Commonage GIS Dataset

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Commonage Framework Planning was a joint initiative between the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture and Food. Teams combining agricultural and ecological skills to assess the sustainable use of these areas have surveyed all known commonage areas in Ireland.

To date in excess of 4,400 plans have been prepared, covering more than 440,000 hectares. Where necessary, destocking (removal of some of the stock kept on commonage) was prescribed to ensure recovery of the vegetation. These plans have been implemented through REPS, AEOS and the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme, as relevant, from 1999 - 2012.

A commitment has been made to monitor the condition of commonages to demonstrate, in particular, that initiatives are delivering recovery in overgrazed areas and that undergrazing is not becoming a problem. Ireland also has obligations to monitor the state of SACs containing uplands and peatlands in non-commonage areas. This involves a reassessment of habitats in commonage areas, some of which were assessed as early as 1999, and also non-commonage areas.

Planning teams comprising both agriculturalists and environmentalists have been trained and re-surveys have been completed in commonage blocks in Counties Mayo, Galway, Cork, Kerry, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Tipperary, Limerick and Louth between 2004 and 2010. Monitoring reports have been forwarded to the EU Commission highlighting the findings and trends. Additional survey work in 2007 focussed on Counties Mayo, Donegal and Kerry. In 2008, all commonage that had a destocking of greater than 50% were re-assessed.

In this context GIS files were set up to describe: - Destocking rates assigned to Agricultural Units - Habitat types and damage categories assigned to Agricultural Sub-Units and - Locations of Base-Stations and habitat types / damage categories recorded at these stations

A review of all the Commonage Framework Plans, setting sustainable stocking rates, will conclude in 2012 and will be communicated to all shareholders by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. This information is not contained here.

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