Ag-Biota: Monitoring, Functional Significance and Management for the Maintenance and Economic Utilisation of Biodiversity in the Intensively Farmed Landscape

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Resource or Project Abstract

Agriculture accounts for about 62% of Ireland?s land area. Due to the intensification of agricultural methods, there has been a drastic change in the farmed landscape since the second half of the last century, and a widely perceived decline in Irish biodiversity similar to that experienced across much of Western Europe. This integrated study, informally known as the Ag-Biota Project, was funded as a 5-year capability development? project starting in 2001, to develop capacity and expertise in biodiversity research within the context of agriculture. The Project had four specified objectives: 1. To develop research capacity and methodologies for biodiversity monitoring within agroecosystems 2. To identify and investigate key aspects of agricultural practice that influence biodiversity 3. To develop a better understanding of the benefits and utilisation of natural populations within agricultural production systems 4. To address fundamental ecological questions regarding the functional value of biological diversity.
The Ag-Biota Project set out to develop a greater understanding of the relationships between Irish
agriculture and biodiversity in its widest sense. At the start of the Project, relatively little work on this specific topic had been done. Even the question of specifying how to begin the process of monitoring and assessment of the sectoral impact of agriculture on biodiversity had not been addressed in an integrated way. The Ag-Biota Project has therefore focused very strongly on the generation of practical knowledge to inform REPS policy development, in addition to the acquisition of ecological knowledge and understanding regarding the intrinsic value of biodiversity in agricultural systems. Ag-Biota bird surveys also highlighted significant relationships between the ecological quality of field
boundaries, quantified by Field Boundary Evaluation and Grading System (FBEGS) scores (Collier and
Feehan, 2003), and bird species richness and diversity within the same field boundaries. In the surveys done at the original Ag-Biota monitoring sites, the total FBEGS Index score was found to be a useful indicator of total observed bird species richness in both the breeding and the winter season. These positive relationships were largely confirmed and elaborated on by the follow-up study of 50 commercial farm sites. In this much larger survey, a very strong link was found between the total FBEGS Index and both the species richness and Shannon diversity of bird populations in the same boundaries during the breeding season

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Gordon Purvis
University College Dublin
Senior Lecturer
College of Life Sciences School of Biology & Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Agriculture & Food Science Centre, University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Telephone: +353 1 716 2243
e-mail: gordon.purvis@ucd.ie

Prof. Thomas Bolger
University College Dublin
Professor at School of Biology & Environmental Science
School of Biology & Environmental Science, UCD Science Center, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Telephone: +353 1 7162330
e-mail: tom.bolger@ucd.ie

Dr. Tom Kennedy
Teagasc
Researcher
Teagasc Research Center, Oakpark, Carlow, Co. Carlow, Ireland
Telephone: +353 59 9170245
e-mail: tom.kennedy@teagasc.ie

Dr. John Breen
University of Limerick
Lecturer
Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Life Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Telephone: +353 61 202853
e-mail: john.breen@ul.ie

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_21_Purvis_Ag-Biota_syn_web.pdf  (3.24 Mb)
End of Project Report    STRIVE_21_Purvis_AgbiotaAppendix_epr.pdf  (0.51 Mb)
End of Project Report    STRIVE_21_Purvis_AgBiotaChapter1and2_epr.pdf  (13.57 Mb)
End of Project Report    STRIVE_21_Purvis_AgbiotaChapter3_epr.pdf  (2.69 Mb)
End of Project Report    STRIVE_21_Purvis_AgbiotaChapter4_epr.pdf  (8.03 Mb)
End of Project Report    STRIVE_21_Purvis_AgbiotaChapter5and6_epr.pdf  (3.44 Mb)
End of Project Report    STRIVE_21_Purvis_AgBiota_epr.pdf  (25.71 Mb)
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_21_Purvis_AgBiota_syn_prn.pdf  (5.5 Mb)
Att 9    AgBiota-Sites-Map.bmp   (1.8 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Purvis, G. Bolger, T. Kennedy, T. Breen, J.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationAg-Biota: Monitoring, Functional Significance and Management for the Maintenance and Economic Utilisation of Biodiversity in the Intensively Farmed Landscape
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=f0314697-6c16-102c-9c91-0a68ec663af0
Unique Identifierf0314697-6c16-102c-9c91-0a68ec663af0
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2017-05-24

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Purvis, G. Bolger, T. Kennedy, T. Breen, J.   "Ag-Biota: Monitoring, Functional Significance and Management for the Maintenance and Economic Utilisation of Biodiversity in the Intensively Farmed Landscape". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resource?id=f0314697-6c16-102c-9c91-0a68ec663af0 (Last Accessed: 2017-05-24)

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL http://erc.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=108
Resource KeywordsAg-BIOTA Biodiversity REPS ecological agriculture landscape farming farmed habitats
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2001-CD/B1-M1
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeBiodiversity
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Public-Open
Limitations on the use of this ResourceIn the event of obtaining access to datasets corresponding to this resource any datasets, data, or information resources being used in a journal article or other means of publication the original authors should be informed of this usage and an appropriate acknowledgement or citation is included within the published article. The EPA advise that this acknowledgement should take one of the following forms dependent upon how heavily the published work relates to the downloaded data: * Co-Authorship(s) for the original author(s)* Written acknowledgement within the body of the article* Written acknowledgement by means of the inclusion of a bibliography entry which clearly cites the original authors.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 9
Project Start Date Thursday 1st March 2001 (01-03-2001)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Friday 1st March 2002 (01-03-2002)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 31st December 2008 (31-12-2008)
Published on SAFERFriday 27th March 2009 (27-03-2009)
Date of Last EditFriday 27th March 2009 at 16:09:01 (27-03-2009)
Datasets or Files Updated On Friday 27th March 2009 at 16:09:01 (27-03-2009)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
The current Project's survey of 50 commercial farm sites, totalling 2,577.1 ha in south-east Ireland, indicates that about 15% of land on such farms (7.83 ha per farm) is currently maintained as ?non-cropped? habitat, including an extensive network of hedgerows, accounting for approximately 9% of the total surveyed land area, or about 9 km/km2. This Project therefore made use of a number of pre-existing grassland husbandry experiments with a formally replicated design, which were available at the Teagasc Grange and Johnstown Castle Research Centres, to assess the likely influence of specific grassland husbandry practices on biological diversity.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
This integrated study, informally known as the "Ag-Biota" Project, was funded as a 5-year capability development project starting in 2001, to develop capacity and expertise in biodiversity research within the context of agriculture. Approximately 80% (3.4 million ha) of agricultural land in Ireland is devoted to grass-based farming systems,including grazed pasture and the production of grassland forage (hay and silage). In comparison, nongrass arable crops comprise only about 9% (0.4 million ha) of agricultural land use. The intensification of grassland management through changes in grazing, fertiliser usage and other chemical inputs, has led to widespread landscape degradation and a loss of biodiversity across Europe.
Supplementary Information
** End of Project Report ** - The end of project report is available in it's entire form in PDF format. The download size is 25MB - For convenience we have split the file into separate chapter which may provide a quicker download if you do not require the full report.

Presentations from the AG-BIOTA conference 2005 are available on http://www.ucd.ie/agbiota/action/news.htm

Ag-Biota Conference: Biodiversity in the Farmed Landscape: Conclusions and Outcomes of the Completed Project - Friday 27th March, 2009 (9.30 am - 4.00 p.m.), Hilton Hotel , Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Links To Other Related Resources
  http://www.ucd.ie/agbiota/index.htm (Opens in a new window)

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