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John Finn

Research Officer

Research Interests

I work at the interface between agriculture and biodiversity. I am very interested in the design and assessment of farmland management practices that can improve biodiversity, including results-based payments. I investigate various methods to improve knowledge of the distribution and extent of farmland habitats on High Nature Value farmland as well as more intensive farming systems. I am developing methods to better include farmland habitats in assessments of agricultural sustainability.

My other main research interest is the ecology and design of multi-species mixtures. My research has investigated various aspect of mixtures, and shown benefits for: yield, weed suppression, nitrogen replacement, reduction of nitrous oxide emissions intensity, and legacy effects. I’m currently interested in their design to maximise their biomethane potential as forage for anaerobic digestion.

I have recently stepped down from a Head of Department role, and am looking forward to doing more research! I represent Teagasc on several committees, including the Irish National Research Integrity Forum. I engage in a lot of knowledge transfer through farm visits and projects that place a strong emphasis on communication and farmer involvement. Follow my research interests at @johnfinn310.

Research Team

Postdoctural Researchers

  • Sara Ruas (FarmForBio project)
  • Natalie Oram (Research Leaders 2025 Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow)

Postgraduate Students

  • Nyasha Chikwature
  • Ali Sultan Khan
  • Kerry Ryan
  • Guylain Grange
  • Saoirse Cummins


Current Projects

  • Can multi-species agronomic grassland mixtures mitigate the effects of extreme climate events? (Various projects)
  • EU SmartAgriHubs: Digital tools to develop a farm-scale indicator for farmland habitats through remote sensing. SmartAgriHubs (ends 2022)
  • FarmForBio will identify, characterise and map the national extent of HNV farmland and forest areas in Ireland.(2019- 2022)
  • EU SoilGuard - developing a framework for assessments of soil biodiversity status. (2021-2025)
  • LegacyNet - a global voluntary network of experimental sites set up to investigate the yield benefits of multispecies grassland leys, as well as their legacy effects on follow-on crops in a rotation. 
  • Member of the BRIDE and Great Yellow Bumblebee Bee EIPs.


  • 2015  -  Certificate in People Management
  • 2001  -  Certificate in Higher Education, The University of Reading, England
  • 1998  -  PhD in Ecology, University College Cork
  • 1994  -  Bachelor of Science (Applied Ecology), University College Cork

Updates on Dr. Finns research can be found on the Farmland ecology blog

Dr. Finn has published many peer reviewed scientific papers.  His full publication list is found on his Google Scholar account:

Grange, G., Finn, J.A. and Brophy, C. 2021. Plant diversity enhanced yield and mitigated drought impacts in intensively managed grassland communities. Journal of Applied Ecology. (with Open Access data and code)

Cummins et al. 2021. Beneficial effects of multi-species mixtures on N2O emissions from intensively managed grassland swards. STOTEN. (with Open Access data and code)

Finn, J.A. and Moran, P. 2020. A pilot study of methodology for the development of farmland habitat reports for sustainability assessments. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research. Open Access http://ow.ly/uscx30rrDRI

Matin, S., Sullivan, C. A., Finn, J. A., Green, S., Meredith, D., & Moran, J. (2020). Assessing the distribution and extent of high nature value farmland in the Republic of Ireland. Ecological Indicators108, 105700. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105700

O’Rourke, E. and Finn, J.A. 2020. Farming for Nature: the Role of Results-Based Payments. Teagasc and NPWS. Free download at: www.teagasc.ie/farmingfornature

Haughey, E., Suter, M., Hofer, D., Hoekstra, N.J., McElwain, J.C., Lüscher, A and Finn, J.A. 2018. Higher species richness enhances yield stability in intensively managed grasslands with experimental disturbance. Scientific Reports. 8:15047 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-33262-9

Teillard, F., Maia de Souza, D., Thoma, G., Gerber, P. J. and Finn, J. A. 2016. What does Life-Cycle Assessment of agricultural products need for more meaningful inclusion of biodiversity? Journal of Applied Ecology 53: 1422-1429.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12683

Kelly et al. 2018. Sustainability indicators for improved assessment of the effects of agricultural policy across the EU: Is FADN the answer? Ecological Indicators 89: 903-911. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.12.053

Kearns, H. and Finn, J.A. 2017. Supervising PhD Students: A Practical Guide and Toolkit. Thinkwell.

Finn et al. (2013) Ecosystem function enhanced by combining four functional types of plant species in intensively-managed grassland mixtures: a three-year continental-scale field experiment. Journal of Applied Ecology (in press) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2664