Cork professor coordinates scientists to create online eco-farming advice hub

Cork professor coordinates scientists to create online eco-farming advice hub
Aerial view of the 75a residential farm in Doona, Milford, Charleville.

Cork scientist John Quinn is part of a team of independent scientists brought together by a Trinity professor, originally from Cork, that have created a website with eco-farming advice.

Professor in Zoology, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Science, at UCC John Quinn said the main aim of the website is “to provide some guiding principles on how the Common Agriculture Policy can ensure that farming and nature can work hand in hand for everyone’s mutual benefit”.

The idea for the website came from a north Cork woman Yvonne Buckley who is a professor in Zoology at Trinity College Dublin.

The idea behind the website is that while 80% of the finance that comes for biodiversity comes from the Department of Agriculture, it is widely accepted that previous CAP schemes that tried to help nature, such as REPS and GLAS have had a very limited positive impact.

Prof Quinn said “The declines in our wildlife populations just keep on continuing. Something different has to be done and careful attention to key principles in ecology is essential.” The idea was formulated from a workshop as part of the 2019 ‘Seeds for Nature' initiative which aims to provide independent advice to Government.

It was funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, organised by Yvonne Buckley from TCD, Teagasc and GMIT, and attended by people from a wide variety of NGOs and universities from north and south, including UCC.

Prof Quinn said that he expected that the Irish Government will pay close attention to the guiding principles outlined in CAP4Nature as they are currently developing the “CAP Strategic Plan post-2020”.

“The website contains a wealth of information about what has happened to our wildlife, why farming and society need biodiversity, and how agriculture and nature can work hand in hand to everyone’s benefit.

“Looking to the future, the website will be a valuable source of information for farmers, agricultural advisors, community groups, the Irish government and all people concerned with our environment and landscape.”

The website is called Cap4nature and can be found at this link: https://www.cap4nature.com

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