Now showing 1 - 10 of 29
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    Predicting the Impact of Coexistence-Guided, Genetically Modified Cropping on Irish Biodiversity: (2006-B-MS-46) STRIVE Report
    This report is published as part of the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE) Programme 2007–2013.
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    The future of Burns Bog, Canada: stakeholder participation or habitat decline?
    Complex stakeholder pressure on peatlands is nothing new. Throughout history, peatlands have been looked upon as providers of socio-economic opportunities. Burns Bog in Vancouver, Canada is a good example of this. This Bog was utilised first by indigenous peoples and later it was partially used for sod peat production. These have been influential impacts ecologically, but Burns Bog has largely retained its hydrological integrity. Though now a cutover peatland, spontaneous regeneration has been rapid and has resulted in high species diversity. Today it has been identified as a unique peatland system in that it is located in both a Mediterranean climate zone and high population, urban setting. This urban growth has engulfed the regenerating peatland contributing to a plethora of new pressures and leading some to believe that the future is bleak. This paper will review the many socio-economic impacts on Burns Bog, as well as strategies for its conservation, stakeholder perceptions and policy implications.
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  • Publication
    Dublin City Environmental Directory 2004
    An essential and easy to use directory of groups that are involved in environmental activities in Dublin City in 2004
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    Social and community dimensions in cutaway peatland policy
    Industrial scale harvesting of Irish peatlands has been described both as a technical challenge and a socio-economic opportunity. While these are widely discussed, and thus better understood, a third issue, the relationship of local communities to cutaway peatlands, is less so. Throughout history, peatlands were 'developed' in order to help alleviate unemployment in disadvantaged regions, and this driver is a key influencer of policy and outcomes. But as the resource exploitation in Ireland approaches completion, the new challenges beyond wise use are now being posed: should we conserve some of the endowment undeveloped? Should we restore the cutaway so as to provide recreation and amenity, and other environmental services? How should national policy and local and community policies be reconciled? As part of the transdisciplinary Irish Bogland Project, these dimensions have been examined. Using a combination of focus groups, national and local surveys, and personal interviewing new light has been shed on the social-ecological interface in cutaway peatland areas. In this paper, we will review the relevant literature, and report our methodologies and findings, including the implications for policy.
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    An Ecological Evaluation of Field Boundary Stone Walls in Ireland
    The ecological values of field boundaries in Ireland are poorly understood and much of the currently accepted values are based on extrapolated data from detailed boundary research in the UK, France and elsewhere. Though these locations have similar ecological characteristics as Ireland and possibly a greater post-glacial biodiversity, it ought not to be concluded that Irish field boundaries have identical or even similar functions. Much of the data in Ireland relate to field boundary landscape characteristics and/or mis-management as opposed to ecological research based on field data. The limited research that has been carried out on hedgerows and field margins in the Irish Republic has, in general, revealed positive data in relation to specific taxonomic groups. It may be claimed, therefore, that though much emphasis has been placed on the value of hedgerows there are little data to support this. The data that are available for stone wall boundaries are even less developed than those for hedgerow boundaries. This could be because a stone wall might not viewed to be a 'living' habitat as a row of hedgerow trees often are. Research on the ecology of stone walls globally is very poor with much of the data relating to secondary sources (Dover et al. 2000). Two publications have been produced that deal solely with this area. Segal (1969) and later Darlington (1981) have produced seminal volumes on the ecology of urban walls and walls of old buildings within which both refer to field boundary walls but ecological references are few. In a trawl of the available literature it was found that no publications dealing exclusively with the ecological characteristics of field boundary stone walls, such as those that may be found throughout the Irish countryside, existed. This is surprising as boundary stone walls are recognised as a specialised habitat (Fossitt 2000). The aim of this research proposal is to redress the balance somewhat and will provide crucial baseline data that may affect current management practises in Ireland. This poster aims to highlight the lack of information in this area, propose basic research and to seek feedback from conference attendees in the form of photographs, opinions and the location of published and unpublished data.
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    PNtrap Project: Using trees and woody shrubs to intercept excess nutrient in farm and forestry runoff
    Water protection has long been a cornerstone of EU environmental policy. It is the sector with the most comprehensive coverage in EU environmental regulations (Kallis & Butler 2001). In some European countries such as the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Italy, national and local governments have implemented substantial programmes aimed at combating excessive nutrient loss to watercourses from agricultural, silvicultural and waste treatment activities. It is generally accepted that agricultural operations contribute, in a significant manner, to increased nitrogen and phosphorous loss to water catchments and result in environmenatlly unacceptable occurrences such as eutrophication and algal blooms. The increase in N and P loading may be dealt with in a number of ways, including a reduction of input or better fertiliser management. However there remains two problems. One is the perseverance of high fertility in the catchment long after regulation or cessation of input and the other is the potential for lower yields as a result of policy change. Water catchment nutrient management is poorly developed in Ireland and runoff nutrient entering watercourses is increasing (Tunney et al 2001). This has a serious and detrimental effect on water quality as well as ecological processes. It has been demonstrated that many trees have the ability to intercept and absorb large volumes of nutrients (Hefting & de Klein 1998). Buffer plantations of, often, willow (Salix spp.) and other species may be established in order to effectively and efficiently intercept surface runoff of nitrate (N) and phosphate (P). In addition, such buffer plantations could themselves produce an annual crop requiring little management and low-priced technology to harvest. Yet, the science behind the application has not been established in Ireland. The PNtrap project is currently under development in the Forest Ecosystem Research Group in the Department of Environmental Resource Management, UCD. The aim of this innovative project is to investigate the nutrient interception and absorption properties (N and P) of broadleaved trees, especially native species and varieties, and the beneficial effect that this may have for watercourse management in relation to farm and forestry runoff. The objective is to develop trial plots and test scenarios in order to identify the optimum tree and woody shrub species. The PNtrap project will commence in late 2003 and will run for a minimum of three years. Though the primary aim of the project is to establish a scientific basis for the utilisation of trees and woody shrubs to intercept nutrient entering watercourses, it is hoped that this will reveal if woody buffer zones are capable of protecting water catchments from N and P enrichment in Ireland.
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    Evaluating the Ecological Impacts of Cultivating Genetically Modified Herbicide Tolerant (GMHT) Oilseed Rape and Maize: (2007-B-DS-1-S1) STRIVE Report
    (Environmental Protection Agency, 2011-06) ;
    This report is published as part of the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for the Environment (STRIVE) Programme 2007–2013.
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    Farmland birds and the field boundary evaluation and grading system in Ireland
    (Faculty of Agriculture, UCD in association with Teagasc, 2005-07) ; ; ;
    Field boundaries are important habitats for birds within the agricultural landscape. In this study, bird surveys were carried out during the winter and breeding season on nine farms in the east and south-east of Ireland and field boundaries at each site were assessed using the Field Boundary Evaluation and Grading System (FBEGS). Poisson regression demonstrated that FBEGS scores were a good predictor of both winter and breeding bird species richness and diversity within the field boundaries studied. We interpret these preliminary results with caution since our sample size was relatively small (compared to the wide variety of field boundary types found in Ireland) and no single combination of field boundary attributes is likely to be optimum for all bird species. However, our results suggest that FBEGS may be a useful surrogate indicator of overall field boundary bird diversity and we discuss the consequent implications for agri-environmental policy, and for the possible adaptation and use of FBEGS as a tool to monitor the impact of changing farm management practice.
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    Focus group discourses in a mined landscape
    (Elsevier, 2010-04) ;
    Focus group research is rarely used for examining environmental discourses other than when conflict arises. This study looks at local citizen perceptions in relation to mined (or 'cutaway') industrial peatland landscapes in Ireland, and seeks to shine a light on the opinions of potential actors, and the degree of willingness to participate in after-use strategies, through focus group sessions. Data are analysed using two mechanisms - content and discourse analysis. It is shown that there is a high degree of reflective perceptions on issues of quality of life and the environment with a low level of concern about further use of peatlands as places of employment - a shift from a productive, utilitarian perception to a post-productive, non-utilitarian perception. It is also shown that, when presented with a scenario that sees cutaway peatlands being used for amenity and biodiversity, there are no negative issues and some degree of enthusiasm. This paper will conclude with remarks on focus group methodologies.
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