Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Our research on multi-species mixtures at British Grassland Society

The British Grassland Society's 13th Research Conference addressed 'Multi-species Swards' on 2-4 March 2021. Here are links to some of our contributions to the conference, including an invited presentation, a research presentation and a poster. 

Saturday, 13 February 2021

CAP4Nature Report


This link opens a report from an Irish workshop to solicit biodiversity scientists' opinions as part of an EU series of workshops requested to address the topic 'The Common Agricultural Policy post-2020: A new Green Architecture, Novel Eco-schemes and biodiversity indicators. How can scientists and science help to make it work?' 

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Habitat areas and Ecological Focus Areas on intensively managed Irish farms

We conducted a study of Ecological Focus Areas (a Greening measure) on a sample of more intensively managed arable, dairy and beef farmland. We measured habitat areas on these farms, categorised them into EFA habitats, and compared them with scenarios of 5% and 7% threshold levels of EFA area. the vast majority of farms exceeded both the 5 and 7% thresholds. The study was published in Land Use Policy in 2019. 

Update: a preprint version of the published paper can be viewed here, for those unable to access the journal article.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Multi-species swards: links to webinars


This post lists some webinars and videos on multi-species swards that our research group has contributed to. 

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Multi-species grassland mixtures: some recent Irish research

Multi-species mixtures are expected to benefit grassland production because of the yield advantage from nitrogen fixed by clover, the variety of rooting structures allows them to access a wider range of soil water and nutrients, and their canopy structure that allows them to intercept more sunlight. In addition, they are associated with lower parasite loads in livestock, reduced greenhouse emissions, and increased carbon sequestration. Here, we give a brief overview of some of our current (2020) research on mixtures at Teagasc, Johnstown Castle.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Our recent online webinars on biodiversity

As part of Virtual Beef Week (July 8th), there is an online presentation and interview with the Farmer's Journal on biodiversity policy, videos of on-farm practices to improve farmland biodiversity, and interviews with farmers implementing these practices as part of the BRIDE EIP. Also discussion of habitat quantity, quality and results-based payments. With myself, Catherine Keena and Daire Ó hUallacháin of Teagasc. (From 8.17 to 30 mins in the video.)

Teagasc Research Insights Webinars Dec 16th, 2020. In this talk, I give an overview of some of our research on the extent and distribution of farmland habitats at a national and farm scale. I also introduce results-based payments for delivery of biodiversity improvements. (From 1.30 to 19 mins in the video). 

In this webinar as part of the Burren Winterage School (Oct 2020), I discuss some of the principles of results-based approaches for biodiversity conservation. This is illustrated with examples from Irish projects, programmes and case studies that have been applying results-based approaches. It's only fitting that we presented our work back to the Winterage School, as this is where we first committed to publish the book of case studies on results-based payments! (From 30.50 to 54 min). 

In a recent youtube video about multi-species grassland mixtures by DLF, see Guylain Grange and Saoirse Cummins (Teagasc, Johnstown Castle) talk about their research (from 4.09 minutes), amid related research ongoing at UCD and WIT. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Grassland conservation options in AEOS from a results-based perspective

In a 2017 post, we outlined the main results from a publication (Ó hUallacháin et al., 2016) that compared the vegetation in three different options for grassland conservation under the Irish agri-environment scheme (Agri-Environment Option Scheme, AEOS). Here, we outline the main results of that study, and develop it further with a more detailed interpretation of that work from the perspective of results-based approaches. Across the three grassland options in that study, the options had the effect of preferentially enrolling and financially rewarding lower-quality vegetation. We show how a results-based approach could better target, incentivise and reward the provision of higher-quality vegetation, and make a greater contribution to biodiversity conservation.