Burrenbeo Trust along with partners IT Sligo will play a central role in the establishment of a new knowledge and best practice network which aims to boost innovation in agricultural areas across Europe renowned for their outstanding natural and cultural values.

Burrenbeo has joined forces with the Centre for Environmental Research, Innovation and Sustainability (CERIS) at IT Sligo, to launch HNV Link, an international project dealing with high nature value farming (where agricultural activities are associated with exceptionally high biodiversity).

The project will operate across 11 countries — Ireland, the UK, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Finland, and Sweden.

Financial backing of €2.2m comes from the Horizon 2020 EU Research Programme.

More than 70% of habitats of European importance in Ireland are impacted by agricultural practices, with many of the negative effects relating to the lack of management or land use change.

The goal is to increase the socio-economic viability and environmental efficiency of these areas, some of which are threatened by marginalisation. The project will focus on collecting, developing, transferring and sharing innovative solutions for high nature value areas.

While the Burren, recognised internationally as a flagship farming landscape, will be one of ten European learning areas for the project, the goal is to expand the network across the country, as high nature value characteristics apply to almost one third of Ireland’s agricultural landbase.

“Marrying science with local innovations and skill is vital in the quest to safeguard the future of these unique areas across Europe,” said James Moran, the project leader at IT Sligo.

Brendan Dunford, the Burrnbeo Trust secretary, said: “The Burren is the ideal learning area for this project given its high heritage value, its long history of farming, and the many pioneering conservation initiatives introduced here.”


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