Photograph: Farmers participating in the Wild Atlantic Nature RBPS training day.
LIFE IP Wild Atlantic Nature is working with WaterLANDS partners and local interest groups to deliver blanket bog restoration in the Cuilcagh-Anierin SAC.
Over the past two years, LIFE IP Wild Atlantic Nature has successfully launched a pilot Results-Based agri-environment Payment Scheme (RBPS) for 800 farmers across six sites designated for blanket bog habitat in northwest Ireland. The RBPS directly links farmer payments to the environmental quality of the farm, which incentivises and rewards restoration and conservation of high-quality habitats. The project team are also on hand to assist farmers with financial and technical supports to improve the environmental condition of their land, should they so wish. This approach puts farmers and their skills, expertise and knowledge of their land central to the development of the initiative, and provides a mechanism for delivering restoration actions at scale. The results of this pilot are informing future results-based actions to be incorporated into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Agri-Environment, Climate Measures (AECMs) from 2023. Under the new CAP Strategic Plan for Ireland, 20,000 farmers in high nature value areas will participate in results-based agri-environment schemes, which will be implemented by eight local Cooperation Project teams.
From our work in Wild Atlantic Nature and other previous R^BPS^, we know that participation in RBPS is high (>80%), but much fewer farmers choose to apply for support to undertake restoration actions (approx. 15%). WaterLANDS will work closely with local farmers, Cooperation Project teams and others to better understand how we can increase the uptake of restoration actions among farmers in RBPS. We will examine the environmental and socio-economic benefit of different restoration activities, and explore why farmers choose certain actions, under what conditions and where. Findings will directly inform the development of RBPS in Ireland and Europe.
For more information visit www.wildatlanticnature.ie or follow the project social media accounts.