RBAPS in Ireland

We have 31 farmers participating in the project in Ireland: 13 in County Leitrim and 18 in the Shannon Callows.  These participants have enetered almost 120 hectares of farmed habitats across 106 land parcels.

In County Leitrim our participants have two measures available, Species-rich Grassland and Marsh Fritillary butterfly Habitat; on the Shannon Callows the options available to Farmers are Species-rich Flood Meadow and Wet Grassland suitable for Breeding Waders. For all RBAPS measuress, in both 2016 and 2017, each management unit (land parcel/field) entered under an RBAPS measure is assessed and given marks out of 10 based on the ecological quality of the habitat; payments are based on the annual scores.

 County Leitrim

a.   County Leitrim Species-rich Grassland

Species-rich grasslands (SRG) depend on low intensity farming practices. In County Leitrim the Species-rich Grassland measure is designed to reward farmers for the quality of species-rich grasslands present on their lands.  Under this measure the number and cover of plant species which are indicators of good quality grasslands along with indicators of habitat suitability are assessed as part of the scoring system.

There are 13 farmers participating in the Species-rich grassland measure in County Leitrim.  These farmers have entered 62 fields, totaling over 120 hectares into the scheme.

b.  Marsh Fritillary butterfly Habitat (and Species-rich Grassland)

Marsh Fritillary butterfly habitat relies on low-intensity farming practices to deliver the conditions suitable for this rare and declining species. Under this RBAPS measure the number and cover of plant species which are indicators of good quality grasslands along with indicators of habitat suitability for Marsh Fritillary butterfly are assessed as part of the scoring system.

Two of the 13 farmers participating in the Species-rich grassland measure in County Leitrim also have land entered in to the measure for Marsh Fritillary butterfly habitat. This includes 20 land parcels covering almost 15 hectares of grassland.

Shannon Callows

a.  Shannon Callows Species-rich Flood Meadow measure

On the Shannon Callows, the species-rich flood meadow measure is designed to reward farmers for the quality of species rich meadows present on their lands.  Under this measure the number and cover of plant species which are indicators of good quality flood meadow along with indicators of habitat suitability are assessed as part of the scoring system.

We have 16 farmers participating in the RBAPS project with Species-rich Flood Meadows, this includes 7 farmers with Species-rich Flood Meadows and Ground-Nesting Birds (see below).  A total of 19 hectares across 13 meadow plots are entered to this measure.

b.  Shannon Callows Species-rich Flood Meadow with Ground Nesting Birds measure

On the Shannon Callows, the species-rich flood meadow with ground nesting birds measure is designed to reward farmers for both the protection of ground nesting birds and the quality of species-rich meadows present on their lands.  Under this measure the number and cover of plant species which are indicators of good quality flood meadow, along with indicators of habitat suitability are assessed as part of the scoring system, as above.  Where Whinchat and/or Curlew are found to be present in the meadow, the ground-nesting bird measure will be offered to the participating farmer. Under this measure mowing of the meadow must be delayed until after July 15th to encourage successful breeding and scoring for grassland quality will be carried out in July (before the 15th).  Farmers will receive an additional €50 per hectare on top of their payment for species-rich grassland under this measure.

Of the 16 farmers entered to the Species-rich Flood Meadows measure in 2016, 7 were offered the option to delay mowing to safeguard the nests of Whinchat or Curlew. All farmers who were offered this option in 2016 chose to delay mowing on their meadows.

c.  Shannon Callows Breeding Wader measure

The Shannon Callows Breeding Wader measure is designed to reward farmers for the quality of breeding wader habitat they produce on plots of wet grassland. Each farmer is provided with specialist advice and guidance as to the ecological requirements of breeding waders and how these requirements can be achieved. Criteria that are scored include the vegetation structure, extent and suitability of feeding areas for chicks and cover of scrub and trees (which may provide habitat for predators). To be eligible for entry into the Breeding Wader option the participating fields must be grazed by cattle.

In 2016, we had 5 farmers entered to the Breeding Wader Habitst measure.  This included ~ 30 hectares of breeding wader habitat across 5 wader areas.

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parners-logos-march-2017

This project is funded by the European Commission with co-funding provided by project partners and with support form The Heritage Council, Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The opinions expressed on this website or in project documents do not necessarily reflect those of the funders.
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