why is hnv farmland important

HNV farming systems exist because of the people who farm the land and so they very important for retaining vibrant rural communities throughout Ireland. They also  produce lamb and beef and are a source of weanlings for finishing on other farms. The extensive farming systems coincide with the areas of highest water quality and produce some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.

High biodiversity areas provide natural pest controls and so can impact the incidence of disease. Wetlands and peatlands can absorb rainfall and provide important resistance to flood and heavy rainfall events.

HNV farmland in Ireland provides important habitats for insects, birds and animals.

 It is also an important reserve for plants that you won’t find in more intensively farmed landscapes

They provide environmental public goods and ecosystem services. The products and processes of ecological goods and services are complex and occur over long periods of time. Environmental public goods (EPGs) can be described as non-excludable i.e. if the good is available to one person, others cannot be excluded from the benefits it confers and non-rival i.e. if the good is consumed by one person it does not reduce the amount available to others.

There is a wide range of public goods associated with agriculture, many of which are highly valued by wider society. These are provided in high quantities in HNV landscapes. They include:

1.       Agricultural landscapes 7.      Fire resilience
2.       Farmland biodiversity 8.      Flood resilience
3.       Water quality 9.      Rural vitality
4.       Air quality 10.    Animal welfare
5.       Soil quality 11.    Animal health
6.       Climate stability  

Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human well-being. They support directly or indirectly our survival and quality of life. They can be categorized in four main types:

  • Provisioning services i.e. products obtained from ecosystems such as food, fresh water, wood, fibre, genetic resources and medicines.
  • Regulating services i.e. the benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes such as climate regulation, natural hazard regulation, water purification and waste management, pollination or pest control.
  • Habitat services i.e.  ecosystems to provide habitat for migratory species and maintain the viability of gene-pools.
  • Cultural services i.e. non-material benefits that people obtain from ecosystems such as spiritual enrichment, intellectual development, recreation and aesthetic values.