The Irish landscape with its associated biodiversity has been shaped by millennia of agricultural activity, with nature providing the raw material. Irish farmland is characterised by having a good diversity of habitats such as hedgerows, field margins, ponds and streams, native woodland, bogs and species-rich meadows and pastures. Irish biodiversity therefore depends on farmland habitats.
Everywhere on a farm is a habitat and every farm contributes to biodiversity. Flora and fauna are adapted to live in different habitats. A field of ryegrass or corn contains a small number of species, whereas a hedgerow contains hundreds.
The most common farmland habitats are hedgerows with other important farmland habitats including, native woodland, bogs and species rich grassland. The most important habitats are designated as protected areas, and cover over ten per cent of the country:
- Special Areas of Conservation (SAC’s) are for flora and fauna of European importance, e.g. the Burren.
- Special Protection Areas (SPA’s) are for areas with birds of European importance, e.g. the Shannon Callows.
- Natural Heritage Areas (NHA’s) are important habitats in Ireland with a variety of rare species of flora and fauna.
The network of habitats throughout the countryside provides connectivity for wildlife. Sensitively managed farmland can greatly benefit wildlife and help halt the decline of Ireland’s biodiversity.
Leaflets / Booklets
Hedgerows give the Irish landscape its distinctive character and field pattern. They provide an important wildlife habitat especially for woodland flora and fauna. Increasing the variety of hedgerow types in terms of height, width, shape and species mix promotes diversity in flora and fauna.
Are your hedgerows fit for birds and bees?
Two key criteria for routinely trimmed hedgerows:
Hedgerows should be at least 1.5m high for birds to nest and have cover over and under the nest.
Hedgerows should contain thorn trees to provide flowers for bees and fruit for birds and small mammals.
Hedgerow Week 2019
To encourage hedgerows that are fit for Birds & Bees Teagasc has designated the week commencing October 21st as Hedgerow Week 2019. During this week there are a number of events and competitions taking place.
We’ve teamed up with AgriAware to offer you the chance to win some great prizes. Download the image below and complete the names of the species pictured that live in our native Irish hedgerows and be in with a chance to win:
• An annual family pass to Dublin Zoo
• Farm overalls/hats sponsored by FTMTA Members
Post your entry by 21 November to: Yvonne Maher, Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow
For some hints and clues click here
Is your contractor for the birds? To celebrate Teagasc Hedgerow Week 2019, we are running a competition to identify best practice in hedgerow cutting. Nominate yourself or your contractor, and be in with a chance to win €1,000, split evenly between contractor and farmer
Monday 21st October - Launch of Teagasc Hedgerow Week
An offcial launch of Hedgerow Week will take place at Teagasc Kildalton College, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny by Minister Andrew Doyle. Stakeholders from farming and environmental organisations will be invited to attend and watch a live hedge cutting demonstration.
Tuesday 22nd October - Teagasc engagement with schools and Tidy Towns
Three Co. Waterford schools will be visited by Teagasc to promote the importance of hedgerows and the environment. Teagasc will attend and deliver a talk for Kilkenny Tidy Towns Forum 2019 in the Newpark Hotel, Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny at 7.30pm.
Wednesday 23rd October - Hedge Cutting Contractor Event
Salesian Agricultural College, Palleskenry Co. Limerick invites contractors, farmers, and the general public, to a hedge cutting event, at 11am, including a workshop led by industry stakeholders. A working demonstration of hedge cutting will take place by a local
contractor and a range of hedge cutting equipment will be on display.
Thursday 24th October - Women and Agriculture Conference
Teagasc will have a stand at the Women and Agriculture Conference in Sligo.
Friday 25th October - Teagasc Tipperary Sustainability Farm Walk - Cancelled
Teagasc Tipperary will hold a sustainability farm walk for farmers, on the farm of Michéal Kelly, Ballyvaughan, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary,
E91 D275 at 11am which will include a hedge cutting demonstration by a contractor.
Read more about:
Bee, Bird and Bat Habitats
Hedgerow Management (PDF)
Wild Bird Cover
Wild Bird Cover (PDF)
A Grove of Trees
A Grove of Trees (PDF)
Catherine Keena Countryside Management Specilaist explains why hedgerows are important for birds and bees and how to make sure the hedgerow is suitably maintained to encourage birds and bees.
Hedgerow Leaflets / Booklets
The Value of Hedgerows
Routine Mechanical Hedge Cutting
New Farm Hedgerows
- What hedgerow should I plant?
- New Irish Record for Hedge Cutting
- Bad bunnies and wicked weeds – protect your new hedgerows
Leaflets / Booklets
Bats and their Habitats