Protecting Farmland Pollinators

Total budget: 1,194,679 Euro

Main funding sourceRural development 2014-2020 for Operational Groups (in the sense of Art 56 of Reg.1305/2013)
Project typeOperational group
Starting date2019
End date2023
Project statusOngoing

This project aims to develop a flexible mechanism that encourages all farmers to make their farm more pollinator friendly in a way that will not impact on productivity. It will:

-Test the effectiveness of a range of pollinator measures across farmland of different types and identify those that are most cost-effective.

-Examine the impact of these pollinator measures on broader biodiversity.

-Based on the pollinator measures, develop an innovative farm-scale scoring system to quantify how pollinator-friendly the entire farm is as a land parcel.

-Develop a simple results-based payment method that encourages and assists farmers in attempts to improve their overall farm-scale pollinator score.

Description of activities : 

-Assess all participating farms for existing pollinator habitat and determine an initial baseline farm-scale pollinator score (year 1).

-Fully monitor all participating farms for pollinators and broader biodiversity (year 2).

– Score all participating farms annually and explain to farmers what simple actions they can take to improve their score. Farmers will be paid annually depending on their score and the amount and quality of habitat they create (Years 2-5).

-Fully monitor all participating farms again for pollinators and biodiversity (year 4).

-Full critical review and future recommendations (year 5).

Pollinators are important to farmers who grow pollinator dependent crops, to those who want to grow their own fruits and vegetables and for the health of our environment. Farmland has experienced wide-scale loss of wild pollinators over the last fifty years however. In Ireland, one third of our 99 bee species are threatened with extinction. To address this issue, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan (AIPP) was published in 2015. For the AIPP to be successful, it requires small changes to how we manage the entire landscape to ensure it is a place where bees and other insects can survive and thrive. Farmers are at the heart of the solution, and it is imperative that realistic mechanisms are developed that will encourage and support farmers in protecting farmland pollinators.

This project will test pollinator measures in the Irish context and use these to develop an innovative and scientifically rigorous farm-scale scoring system that uses a habitat-matrix approach to quantity how pollinator-friendly the entire farm is as a land parcel. This would enable all farmers to understand how pollinator-friendly or not their farm currently is, what simple, low-cost actions they can take to change this, and to work towards improving their whole farm for pollinators and other biodiversity in a measurable way that does not impact on productivity.

Contact person: 

Dr Úna FitzPatrick

Address: National Biodiversity Data Centre, Carriganore, Co. Waterford


Phone: +353 (0)51 306240

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