NI Environment Link - Latest News NI Environment Link en-gb Andi Topping (NI Environment Link) (NI Environment Link) <![CDATA[ Armagh wood is music to the ears]]> (via The Woodland Trust)


Image by Dr Sally Walmsley

One hundred years ago a generation made an unimaginable sacrifice during the First World War.

Now, more than 100 landowners the length and breadth of the UK have joined with the Woodland Trust to create their own First World War memorial woods as a lasting tribute to those who lost lives and loved ones during the war.

From Nottingham to Newry, 130 new woodlands have been created, ranging in size from 10 hectares to a tiny tenth of a hectare. 

One of Northern Ireland’s nine memorial woods is springing to life thanks to composer and writer Dr Sally Walmsley.

With support from Forest Service and the Woodland Trust, Sally has transformed over 5 hectares of grassland into a thriving young woodland. The saplings – which  include oak, wild cherry, rowan, hazel and crab apple – are right at home in a quiet corner of nature at Edenaveys, just outside the city of Armagh.  

Gregor Fulton, the Woodland Trust’s estate and outreach manager, said: “The trees planted, throughout the UK, are a flourishing and lasting tribute to those who sacrificed so much during the First World War. 

“Landowners are changing landscapes and creating much–needed homes for wildlife. And, in this case, local people get to benefit too. Schoolchildren have already rolled up sleeves to help with the tree planting and try their hand at some music. Sally’s a musician and I know she has plans to open up the wood to various groups, with a focus on teaching and encouraging music and arts. It’s a heartening contrast to the sadness of war.”

Read more via The Woodland Trust…

Mon, 11 Jun 2018 11:40:49 +0100
<![CDATA[ Environment Fund 2019–2022 open]]>


The DAERA Environment Fund (EF) Strategic Strand is now open for
Pre–Applications from eligible applicants

DAERA administers the Environment Fund (EF) to support STRATEGIC projects in Northern Ireland contributing to 4 Environmental Impact Priority areas:

  • National, EU and International commitments and draft Programme for Government (Tiered)
  • Evidence and Coordination actions
  • Outdoor Recreation actions
  • Northern Ireland wide projects/strategic environmental engagement

The overarching Eligibility Criteria is: A single grant application may be submitted by not for profit organisations or councils which will deliver measurable key environmental outcomes at a Northern Ireland wide scale, sub–regional scale, river catchment scale, on or related to a designated site, or on EMFG owned/managed natural environment sites. Applicants can also receive funding as a partner helping to deliver specific outcomes identified in another organisation’s application. 

If you are seeking funding under the Strategic Strand from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022, with possible extension for one year you must submit a completed Pre–Application Form by the closing date.

Closing date for pre–application submission:

4pm Monday 23 JULY 2018

Any offers issued will initially be for funding provision for 2019–20. Funding for subsequent years will be dependent on a number of considerations including:

  • Decisions made on future Budget allocations to departments;
  • Successful delivery in 2019–20;
  • Any changes in priorities for delivery identified by the Northern Ireland Executive, Assembly and the Department.

An overview of the programme and the Pre–Application form is available from the DAERA grants website:

Information Meeting:

Friday 15 June 10am: Crawfordsburn Country Park Visitor Centre

Potential applicants to the Environment Fund Strategic Strand are invited to attend (a single representative for an organisation) and should confirm attendance by 4pm Wednesday 13 June by email to

The Environment Fund is always oversubscribed and the budget is limited. This should be recognised when you are applying for this funding. It is unlikely that organisations will receive more funding than they received previously under DAERA funding in 2018–19. Successful projects will be those which, alongside existing and other proposed activity, will most effectively help to achieve the priorities we have identified.

We strongly recommend that you discuss your project proposal with a member of DAERA staff prior to submitting a Pre–Application Form. Contact details can be provided by DAERA Environment Fund staff who can be contacted by email on or on 028 9056 9610.


The room at Crawfordsburn will be available from 1pm after the formal meeting if you wish to meet with other organisations or DAERA staff in attendance to discuss potential projects, priorities and partnerships. The café will be open.

Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:13:00 +0100
<![CDATA[ Wood Pasture & Parkland Network]]>  


The Wood Pasture and Parkland Network (WPPN) is a new national network of organisations working together to promote the value of wood pasture and parkland habitat. This precious, ancient habitat shaped by generations of people working in harmony with nature is home to many endangered species from bats and birds to deadwood insects and fungi. The WPPN shines a spotlight on this forgotten part of our landscape.

The WPPN has produced a series of five short, accessible and informative videos (funded by The Woodland Trust) to raise awareness of this ecologically rich yet overlooked habitat. The videos, available online via, introduce the ecological, historical and cultural aspects of wood pasture and parkland, and describe management advice for landowners to help maintain their key features.

Jeremy Dagley, the City of London Corporation’s Head of Conservation at Epping Forest (who also presents the videos) explains: “Wood pasture and parkland habitats combine big old trees and their full spreading crowns with open heaths and grasslands and all other ranges of vegetation in between. Wood pastures are especially rich in ancient and hollowing trees, each of which provides its own wealth of micro–habitats for hundreds of species. Many of these species are entirely dependent on these trees and the more open conditions in which they grow.”

“Trees grow an entirely different shape and structure if they have grown in the open, rather than in dense woodland. This structure makes them better at supporting wildlife and often means that they live a lot longer. These trees often with the help of people harvesting their wood can live out their full life potential. This, in turn, means they provide more of the rare habitat of natural wood decay. The last stages of this decay process are now so uncommon that many of the species that rely on it are at risk of extinction.”

Wood pasture and parkland, such as Epping Forest where parts of these videos were filmed, contain some of the oldest living trees in the country. The decaying wood habitats found across wood pasture sites inside these trees are home to many bats, birds, invertebrates, lichens and fungi. Invertebrates that rely on decaying wood are one of the most threatened ecological groups of invertebrates in Europe and yet are also critical, along with decaying wood fungi, to all wooded ecosystems. In fact, earlier this year the IUCN assessed the status of 700 European beetles that live on decaying wood and found that 18% (a fifth) are at risk of extinction due to a lack of this resource, for which traditional wood pasture and parkland sites are now the most important reserves.

Megan Gimber, Key Habitats Officer at PTES adds: “Wood pasture and parklands are positively teeming with life and are home to numerous rare and endangered species, which is why it’s so vital that they are preserved.

“Unlike other habitats such as ancient woodlands and meadows, there isn’t the public recognition of wood pasture and parkland, and the vital contribution to sustaining our wildlife they provide. Our conservation task is a greater challenge as a result, which is why we made this important series of videos.”

Suzanne Perry, Senior Specialist at Natural England concludes: “Wood pasture and parkland is currently under threat from a variety of factors including climate change, pollution, conversion to commercial forestry and tree disease.”

“Therefore, we are delighted to be involved in this partnership, which will help raise awareness of these special places. Natural England hope this new partnership will also contribute to securing a dynamic future for this incredibly rich and diverse habitat.”

Visit to watch the videos and to find out more information about the Wood Pasture and Parkland Network.

Thu, 24 May 2018 10:09:35 +0100