Creating and enhancing farmland habitats: a review of options and evidence
Ecological research has an extensive literature on farmland biodiversity and on the creation and enhancement of farmland habitats. Unfortunately, this information and understanding is not in a readily available format, which frequently inhibits its transfer to landowners and policymakers.
The overall aim of this study was to provide an overview of measures that can enhance farmland habitats and thus contribute to halting the loss of biodiversity in Ireland. We aimed to outline more general ecological principles that inform good practice in management of selected habitats through the following aims:
- assess the evidence for habitat creation, restoration, enhancement, management and protection
- review experience-based land management practices that can be applied to creating, restoring, enhancing, managing or protecting farmland habitats
- review measures to create, restore, enhance, manage or protect farmland habitats within selected agri-environment schemes in Europe
- suggest how novel techniques to create, restore, enhance, manage or protect farmland habitats might benefit farmland biodiversity associated with farm practices and farm habitats in Ireland.
We also conducted a more specific assessment of the wildlife value of current options in the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS). Based on a novel methodology that utilised the judgement of agri-environmental experts, we identified strengths and opportunities for improvement in current habitat management recommendations in the REPS. By harnessing existing ecological knowledge to contribute to the identification of agri-environment measures that are appropriate to the biodiversity objectives of the existing REPS, we hope to contribute to future agri-environment schemes.
Further information can be obtained from Dr Daire Ó hUallacháin daire.ohuallachain[at]teagasc.ie
O hUallachain, D. & Finn, J.A. (2011) creating_and_enhancing_farmland_habitats_a_review_of_options_and_evidence_5768 Teagasc Technology Update.
Carlin, C., Finn, J.A., Ó hUallacháin, D., & Gormally, M. (2010) Overview of methods to create and enhance farmland habitats in Ireland. Report for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Ó hUallacháin, D. Finn, J.A. & Gormally, M. A review of evidence for agri-environmental measures to create and enhance farmland habitats. Final report for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Carlin, C., Finn, J.A., Ó hUallacháin, D., & Gormally, M. (2010) Experts’ assessment of biodiversity options and supplementary measures in REPS 4. NUIG/Teagasc Research report for the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food.
Carlin, C., Finn, J.A., Ó hUallacháin, D., & Gormally, M. (2010) Farmland Biodiversity: Measures to create and enhance farmed habitats. NUIG/Teagasc publication.
Finn, J.A., Bartolini, F., Kurz, I., Bourke, D. and Viaggi D. 2009. Ex post environmental evaluation of agri-environmental schemes using experts’ judgements and multicriteria analysis. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 52: 717-737.
This research was made possible by a research award from the Research Stimulus Fund of the Department of Agriculture and Food, funded by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan. RSF 07 520 ‘A review of evidence for agri-environmental measures to create and enhance farmland habitats’ (2008-2010).