IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Farming for Conservation of the Upland Landscape and Biodiversity in the Burren


  • Thomas van Rensburg
  • Hugh Kelley
  • Lava Yadav

    (Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway)


The Burren landscape which stands out as one of the most magnificent managed landscapes in all of Europe has recently come under threat due to a shift in farm management practices. As a result of evolving market trends and social structures, traditional farming methods are being replaced by more conventional/commercial practices and in some cases a gradual abandonment of the lands for off farm income sources is occurring. Agri-environmental schemes such as the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS) with its generic farm management prescriptions have not proved to be effective in conserving this landscape along with its natural and cultural values. The BurrenLIFE initiative which has been experimenting on 20 farms over the last five years have targeted their efforts specifically on the Burren region to find the best scientific practices required for farming for conservation. In this study we investigate whether the farming practices recommended by BurrenLIFE project (BLP) are economically viable in providing a desirable public good. This work employs a survey based valuation technique (Choice Experiments) as well as a relatively new valuation approach (using a prediction technique) to estimate the value of some of the positive externalities generated by the BurrenLIFE management practices. Along with the positive externalities, the multiplier effect related to tourism is estimated and incorporated into a Land Portfolio Allocation (LPA) model to examine the effect of various policies and subsidies on the farming practices of the 20 BurrenLIFE farms (‘Burren 20 farms’). Our results indicate that even with the most conservative reported willingness to pay from survey data, the rate of return on government support for these systems is no less than 235%. However, we also find that these farming practices are sensitive to the various government and BurrenLIFE subsidies to the farms; thus highlighting the importance of these payments in encouraging farmers to farm for conservation.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas van Rensburg & Hugh Kelley & Lava Yadav, 2009. "Farming for Conservation of the Upland Landscape and Biodiversity in the Burren," Working Papers 0153, National University of Ireland Galway, Department of Economics, revised 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:nig:wpaper:0153

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2009
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Revised version, 2009
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nig:wpaper:0153. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Srinivas Raghavendra). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.