Aside from Burrenbeo Trust which is an independent landscape charity working for the future sustainable management of the Burren, there are other organisations working in the region. Who are they and what are their remits?
The BurrenLife Programme is an EU/Dept of Agriculture funded project. It has developed over a number of years and evolved through various forms during this time. The success of the programme has been based on the input of a lot of people and organisations over a long time, and required a great deal of patience, commitment and mutual respect on the part of all those involved as they pursued a shared vision for the future of the Burren and its people.
The programme is built on Brendan Dunford’s PhD research project entitled ‘The Impact of Agricultural Practices on the Natural Heritage of the Burren’ (2001) which highlighted the important role that farming plays in supporting the rich biodiversity and cultural heritage of the Burren, and also the worrying breakdown in traditional farming systems and the habitats dependent on them.
BurrenLife works with 160 farmers on 15,000ha of prime Burren habitat and works in a very creative way to support and incentivise farmers to maintain and enhance the habitats of the Burren, effectively tackling many of the issues identified in the original research project over a decade previously. More information on www.burrenlife.com
Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark is a Clare County Council & EU supported project. It supports people and organisations to work together towards a cared-for landscape, a better understood heritage, more sustainable tourism, a vibrant community and strengthened livelihoods. The Geopark’s ultimate aim is to spearhead sustainable tourism that develops and promotes the area as an encounter-rich destination, strengthens the local economy and improves the visitor experience.
The Geopark received EU LIFE funding to work on achieving a collaborative balance between the tourism interests and conservation needs of the Geopark region. The project began in October 2012 and will be completed by December 2017. The Geopark LIFE Project aims to strengthen the integration of tourism and natural heritage, reconciling tourism development with conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage in the Burren region. The policies relating to tourism and conservation, both nationally and internationally will be analysed and recommendations on the integration of these policies, to support the integration of tourism and conservation actions on the ground, will be made. More information on www.burrengeopark.ie
Burren Ecotourism Network
The Burren Ecotourism Network is a network of tourism businesses that work on a voluntary basis but is supported by the Geopark project above. These businesses share the vision of establishing the Burren as a premier internationally-recognised sustainable tourism region, ensuring the future economic and social growth and sustainable development of its communities, environment and heritage.
The Burren Ecotourism Network has set the Geopark Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism as a minimum level of training and accreditation that each business wishing to join the network must achieve. The Code of Practice includes 10 key points of environmental good practice which include waste, water and energy and waste-water management as well as conservation, interpretation and visitor communication. The Geopark has partnered with the Burren Ecotourism Network to develop the region as a sustainable tourism destination. More information on www.burren.ie