The overall objectives of the LIFE on Machair project are to improve the conservation status of Ireland’s Machair grassland and Fixed dune habitats and the ecological conditions for breeding waders and pollinators within the project sites. The project will run over the course of six years, from 2022 to 2028.
Specific actions relating to farming and land management will be integrated through the LIFE on Machair Restoration programme and these will include:
- Working with farmers and landowners to develop and roll out agricultural management agreements on project sites. These agreements will incentivise and reward farmers for improving habitat quality while in return delivering essential support for breeding waders and pollinators in the long term.
- Providing opportunities and support for local farmers and communities to engage in capacity building and knowledge sharing on the sustainable management of Machair sites.
- Developing and implementing site-specific conservation interventions (e.g. revegetation, predator control) to address acute threats to the targeted habitats and species.
While working with farmers and landowners, we will also work with Local Authorities, local communities and tourism providers with specific actions relating to:
- Coordination of community workshops in project target areas to explore the sustainable use of Machair sites for tourism and recreation. The aim of these workshops will be to raise awareness and also help to scope out solutions reduce the negative impacts of recreational users on intensively used areas through developing a sustainable tourism model for Machair sites.
- Support of local community initiatives developed during the workshops through the provision of small grants (seed funding) for eco-friendly tourism initiatives.
- Development and coordination of a primary schools programme in project target areas to raise awareness about Machair systems habitats and species, and how to care for them.
In this way, the project will employ an integrated management approach working to raise awareness of, and develop appropriate guidance for, Machair systems in Ireland. This will underpin a framework for informed management policies (farming and tourism) for Machair sites post LIFE on Machair, while developing technical guidance for concrete conservation actions within a network of Machair and wader Natura 2000 sites.
COORDINATION & GOVERNANCE