RDP project database
Enhancing Biodiversity Through Participation in Agri Environment Options Scheme
Farmer Kim McCall receives payments through the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) to maintain and enhance species biodiversity on his County Kildare farm. It is a ‘win-win situation for the farmer, environment, and society as a whole.
Kim McCall runs an 83-hectare drystock farm and has participated in the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) since 1994. The Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) is one of Ireland’s RDP measures for the years 2007-13. Kim has won awards for his work in the REPS and so was keen to participate in the AEOS (start-up 2010). Participants in the scheme must implement one of its objectives (halting biodiversity decline, maintaining water quality, combating climate change) and at least one associated complementary or additional action.
For this project Kim McCall selected to implement four actions to halt biodiversity decline, these being: 1) maintaining 10 ha of species rich grassland, containing at least 5 positive indicator species and not more than 20% of negative indicator species; 2) growing 3.5 ha of traditional hay meadow; 3) the revitalisation of 180 metres of old hedgerow; 4) planting a traditional orchard of 19 native apple trees. Farmers must usually participate in agri-environment schemes for at least five years.
During the EAFRD funding period, species-rich grassland with no artificial fertiliser or slurry/manure and specific stocking densities are being maintained and specific grazing regimes are adhered to. Fertiliser, grazing and mowing regulations for the traditional hay meadows are also adhered to. In order to revitalise the hedgerow the hedge is trimmed and planted with a mixture of whitethorn, field maple, dog rose and buckthorn. And finally 19 trees will be planted in the orchard.
Results & Benefits
Kim McCall sees this as a win-win situation - as payments of up to €4,000 in any one-year are available for those farmers who comply with the scheme's criteria. In return for good planning and management while observing the rules, the farmer, the agricultural sector and the country as a whole are all contributing towards maintaining and enhancing the biodiversity 'capital’ (in this specific example) of Europe.
Evidence from the McCall farm is that agri-environment schemes can encourage farmers to undertake measures that have a positive impact on biodiversity at the farm level. In addition to this the REPS programmes provides a range of options for a farmer to implement the measures which most appeal to them rather than enforcing mandatory regulations, these kinds of options allow farmers to feel more in control and therefore more willing to participate.
Project location and other information
Total project cost (€)
EAFRD contribution (€)
National contribution (€)
Languages for contact
At a glance
Final beneficiary type
< €20 000
Theme / Measure:
Environment and Sustainable Resource Management
Sustainable use of agricultural land
214. Agri-environment payments
Agri-environment, Autochthonous species, Biodiversity, Species conservation, Environmental management