Nature knows no boundaries
Wildlife needs space, beyond nature reserves, to survive and flourish into the future. That’s why we are working with partners – farmers, landowners and government bodies - to join the dots and create wildlife-rich landscapes that are bigger, better and more joined up.
From species-rich grassland and precious peatlands to unique sand dune systems, we are improving land for wildlife by building partnerships, delivering projects and providing advice to others.
Saving peatlands and wetlands through the Collaborative Action for the Natura Network (CANN)
We’re working to address the decline in our precious peatlands and wetlands, as part of the Collaborative Action for the Natura Network: a consortium of leading researchers, scientists, local authorities, charities and community groups from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, led by Newry, Mourne & Down District Council.
Over €9.1m of EU Interreg funding has been allocated to reverse years of neglect and mismanagement, which will benefit many iconic and under threat species supported by these internationally important habitats.
Actions will include removal and control of invasive species; enhanced grazing management in upland areas; testing results based agri-environment payments for farmers; fencing; drain blocking and wildfire management; and nest protection for threatened species such as the hen harrier.
Our work is focused on protecting and restoring blanket and raised bogs, such as Cuilcagh Mountain in Fermanagh, Garry Bog in Antrim, Peatlands Park in Armagh, and Moneygal in Tyrone, and assisting local landowners to manage these unique landscapes into the future for the vulnerable species that rely upon them, such as golden plover, red grouse and curlew.
Find out more about The CANN Project
Defending special places for nature with the Ministry of Defence
We’re working with the Ministry of Defence, helping them to manage their training grounds at Ballykinlar and Magilligan: two of largest and most important sites for wildlife in Northern Ireland.
Both of these breath-taking and iconic landscapes are designated Special Areas of Conservation, home to a striking range of interesting, rare or threatened birds, butterflies, moths, plants and much more. The list at Magilligan includes the beautiful grass-of-parnassus, rare orchids such as marsh helleborine, and the scarce crimson and gold and small eggar moths; whilst Ballykinlar boasts the nationally rare shepherd’s cress and one of the best common seal haul-outs in Northern Ireland.
Conservation cattle graze these large tracts of land to help us manage the fragile habitats and control scrub – the biggest issue for wildlife and training on both sites. Habitat management, surveying and monitoring of wildlife is also undertaken.
Environmental Farming Group Facilitation Scheme in Fermanagh and Tyrone
We’re working with farmers in Fermanagh and Tyrone to help protect and improve species-rich grasslands and create vibrant habitats for local wildlife, by facilitating the Environmental Farming Group Facilitation Scheme.
We offer practical advice, support and training to help groups of farmers address the issues and challenges of farming within environmentally designated lands and help them put in place the management that is required to improve or safeguard these sites for the future.
Building capacity to deliver Nature Recovery Networks
In partnership with RSPB NI, National Trust and Woodland Trust we are working towards the creation of the first set of ecological network maps for Northern Ireland to best understand the current habitat cover and its level of connectivity and to identify opportunities to create more, bigger, better and more joined-up habitats for wildlife.
Together with the project partners, we are advocating to the central and local government and other stakeholders for the adoption of this landscape-scale approach towards looking after our environment, where these maps can strategically direct investment where it will make the biggest impact for wildlife and humans alike.
As a part of our role in this project, we are hosting the project coordinator, who, with the support from key staff from the four partner organisations will be leading on the delivery of the work plan, including the production of a set case studies in order to portray how the ecological network approach can inform future policy and practice, in addition to facilitating knowledge sharing among the partners and other stakeholders, leading to a more resilient sector.