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Biodiversity regeneration for Cork dairy farms

EU funding rewards Cork farmers to maintain part of their land as a Biodiversity Managed Area, through regeneration measures to increase biodiversity.

Bee on flower

How regeneration supports biodiversity

“Embrace the green,” says Donal Sheehan, “don’t go against it.” The loss of biodiversity in Ireland over the years has been potentially catastrophic, causing the deterioration of globally important habitats and species loss. Conservation of natural resources, such as biodiversity, is a key component to the objectives of the European Green Deal. While farmers are legally required to reduce their carbon footprint and improve water quality, currently there is no legal obligation to improve biodiversity.

That’s why Cork farmer, Donal Sheehan, created The BRIDE (Biodiversity Regeneration in a Dairying Environment) Project. “The most innovative feature of the BRIDE Project is the landscape-scale approach to biodiversity,” says Donal. “You have groups of farmers in an area who are encouraged to improve biodiversity.”

This community-based effort requires participants to maintain 10% of their land as a Biodiversity Managed Area (BMA). For instance, some farmers have set aside a small parcel of land to create a pond; others have cultivated native woodland, planted hedgerows, or installed pollinator plots – all with the aim of increasing biodiversity.

There wouldn’t be a project without the European Union funding. Funding coming to farmers in the Bride Valley helps local businesses and local communities. That’s why it’s so important:
Donal Sheehan

 

How the EU rewards dairy farmers

The project rewards farmers with a results-based payment scheme. Each habitat is assessed and scored, and while farmers receive a flat fee, higher quality habitats gain bonuses based on performance.

“Farmers get bonus points if they have a group rather than an individual solution. The project pays €2,000 per farmer and multiplied by the 44 farms involved in the first year means it paid out nearly €90,000 to help create new habitats.”

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BRIDE - Biodiversity Regeneration in a Dairying Environment