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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Protecting Farmland Pollinators: Whole Farm Scorecard - Experiences and Recommendations

Kavanagh, S.; Phelan, N.; Rodriguez-Gasol, N.; O', Brien, S.; Stout, J.C.; Fitzpatrick, Ú.


Protecting Farmland Pollinators is about identifying small actions that farmers can take that will allow biodiversity to coexist within a productive farming system. Farmers in Ireland recognise the importance of pollinators, but farmland has experienced wide-scale loss of wild pollinators over the last fifty years. By working closely with 40 farmers, management practices that benefit bees and hoverflies on Irish farmland were identified, and a whole farm pollinator scoring system was developed. Using a whole farm pollinator scorecard, farmers receive 'pollinator points' each year based on the amount and quality of pollinator friendly habitat maintained and/or created and, each year, farmers receive a results-based payment that relates to the points. Irish farms have great potential to improve both the quantity and quality of biodiversity friendly habitats without negatively impacting on farm productivity. Thirty-one farmers increased their score between year one and year three of the results-based payment and four farms more than tripled their score. The median whole farm pollinator score for the 40 farms increased from 25,696 in year one to 33,572 in year two (31% increase), to, 40,211 pollinator points in year three (56% increase). Each farm type (beef, dairy, mixed and arable) increased their median score over the three years and dairy and arable farms showed the largest increase. This project has helped farmers better understand and engage with nature on their land and has created a measurable system for improving habitats for biodiversity on farms that is accessible to all and has the potential to be rolled out on a wider scale.


Bees; Biodiversity; Farmland Pollinators; Results Based Payments

Published in

Journal of Pollination Ecology
2023, Volume: 34, pages: 312-328 Publisher: Enviroquest Ltd

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