High Nature Value Farming (HNVF)

The concept of HNVF developed from a growing recognition that the conservation of biodiversity in Europe depends on the continuation of low-intensity farming systems (www.high-nature-value-farming.eu). Supporting HNVF is now a key priority in the Rural Development Plans of many countries and is a key objective of the Burren Programme. The Burren is an excellent example of a HNVF landscape and Burren Programme is now widely recognised as a leading model of how HNV farmers can be effectively supported to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services, and rewarded when they do.

burren-life-Small Eggar-0031Hybrid model of AES

The innovative and effective approach championed by Burren Programme — through which farmers are paid for actions and outputs — has been recognised at an international level. The Burren is the first Irish landscape (and one of the few privately owned areas in Europe) to receive the Council of Europe’s prestigious ‘European Diploma for Protected Areas’ award (www.coe.int), largely in recognition of the impact of Burren Farming for Conservation Programme (BFCP), predecessor of Burren Programme.  Burren Programme is now also inspiring other regions across Europe to explore how this ‘hybrid approach’ might work in different locations with different issues.

EU model

The initial BurrenLIFE research project which created a blueprint for the sustainable farming of the Burren, was awarded a ‘Best of the Best’ award for EU LIFE Nature projects in 2010, and continues to generate a lot of interest at an EU level. Equally, the Burren Programme has recently been featured as a case study at EU level in the context of Results Based Agri Environment Programmes (RBAPS)  and is now a partner in a EU funded research project to extend this approach to other regions including Sligo-Leitrim and the Shannon Callows (Ireland) and the Navarra Region (Spain) (www.efncp.org).

Ireland

burren-life-Willow Warbler 0005Closer to home, Burren Programme works with the Aran LIFE project www.aranlife.ie which adopts a similar approach to the initial Burren LIFE research project, in its efforts to protect the wonderful farmed landscape of the Aran Islands, Co. Galway. Over the past ten years, the Burren team and Burren farming community has hosted visiting groups from many other HNVF areas in Ireland including Kerry, Donegal, Mayo, Carlow, Wicklow and Waterford, as well as a number of groups from the UK and further afield. Burren Programme hopes to support these farming communities to access additional support, for example through the new ‘Locally Managed Agri Environment Schemes’ measure of the new Rural Development Programme.

To find out more:

As the work of the Burren team is focussed on delivering conservation outputs with local farmers, the time available to host visiting groups is very limited. Our main focus in hosting visiting groups is to host farmers. For other groups who want an introductory presentation on the Burren (including Burren Programme) we highly recommend the Burrenbeo Trust (www.burrenbeo.com), Glebe Road, Kinvara, Co. Galway. Contact (091)638096 or email trust@burrenbeo.com

For guided walks on farms (which are exemplars of the work of the Burren Programme), please contact one of the following Burren farmers:

  • Pat Nagle, Baunkyle, Corofin, Co. Clare (087) 9381799
  • Patrick McCormack, Glanquin, Kilnaboy, Co. Clare (065) 7089187 (refreshments also available)
  • Harry Jeuken Poulnalour, Kilnaboy, Co. Clare (065) 7089017 (refreshments also available)
  • Pat & Nuala Daly, Carron, Co. Clare (065) 7089161 (refreshments also available)

Please note that fees are charged by these providers.

For help with transport, tours, food and accommodation we strongly recommend that you contact the Burren Ecotourism Network on www.burren.ie or on (065)7072295.