How farmers can support biodiversity
National Biodiversity Week Ireland 2023 takes place 19th – 28th May. National Biodiversity Week is all about connecting people with nature and communicating the importance of biodiversity.
Conservation of Farmland Habitats
Conservation and protection of farmland wildlife and habitats is an important dimension of environmental sustainability. In order of priority, decisions about the management of wildlife habitats should aim to:
Prioritised Guidance for Management of Farmland Wildlife Habitats
Retain what you have
Retain existing wildlife areas. These habitats have highest value for farmland wildlife e.g. native woodlands, ponds, wetlands, species-rich grasslands, marshland, as well as hedgerows and field margins. Old buildings can be important roosts for birds and bats.
Enhance degraded farmland habitats through improved management
Increase the quality of existing farmland habitats to improve the wildlife value of a farm. Native grasslands and heathland areas can be improved through appropriate grazing. Control invasive species. Allow hedgerows to grow tall for farmland birds and flower for pollinators. Prevent spray drift onto field margins, hedgerows, ponds, wetlands and waterways.
Only consider habitat creation after existing habitats have been retained or enhanced
Newly created habitats usually have a lower wildlife value than existing habitats. However, in areas with very little existing habitats, the creation of farmland habitats can help e.g.
- new hedgerows
- field margins
- pollinator strips
- native woodland
- wildbird seed mixes etc.
Do not locate new wildlife habitats on existing habitats
Placing newly created habitats e.g. pollinator strips, wild bird cover or woodland on existing habitats such as species-rich grasslands and heathland typically results in a net loss of biodiversity.
National Biodiversity Week Ireland 2023 takes place 19th – 28th May. 'Explore the rich variety of life in Ireland this May with a host of wonderful events and activities for the whole family.' Read more about National Biodiversity Week here.