For the month of May, the National Biodiversity Data Centre is hosting a virtual Festival of Farmland Biodiversity. Here Dr. Liam Lysaght, Centre Director, introduces the event and explains what we hope to achieve by running the Festival.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is hosting a month-long (virtual) Festival of Farmland Biodiversity for May 2021. The purpose of the Festival is to encourage a more positive engagement around the topic of biodiversity and farmland, and to highlight some of the ways that farmers can work to support biodiversity.
Biodiversity and how farmland is managed are closely linked. Recent years has seen a reduction in the biodiversity value of farmland, and much of the variety and diversity which was once such a characteristic feature of the Irish countryside has been lost. But the Irish farming community presents an opportunity for arresting this decline. The large number of farmers and their families can be a positive driver of change by ensuring that biodiversity features of value on their land are retained, and where possible actions are taken to enhance biodiversity. Retaining diversity in the Irish landscape is one way to create resilience to address the challenge of climate change.
The possibilities for transformative change where farmers across the island of Ireland take small and large actions on their farm to help biodiversity are enormous. We are seeking the help of the farming community to help deliver this transformative change by taking small and large actions for biodiversity.
A first step in this process we want to celebrate biodiversity on farmland, record and survey biodiversity and encourage more farmers to take positive actions for biodiversity. Many farmers are already doing a great deal to help biodiversity, so we want to profile some of these activities. We are encouraging farmers to share with us their experiences and knowledge, to highlight the benefits of these kinds of actions.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre provides many supports to encourage people to get more involved in biodiversity recording and surveys. During May, the Centre will be profiling some of the surveys and recording initiatives to provide opportunities for farmers and their families to get involved with biodiversity surveys. Already many farmers are involved in these schemes, but we would like to grow the network.
Our hope for the Festival of Farmland Biodiversity is that it will provide a vehicle for more positive engagement and learning around farmland biodiversity and result in a fresh impetus to address biodiversity decline in the wider countryside.
So please take photos or videos of any species, biodiversity feature or action that you have taken on your farm and share this through social media using the #FarmlandBiodiversity hashtag or send by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. By participating is recording you will have a better appreciation of the importance of farmland for biodiversity and help generate useful information to allow us to better understand and protect farmland biodiversity into the future.
Further details of the Festival of Farmland Biodiversity can be found at https://www.biodiversityireland.ie/farmlandbiodiversity/
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a programme of the Heritage Council and is operated under a service level agreement by Compass Informatics. The Biodiversity Data Centre is funded by the Heritage Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage