Wild Atlantic Nature among the finalists of the 2024 edition of the European Natura 2000 Award!

The Wild Atlantic Nature project, coordinated by NPWS and funded by the EU LIFE programme, is a finalist for the 2024 Natura 2000 Award. The Natura 2000 Award highlights projects that demonstrate excellence in nature conservation and sustainable land use.

The Wild Atlantic Nature results-based agri-environmental payment scheme (RBPS) is a pilot initiative, implemented in 2021-2022, to develop capacity among farmers, farm advisors, policy-makers and scientists to deliver improved ecosystem services – including water quality, biodiversity and climate regulation – in a way that works for both landowners and the environment. The RBPS directly links farmers’ agri-environment payments to the ecological condition of their land through a scorecard-based approach that assesses different habitat types, and captures the level of environmental services provided. In this way, good environmental management is rewarded and improvement on lower-scoring lands is incentivised.

In all, over 820 farmers across 63,000 hectares of Natura 2000 and neighbouring land participated in the Wild Atlantic Nature RBPS, with more than €3m in direct payments to farmers. The learnings informed the development of the Department of Agriculture’s results-based Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme Cooperation Project (ACRES CP). There are now 20,000 farmers participating in the ACRES CP programme (2023-2027), covering an area of 1,160,000 ha, including over 85% of Ireland’s blanket bog SACs, with a total budget of €750million.

According to the organizers of the award ‘The Wild Atlantic Nature project has delivered an extremely convincing demonstration of how farmers can be paid fairly and effectively to protect Natura 2000 sites and habitats.’

Wild Atlantic Nature is a finalist in the category Working Together for Nature and is also up for the Citizens’ Award, which is decided by public vote. Show your support by voting here.

Working together to protect nature - site meeting
Training Demonstration