviatilis - live in shallow inshore waters and accessible rivers. They were recorded in Lough Neagh and in east and south coast rivers
  • Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus – live in deep offshore waters, shallow inshore waters, estuaries and easily accessible rivers. They are found around the Irish coast and in larger estuaries.

All three species are known to spawn in Irish rivers or streams. They were once widespread in Europe but stocks have declined in recent years although this has not been quantified for Irish populations. Water quality is implicated in the demise of populations as well as the impediment by weirs and dams to upstream and downstream migration. Nevertheless, Irish populations appear to be still widespread.

Sources: Whilde, 1993. EPA, 2000

Salmo salar (Bradán) - in fresh waters only

Ireland has a widespread, abundant and self-sustaining population of Atlantic Salmon, which although under pressure from commercial exploitation, is not considered to be threatened at present. Elsewhere in Europe outside Britain, the species is considered to be endangered, locally threatened or extinct.

It is an example of a species listed in Annex V of the Habitats Directive (species whose taking in the wild and exploitation may be subject to management measures)

Sources: Whilde, 1993.

Alosa fallax

Twaite shad is a member of the herring family. It lives mostly at sea, entering lower reaches of slow flowing rivers to spawn. Populations were recorded in the Barrow, Nore, Suir and Cork Blackwater. Killarney Shad or Goureen Alosa fallax killarnesis - are confined to the Killarney lakes.

Sources: Whilde, 1993.

Austropotamobius pallipes

The crayfish, which is not native to Ireland, is relatively common and widely distributed in limestone rivers and lakes but is under threat from a lethal fungus (Aphanomyces astaci) disease which has devastated stocks throughout Britain and Europe and which may have been responsible for the collapse of some Irish lake populations

Sources: EPA, 2000

Euphydryas aurinia (Fritileán Réisc)

There are 28 species of butterfly in Ireland, including three migrant species. The Marsh Fritillary is widely recorded, but extremely localised colonies. It is found in rough grassy meadows and damp wood edges, unimproved grassland especially wet grassland, eskers and bogs.

Its larval food plant is devil’s-bit scabious. The Irish populations of this beautifully patterned little butterfly constitute a distinct subspecies with a colour pattern somewhat different from other races.

The decline of the Marsh Fritillary is linked to the decline in unimproved grassland, heavy summer grazing, abandonment of grazing and the lack of enough suitable habitat patches in a region to accommodate their pattern of spreading over large areas in some years and contracting to core breeding patches in others.

Sources: EPA, 2000. Feehan and O’Donovan, 1996. Asher et al., 2001.

Geomalacus maculosus

The Kerry slug is common over a considerable area in the south-west where it lives among rocks, in heather moorland and rough pasture or more rarely in oak woods on moss-covered timber. There is no evidence that it is declining.

Two colour forms are found depending on habitat. The open country form is a charcoal colour with numerous white spots. The woodland form is bronze or ginger in colour with yellow or gold spots and yellowish mucus. Each form blends in well with their surroundings.

It eats a wide range of lichens, fungi, liverworts, mosses and algae, often concentrating on the fruiting bodies of these organisms.

Sources: EPA, 2000. Carruthers, 1998.

Freshwater Pearl Mussel
  • Margaritifera margaritifera
  • Margaritifera durrovensis (now believed to be a form of M. margaritifera)

Unlike many other molluscs this mussel requires clean, cool, well-oxygenated water free from mud and suspended matter. Also unusual for a mollusc, it is found chiefly in soft water. It is a declining species throughout Europe and has become extinct in some places in Ireland. The causes are various and include destruction by pearl fishers, physical changes to the habitat and pollution. The species is particularly vulnerable because of its longevity (one hundred years or more) and slow reproduction. In rivers where it is present, there may be no juveniles. It lives on gravel in high quality, low nutrient streams and rivers.

Sources: EPA, 2000.

Vertiginidae family
  • Vertigo angustior
  • Vertigo geyeri
  • Vertigo moulinsiana

They like wetlands or marshy grounds. The status of V. angustior in Ireland is declining, considered vulnerable. V. moulinsiana is rare and V. geyeriis is endangered. The main threats are from drainage, afforestation or other land use changes, which reduce the size of their habitat.

Sources: EPA, 2000.

Trichomanes speciosum

This small fern with dark green, translucent leaves 8-25 cms long, occurs in dark, sheltered places with a humid atmosphere such as near waterfalls. Collecting, chiefly in the 19th century, has been responsible for its decline in some areas such as in south-west Ireland.

It is found beside waterfalls, in crevices between boulders, under overhanging rocks, and in similar damp, dark, sheltered situations. Formerly widespread, and fairly frequent in the South-west, it is now very rare and scattered, from Donegal and Fermannagh south and westwards to Mayo and Kerry with isolated populations in the centre and eastern counties.

Sources: EPA,2000.Webb et al., 1996. Fitter et al., 1996.

Najas flexilis

This is a slender submerged waterweed with narrow, grass-like leaves and minute green submerged flowers. It is found in lakes in the west, but is rare. It grows in deep water, and is usually seen as fragments washed ashore.

Sources: Webb et al., 1996. Fitter et al., 1996.

Saxifraga hirculus

Saxifrages were some of the few species that could survive the great fluctuations in temperature which prevailed in Ireland as it was released from the ice. They grew and flowered during the first warm summers. They are found in wet bogs in Mayo and Antrim, but are very rare. They are low, downy, loosely tufted or mat forming. Flowers are bright yellow, often red spotted.

Sources: Pilcher and Hall, 2001. Webb et al., 1996. Fitter et al., 1996.

Mosses and Liverworts
  • Shining Sickle Moss Drepanocladus vernicosus
  • Petalwort Petallophyllum ralfsii

Ireland, because of its moist climate is rich in mosses and liverworts. These bryophytes do not possess vascular systems or roots and are classed among the so-called lower plants. The number of species recorded for Ireland is 533 mosses and 226 liverworts.

Petalwort is a small liverwort found in coastal dune slacks and machairs. It occurs in scattered localities along the western seaboard, from Kerry to Donegal, as well as some dune sites in Dublin

Sources: EPA,2000.

ANNEX IV

Animal and plant species of community interest in need of strict protection

With regard to Annex IV, Regulation 23 of the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations, 1997, sets out a system of strict protection for the following fauna listed in Part 1 of the First Schedule:

Mammals
  • Lutra lutra (Otter)
  • Cetacean Species
  • Bat Species
Amphibians

Bufo calamita (Natterjack toad)

ANNEX V

Animal and plant species of community interest whose taking in the wild and exploitation may be subject to management measures

With regard to Annex V, Regulation 24 of the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations, 1997, ensures that the taking in the wild, as well as their exploitation, is compatible with their being maintained at a favorable conservation status, of the following species of wild fauna and flora listed in Part II of the First Schedule:

Mammals
  • Martes martes (Pine marten)
  • Lepus timidus (Irish hare)
  • Halichoerus grypus (Grey seal)
  • Phoca vitinula (Common seal)
Amphibians
  • Rana temporaria (Frog)
Fish
  • Lampetra fluviatilis (Lampern)
  • Coregonus autumnalis spp. (Pollan)
  • Alosa alosa (Allis shads)
  • Alosa fallax (Twaite shad)
  • Salmo salar (Salmon) (only in freshwater)
Molluscs
  • Helix pomatia (Edible snail)
  • Margaritifera margaritifera (Freshwater pearl mussel)
Crustaceans
  • Austropotamobius pallipes (White-clawed crayfish)
Lichens
  • Cladonia subgenus Cladina (Reindeer Moss)
Mosses
  • Leucobryum glaucum
  • All Sphagna
Ferns and relatives
  • Lycopodium spp. (Clubmosses)
BIRDS DIRECTIVE: Special Protection Areas
Council Directive of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds (79/409/EEC

This Directive relates to the conservation of all species of naturally occurring birds in the wild state. It covers the protection, management and control of these species and lays down rules for their exploitation. It applies to birds, their eggs, nests and habitats.

The Annexes contain the following information:

ANNEX I

Species mentioned shall be the subject of special conservation measures concerning their habitat in order to ensure their survival and conservation in their area of distribution.

ANNEX II/1

Species referred to may be hunted in the geographical sea and land area where this directive applies.

ANNEX II/2

Species referred to may be hunted only in the member states in respect of which they are indicated.

ANNEX III/1

The sale, transport for sale, keeping for sale and the offering for sale of live or dead birds and of any recognizable parts or derivatives of such birds shall not be prohibited in respect of these species, provided that the birds have been legally killed or captured or otherwise legally aquired.

ANNEX III/2

The sale, transport for sale, keeping for sale and the offering for sale of live or dead birds and of any recognizable parts or derivatives of such birds shall not be prohibited in respect of these species, making provision for certain restrictions, provided that the birds have been legally killed or captured or otherwise legally acquired.

ANNEX I

Species mentioned shall be the subject of special conservation measures concerning their habitat in order to ensure their survival and conservation in their area of distribution.

Some of the 181 birds listed in Annex I, relevant to Ireland, as mentioned in the site descriptions for Special Protection Areas for Birds in Ireland (Dúchas, 2002)

Birds of Prey and Owls
  • Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
  • Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
  • Osprey Pandion haliaetus
  • Merlin Falco columbarius
  • Peregrine Falco peregrinus
  • Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Crakes and Rails
  • Corncrake Crex crex
Passerines
  • Nightjar Caprimulgus eoropaeus
  • Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
  • Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Herons and Egrets
  • Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Waders
  • Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
  • Ruff Philomachus pugnax
  • Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
  • Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
  • Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus
Waterfowl
  • Bewick’s Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii
  • Whooper Swan Cygnus Cygnus
  • Greenland White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons flavirostris
  • Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis
  • Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca
  • Smew Mergus albellus
Divers and Grebes
  • Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata
  • Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica
  • Great Northern Diver Gavia immer
  • Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus
Seabirds
  • Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
  • Leach’s Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa
Gulls,Terns and Skuas
  • Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus
  • Black Tern Chlidonias niger
  • Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
  • Common Tern Sterna hirundo
  • Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii
  • Little Tern Sterna albifrons
  • Atic Tern Sterna paradisaea

Habitat and Status of some species relevant to farming

Source: Dempsey and O’Cleary, 2002

Circus cyaneus (Cromán na gcearc)

A scarce breeding species with small numbers present in the midlands, eastern, south-western, western and northern regions. In summer, found on mountains and moorlands, nesting on the ground. Also nests in young conifer plantations. Breeding numbers appear to be declining. In winter, birds can be found in most parts of Ireland with some hunting over coastal areas. Hen harriers can roost communally in winter.

Aquila chrysaetos (Iorlar fíréan)

Formerly a widespread breeding species. By the first decade of the twentieth century, breeding was confined to areas in Mayo and Donegal. Now a rare visitor with most reports referring to northern and north-eastern regions. Can occur at any time of the year. As part of the ‘Millennium Project’, Golden Eagles are being reintroduced into Donegal in an attempt to establish a new breeding population. Frequents wild coastal islands and headlands, and inland mountainous regions.

Asio flammeus (Ulchabhán réisc)

A scarce, thinly-distributed passage and winter visitor to Ireland from Iceland, northern Europe, Scotland and northern England. Breeding has occurred in the west and south-west, with summering birds being recorded in other regions on occasions. Found on the ground or perched on posts close to rough vegetation, usually in coastal marshes or dunes. Also found in stubble fields, bogs and moorlands. Nests on the ground in heather, grass or gorse.

Crex crex (Traonach)

Formerly an extremely common summer visitor. Corncrakes have suffered a drastic population decline during this century. Between 1968 and 1972, Corncrakes were still breeding in all counties, but now are only present in small numbers along the Shannon Callows and areas in the west and north-west, with numbers still declining. Now a rare breeding bird. Found in rough pastures, meadows, flooded meadows and crop fields.

Caprimulgus eoropaeus (Tuirne lín)

Formerly a widespread summer visitor. Nightjar is now a very rare breeding species and passage migrant. Small breeding populations are found most years in some south-western, western and midland counties, with occasional reports from northern and eastern regions. Frequents felled woodland and conifer plantations with open moorland areas. On passage, found on coastal headlands and islands, usually flushed from ground vegetation or trees.

Alcedo atthis (Cruidín)

A common resident bird found in all counties. Found along rivers, streams, on lakes, canals and marshes. In winter, can occur on coastal estuaries and bays, occasionally found feeding on channels on tidal marshes. Nests in excavated tunnels on banks of rivers, streams and canals.

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (Cág cosdearg)

An uncommon bird of rugged headlands and islands. Found along southern, western and northern coastal areas. Choughs are very rare in most eastern regions. Feeds in sand-dune areas or on short-cropped grass. Nests in coastal cliff holes or caves. Its name in Irish - Cág cosdearg aptly describes it as a red legged crow.

Cygnus Cygnus (Eala ghlórach)

A common winter visitor to lakes and marshes. They can also be found in large mixed flocks grazing on fields and sloblands. Breeding in Iceland and northern Europe, Whooper Swans arrive in Ireland in late autumn, and leave by mid-April, although a few may remain throughout the summer. They were first recorded breeding in Ireland in 1992.

Anser albifrons flavirostris (Gé bhánéadanach)

Ireland holds approximately half of the world’s wintering population of the Greenland race. The main population is concentrated in the south-east, with smaller numbers present in the midlands, the west and the north-west. Found on open grasslands, sloblands, marshland areas and loughs. At coastal localities, can roost on estuaries or sandbanks.

NATURA 2000 SITES

The following table shows the number of NATURA 2000 sites in each county. They are categorised according to predominant habitat type. Obviously many include more than one habitat type within the site. Some sites cross county boundaries and are mentioned in all counties concerned. Individual site descriptions are available, which are relevant to local areas (Table 1).

Table 1: Site descriptions

Peat-
land

Mountain

Grass-
land

Eskers

Machairs

Tur-
loughs

Callows

Lime-
stone

pave-
ment

Cave, Quarry

Build-
ings

Wood-
land

Rivers

Estuaries

Lakes

Coastal

TOTAL

Carlow   1                 3       4
Cavan 1 3                 1   1   6
Clare 3 1 1     2   2 13 2 2 1 4 3 34
Cork 2 3               7 4 1 2 10 29
Donegal 11 3       1       2 2   9 20 48
Dublin     1             1   2   6 10
Galway 8 3 1 1 3 14 1 2 3 5     12 10 63
Kerry 3 3             4 3 3 1 3 8 28
Kildare 3                   2   1   6
Kilkenny 4         1     1   2       8
Laois 2 1 1 1             1       6
Leitrim   4     1               1   6
Limerick 2 3 1             3 2       11
Longford           1                 1
Louth   1                 2     3 5
Mayo 9 4     1 8   1 4 2 1   7 12 49
Meath 1                   3   1   5
Monaghan                         1   1
Offaly 8 1   4     1     1 1   1   17
Ros-
common
7   1 1   6 1           4   20
Sligo 3 2     1 1       1 1 1 2 4 16
Tipperary 3 6 2       1     1 5       18
Waterford   1               3 3     4 11
West-
meath
3     1     1       1   5   11
Wexford   2 1               2   2 10 17
Wicklow 2 1               5 2     5 15

From: NATURA 2000 sites on website which includes individual site descriptions: www.duchas.ie/en/NaturalHeritage/SitesdesignatedforNatureConservation/SACSPASiteInformation

NATURA 2000 sites in REPS

The following is the procedure for NATURA 2000 sites in REPS from the Department of Agriculture (2000, p.51). The planner(s) shall outline the boundary of the non-commonage target area on the map with an orange line. The area within the orange line shall be established by the Planner. Information available from Duchas relating to the condition of the vegetation and habitat type and destocking/grazing requirements should be copied onto the map. Where such information is not available the planner and environmentalist shall walk as much of the site as is necessary to determine the condition of the vegetation, habitat type and percentage destocking/grazing reduction.

Mark on the map the habitat type and the condition of the vegetation. Planners should take a representative series of photographs with their precise location noted on the map. At least 4 close detail colour photographs, standard size, are required to show the range of habitats, condition of the vegetation and any special items. As well as close detail photographs 2-3 medium landscape shots should be taken. Photographs should be dated and numbered on the back according to the map location and be included with the REPS application.

CONCLUSIONS

Need for Information

There is a great need for awareness about NATURA sites and their objectives. Information and knowledge is required to have informed discussions and decisions on agri-environmental issues. Farmers are interested in agri-environmental issues and are a great source of local knowledge.

Important Role

Agricultural advisers and agri-environmentalists are in a unique position to access relevant information and interpret it for each farmer, whether in REPS or not. It is hoped this paper will help.

Sources of Information

Asher, J., Warren, M., Fox, Harding, P., Jeffcoate.G. and Jeffcoate. S., 2001

The Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland. Oxford.

Carruthers, T., 1998

Kerry: A Natural History. Collins, Cork.

Dempsey, E. and O’Clery, M, 2002

The Complete Guide to Ireland’s Birds. Gill and Macmillan, Dublin.

Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, 2000

Agri-Environmental Specifications for REPS 2000.

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Living with Nature: The Designation of Nature Conservation Sites in Ireland.,

Dúchas, 2002

Special Protection Areas for Birds in Ireland.

EPA, 2000

Ireland’s Environment: A Millenium Report. EPA, Wexford

Feehan, J. and O’Donovan, G., 1996

The Bogs of Ireland. UCD

Fitter, R., Fitter, A. and Blamey, M., 1996

Wild Flowers. HarperCollins, London.

Hayden, T. and Harrington, R., 2000

Exploring Irish Mammals. Duchas, Dublin.

Phillips, R., 1994

Grasses, Ferns, Mosses and Lichens of Britain and Ireland. Macmillan, London.

Pilcher,J. and Hall, V., 2001

Flora Hibernica. Collins, Cork.

Statutory Instruments: S.I. No. 94 of 1997, Government Publications, Dublin.

Webb, D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D., 1996

An Irish Flora. Dundalgan, Dundalk.

Whilde, A., 1993

Threatened Mammals, Birds, Amphibians and Fish in Ireland. HMSO, Belfast.

Details of the Directives are on the website:

www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/nature/legis.htm

Details of NATURA 2000 sites on COUNTY basis are on the website:

www.duchas.ie/en/NaturalHeritage/SitesdesignatedforNatureConservation/SACSPASiteInformation

INDEX