Burren farmer
© Burrenbeo Trust

Pilot Action A.11

Burren Model

Short summary of the mechanism

The Burren Model is a set of design principles for creating an incentive for farmers to improve the environmental health of their farm. This pilot action will explore the adaptability and scalability of the model by bringing together practitioners from the Burren with potential multipliers from other EU member states.

Description/objective of the model/tool

The Burren Model is a locally-targeted, farmer-centred, results-based approach to the management of private land - of high nature value-  for conservation. This pilot action will analyse key land-management challenges faced by owners of high-nature-value
farmland across Europe and the motivations of private land owners and users to engage in conservation. It will then assess the capacity of an adapted Burren model to meet some of these challenges and offer the right incentives. We will host a seminar for land conservation managers to discuss how such an adapted model could be applied to other regions in the EU, and report on findings and research gaps in order to promote the model more widely.


Implementation mechanism and process

The Burren model is best applied at a landscape scale. A local operational group with farming and environmental stakeholders is established. Conservation objectives are agreed upon, and research into any information gaps is carried out. A set of indicators to reflect habitat health is developed and tested, and payment structures are agreed upon. Farmers are then paid on the basis of their success in meeting the defined conservation objectives as represented by the ‘field scores’ while also, in some cases, availing of capital funding to address certain issues (eg removal of invasive species). Local support structures are also put in place to monitor impact and offer technical support to farmers.

Stakeholders involved

Burrenbei Trust, farmers, farm advisors, Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment, universities, potential multipliers from other EU member states


The Burren model has been developed over the past decade, initially through a LIFE-funded project (2005-2010). The pilot action will be implemented in 2018 and 2019.

Is the tool/model already being applied in another region? If so, where? How? Since when?

Aspects of the Burren model are being applied elsewhere. The most similar project is AranLIFE which is a LIFE funded project on the Aran Islands in western Ireland, working with farmers on all of these islands (since 2014) to sustain environmentally beneficial farming practices. The ‘results-based’ aspect of Burren model has been piloted through the RBAPS project with pilots in Ireland (Leitrim, Shannon Callows)and Spain (Navarra). A number of UK projects are also using elements of the Burren’s results-based approach. The locally-led, farmer-centered aspects of BurrenLIFE have informed the design of the Hen Harrier project in Ireland and a number of ‘locally-led’ projects funded by the Dept of Agriculture through ‘European Innovation Funding’ (RDP Article 35).

How much land is already conserved by the tool/model?

22,000ha (including 18,000ha of Annex I Habitat) in the Burren as well as associated projects elsewhere.

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Project partner responsible for its implementation

Charitéstraße 3
10117 Berlin

Burrenbeo Trust
Glebe House
Glebe Road