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Upland Management Event in Cork

Upland Management Event in Cork
Discussing upland management at the Upland Management Event in Cork on 7 November organised by John Casey and Anthony Dineen, Teagasc.

Over 80 landowners attended the event which was organised by Teagasc and the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in conjunction with the Cork Wildfire Co-operative Group (CWCG)

Best practices for farming uplands and managing the environment were outlined and discussed at an upland management event yesterday, 7 November, in the Millstreet Country Park, Millstreet, Co. Cork.

Topics addressed included upland farming (Anthony Dineen, Teagasc), environmental management (Dr Allan Mee, IRD Duhallow Raptor LIFE Project), fire safety (Finbarr McNulty, Cork Fire Service) and controlled burning techniques (John Casey, Teagasc).

On the demonstration site, Ciarán Nugent (Forest Service, DAFM) demonstrated the types of equipment necessary to carry out a controlled burn safely, such as fire retardant clothing, beaters and fire drip torches. The emphasis was on best practice and a co-operative approach. Of particular interest to landowners was the tractor-mounted mulching demonstration, one of a number of upland management tools discussed. It was not possible to carry out a controlled burning on the day, due to adverse weather conditions.

As Eugene Curran of the Forest Service, DAFM said in his opening introduction of the event, the nature, extent and frequency of land burning, and the habitats in which this activity occurs are contentious issues and impact on overall land productivity. Reconciling the differing objectives of farming, forestry, safety, conservation, public recreation and limited emergency resources requires a clear understanding of each of these objectives and respective perceptions.

Since 2011, the Cork Wildfire Co-operative Group (CWCG) have organised localised prescribed burning training and demonstrations and have conducted media campaigns using local papers, posters, radio and meetings as a way of reaching landowners and informing them of the inherent dangers, and the legislative frameworks that all parties have to work within. Multi-agency fire training and awareness events have also been held in Kerry, Wicklow, Laois and Louth.

The CWCG, in conjunction with the Kerry Wildfire Interagency Group, have led discussions on how the burning of mountain vegetation can be done in a safe way while working within the legislative framework that currently exists. Group participants to date include the IFA, Teagasc, the Forest Service, DAFM, An Garda Síochána, Muintir na Tíre, local authorities, Cork Environmental Forum, Fire and Rescue Services, the NPWS and Coillte.

There continues to be a very strong emphasis on cooperation between the landowners and state agencies, as well as developing a shared understanding of the issues and opportunities to work together.

This upland management event was a KT-approved Beef & Sheep Teagasc / DAFM event.