The Burren, Ireland
The Burren landscape
The Burren, Ireland, encompasses Natura 2000 site and a National Park, whose grazing management is undertaken by local farmers. It is largely karst limestone landscape dominated by calcareous grassland and heaths with associated areas of limestone pavement and Atlantic Hazel woodland.
Farming systems are dominated by extensive cattle rearing.
The key issue is polarization of agricultural activities into more intensive practices, on one hand, and abandonment on extensive grasslands and heaths, on the other. The ageing farm population and change to part-time farming threaten labor intensive traditional practices. The area has been a learning ground for several innovations: design and implementation of results-based agri-environment scheme, links with local landscape and education trust, development of the learning landscape concept (curious kids, landscape learners and heritage helpers programmes, Burren Winterage Weekend). Marketing opportunities have been investigated.
Award winning EU LIFE project Burren LIFE took place here.