News | Latest News | Cap4Nature.com is a new website to help protect Ireland’s landscapes

6th November 2019

Vincent Wildlife Trust Ireland has worked with a group of local, independent scientists to develop www.Cap4Nature.com, a new website to help protect Ireland’s landscapes on which both farming and wildlife depend. The website provides scientific evidence to support a nature-based farming approach in the formulation of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for Ireland and to better protect natural resources, conserve biodiversity and address climate change.

The website highlights six Ecological Principles to support the design and implementation of nature-based farming solutions by CAP. These principles describe how biodiversity underpins food security and how strengthening the links between people, producers and nature both enhances benefits to nature and the reputation of Irish agricultural produce. The Ecological Principles are backed by an extensive list of peer-reviewed scientific papers, which are available to view on the website and include real examples for Cropland, Grassland, Peatland and Forest Ecosystems.

The six CAP4Nature Ecological Principles are:

  1. FARM FOR FOOD SECURITY

Biodiversity underpins the sustainable delivery of multiple ecosystem services that benefit society.

  1. NATURE HAS LIMITS

Global trends indicate we are facing a mass extinction, and Ireland is similarly affected. 

  1. QUANTITY, QUALITY & CONNECTIVITY MATTER

Ecosystem type, condition and extent determine the services that are delivered in any one area.

  1. ONE SIZE CAP DOESN’T FIT ALL

Targeted interventions are essential to ensure ecosystem service delivery across the Irish landscape.

  1. STRENGTHEN THE LINKS

The food system depends on links between people, producers and nature. Strengthening these links enhances benefits from nature and the reputation of Irish agricultural produce.

  1. NATURE NEEDS LONG TERM BUT FLEXIBLE PLANNING

Support for the natural processes that deliver beneficial ecosystem services requires long term planning.

 

Dr Kate McAney, Head of Conservation Development for Vincent Wildlife Trust in Ireland participated in the workshop and said: ‘These ecological principles highlight the critical role that nature plays in both agriculture and society. The website provides illustrated examples of how farming for biodiversity can positively impact on soil health, carbon, pollinators, water quality and wildlife. We know from our work on the lesser horseshoe bat that farmers are willing to undertake actions on their farms to protect this species but no scheme exists to assist them to do so’.

Professor Yvonne Buckley, Chair of the National Biodiversity Forum and Chair of Zoology at Trinity College Dublin, said: “The CAP Strategic Plan represents an important opportunity for Ireland to shape the way it spends money on farming. Over the next 12 months, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has a unique opportunity to embed ecological principles that improve farmers’ livelihoods by responding to the climate and biodiversity crises. It’s a win-win.”