Minister of State Killeen Announces International Conference on Farming for Conservation
Released on: January 22, 2008, 4:25 am
Press Release Author: Mark Dunphy/Dunphy PR
Press Release Summary: IRELAND, 22nd January 2008 - The Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Mr. Tony Killeen TD, today announced that a major conference on farming for conservation is to be held at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, County Clare next month.
Press Release Body: Guest speakers at the February 24-27 event, \'Farming for Conservation - Supporting the Future\' will include Minister for the Environment and Heritage John Gormley and independent experts on the issue.
The Conference was launched today by Minister Killeen and The Burren Life Project, which was established in 2005 to develop a new model for sustainable agriculture in the Burren.
Speaking at the offices of the European Commission in Dublin, the Minister said that the main focus of the conference would be the preservation of the unique Burren district.
Minister Killeen spoke of the ecological dangers to the Burren region.
"The landscape and flora which can be seen there are the result of thousands of years of farming and human activity where man has lived and worked in close partnership with nature. This has resulted in a unique landscape with a rich flora and fauna and a remarkable archaeological heritage. In recent times, however, modern farming practices have led increasingly to abandonment of the land and this has had adverse consequences for nature conservation and the preservation of archaeological monuments", he explained.
The Minister continued, "Increasingly, grazing by livestock is declining as farming practices change, resulting in a growing problem of encroachment by scrub on the landscape. This results in a loss of the biodiversity of plant and animal life, including some of the rare flora for which the area is renowned, and also obscures and damages the many archaeological monuments."
Since 2004, the European Commission and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have funded and supported the Burren LIFE Project, which provides scientific research, advice and limited funding to farmers.
"This support invaluable promotes environmentally sustainable farming and livestock practices, including scrub clearance and the repair of stone walls which, through the centuries, have played a role in assisting agriculture in the area", said Minister Killeen
The Minister added that the upcoming conference would be an important milestone for the future of the Burren.
He commented, "The conference will be an important step in developing a model for sustainable agriculture in the Burren - a model which would support conservation farming practices, protect habitats, including Special Areas of Conservation designated under the EU Habitats Directive, and ensure that farmers are supported to continue to farm the Burren."
Minister Killeen said he was very glad that the Department was centrally involved in a major project to reverse these trends and conserve the landscape of the Burren. He also expressed the Government's great appreciation to the Commission and the project partners.
"I would like to thank the project partners Teagasc and the Burren branch of the Irish Farmers Association for their strong, generous and consistent support for the project, including, in the case of Teagasc, the secondment of a full-time scientific adviser", concluded Minister Killeen.
Notes to Editor: - For further information please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 00353868534900 or email@example.com - High resolution image of Minister Killeen available on request
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