Management of Ireland’s mountain landscapes will benefit more from community partnerships involving farmers and hill-walkers than from “top-down” legislation, a new report to Government has said.
The report by the Irish Uplands Forum recommends a "small amount" of seed funding and a large dose of "moral support" to develop projects similar to those already piloted in Kerry's MacGillycuddy's Reeks and at Mount Gable in Co Galway.
The report by the voluntary group was presented to Minister of State for Rural Development Ann Phelan to mark United Nations International Mountain Day.
Hill-farmers, hill-walkers, tourism and outdoor sports providers, along with rural partnership and community development activists, contributed to the report through their participation in a conference hosted by the forum in May.
Naturalists, ecologists, outdoor education interests, local authorities, rural recreational officers, farm and forestry advisers and rural and agricultural policymakers were also involved, according to forum chair and mountaineer Frank Nugent.
The conference agreed on a Dungarvan Declaration, which refers to the vital benefits to society, such as water supplies and biodiversity of a landscape maintained by generations of hill-farmers.