RBAPS in Ireland and Spain
About This Project
The Results-based Agri-environmental Pilot Scheme (RBAPS) was a pilot project to test agri-environment results-based payments for the enhancement of biodiversity on grasslands and in high nature value perennial crop mosaics. The project involved the development, implementation and reporting of a set of results-based agri-environment measures in three contrasting areas in the Atlantic and Mediterranean biogeographical zones of Ireland and Spain.
The three distinct areas are:
- Shannon Callows (IE), which is wholly covered by a large dual SAC/SPA, with a range of habitats and species associated with floodplain grasslands;
- Habitats of wet bocage lowland grassland areas (mostly undesignated) in County Leitrim (IE); and
- HNV mosaic landscape in the Mediterranean uplands of Navarra (ES).
The mosaic of land uses in the area of Navarra in Spain creates a landscape of high heterogeneity which is the support of a wide range of flora and fauna species. In order to maintain this mosaic farmed landscape the RBAPS in Spain focused on the main perennial crops present in the area: vineyards, olive groves and almond groves.
Species-rich hay meadow in Co. Leitrim, which depends on low intensity farming practices. The RBAPS in Leitrim is designed to reward farmers for the quality of their species-rich grasslands. The number and cover of indicator plant species are assessed as part of the scoring system, along with indicators for current habitat condition.
The rare purple-flowered Marsh pea flourishes on the meadows of Shannon Callows. It relies on the annual mowing of the meadows by the farmers to prevent scrub from growing over the meadows and to prevent strong, competitive plants from becoming dominant.
A Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) foraging along the river edge in the Shannon Callows. It is one of the wader species that is in the focus of the RBAP project in Ireland. Other species are: Curlew (Numenius arquata), Redshank (Tringa totanus) and Snipe (Gallinago gallinago).
In 2014 the European Commission (DG Environment) put out a call for projects to develop and implement pilot agri-environment schemes where the payments are related to concrete results on the ground (e.g. habitat quality, presence of indicator species) rather than solely being based on adherence to prescribed actions (e.g. grazing dates, livestock density limits).
Read more about the design of the project.
Download General Guidance Handbook: Step-by-step guide to designing results-based payment schemes (pdf-file).