Farmers and landowners have a very strong influence on biodiversity conservation. About 60% of the land in County Fingal is used for farming. Agricultural practice plays a pivotal role in enhancing opportunities for biodiversity in the countryside and farmers can receive financial support for undertaking management that assists biodiversity.
Key ways to help biodiversity on the farm:
1 Consider producing a farm management plan that identifies habitats and wildlife and how best to conserve them - ask TEAGASC for advice.
2 Plant new trees and hedgerows or create a pond.
3 Retain and link areas for wildlife such as field margins, meadows, ponds, scrub, trees and hedges.
4 Create a rough grass margin around fields and rough grass strips alongside streams and rivers.
5 Retain winter stubbles and consider planting wild bird cover crops under set-aside or agri-environment schemes.
6 Leave odd corners and strips of rough grass uncut over the winter to provide cover for hibernating insects and other wildlife.
7 Do not cut hedgerows during the breeding season which is between March and September. Avoid annual cutting of hedges and manage on a 2 or 3 year rotation.
8 Minimise inputs of fertiliser and pesticides.
9 Keep sprays and fertilisers away from hedges, woodlands, field margins, ditches and watercourses.
For more information:
Information on the REP schemes and other agricultural schemes can be obtained from Teagasc. For more information on planting and managing farm woodlands and on the Native Woodland Scheme and the Forest Environment Protection Scheme check out the Forest Service section on www.agriculture.gov.ie.

The Hedge Laying Association of Ireland was set up to encourage and facilitate the conservation, protection, and appropriate management of hedgerows. For more information visit www.hedgelaying.ie or contact the hedgelaying association on hlai@eircom.net.

For assistance with planting trees and hedgerows contact the Conservation Volunteers Fingal.

Detailed advice on improving farmland for biodiversity is also available from the RSPB. This website covers topics such as beetle banks, set-aside, conservation headlands and field margins, and management of hedgerows, hay meadows and grazing for livestock.
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