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34
JULY 2019
Energy Focus
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
35
JULY 2019
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Energy Focus
used where groups of
farmers in an area are
encouraged to implement
a range of habitat
improvement measures.
This is considered to
be a novel approach
to environmental
management compared
to the more random
selection process used in
other agri-environment
schemes. Another change
from previous schemes
is the use of a results-
based payment scheme
where farmers will have
each habitat on their farm
assessed and scored, with
higher quality habitats
gaining higher payments.
A Biodiversity Managed
Area (BMA) comprises
of all the habitats that
are present on a farm.
These include hedgerows,
bogs, drains, quarries/
glens, field margins,
derelict buildings, historic
monuments, wetland,
semi-natural grassland,
treelines, woodland,
streams/rivers, ponds,
scrub, riparian bu er strips
and winter stubble.
The Brid project uses
Biodiversity Management
Plans (BMPs) drawn up by
the Project Ecologist for
each individual farm. Each
farm is walked and all
habitats noted. Following
a consultation with the
farmer, a specific plan
for the farm will then be
drawn up. This will then
be explained to the farmer
and if agreed the plan will
then be implemented. The
plan is compiled taking
into account the particular
enterprise(s) on the farm.
A specific example of
actions taking di erent
farming enterprises into
account could be in
relation to hedgerow
management. A hedgerow
management plan can be
drawn up for a farm and
will di er depending on
enterprise and species
present. In general,
mature hedgerows are
more biodiverse than
those that are routinely
cut so farmers will be
encouraged to allow
hedges to blossom and
fruit. Side trimming
of hedges will be
encouraged to prevent
scrub encroachment onto
the field but also to allow
light into the base of the
hedge, helping wildflower
growth, small mammals
and pollinators.
Balancing farming
and biodiversity
The project is about
managing the farm
sustainably and
commercially while also
actively managing for
improved biodiversity.
The project team
actively tries to include
a cross-section of
farm enterprises and
the fact that the Bride
catchment covers a large
geographical region
makes it more beneficial
to overall landscape
improvement rather than
concentrating on a more
localised area. Where
farms have a particular
species or habitat that
is being prioritised then
those farms will receive
special attention. This
can include breeding
habitats for certain birds,
mammals of amphibians.
The BRIDE model for
improving and preserving
biodiversity is considered
to be a very positive
approach, capable of
accommodating intensive
farming practices
alongside natural
habitat preservation and
regeneration with farmers
quite well disposed to the
concept.
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