The AranLIFE project is a demonstration project operating on the three Aran Islands over a 4 year period from 2014-2017, co-funded under the EU LIFE Nature programme. It seeks to develop and demonstrate the best conservation management practices of local farmers on the designated Natura 2000 sites of the three islands (protected habitats for flora and fauna of European importance). The project focuses on farming activities on the islands within the Natura designated sites, harnessing local farming knowledge and experience with the scientific expertise of other project partners to overcome some of the challenges of island farming and to improve the conservation status of the designated sites. Information on the Natura designated sites of the three islands can be found at:
Further details on the LIFE programme can be found at
The project will include work on the following:
the development of farm management plans
profiling the grazing potential
improving access to land parcels by clearing boreens
scrub and bracken control within fields
improving access to water for stock
nutrient management of grasslands
monitoring the impact of these actions
Other actions will focus on education and public awareness and will include:
the development of a website and media campaign
public information meetings
educational activities focusing on schools.
The project has committed to covering up to 1,011 hectares of certain priority types of farmland habitats (limestone pavement, orchid rich calcareous grasslands and machair).
The total budget for the AranLIFE project is €2,597,685. A total of 75% of the project funding will come from the European Union’s LIFE+ funding programme for the environment while the remaining 25% of the funding is being contributed by the following partners:
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht http://www.ahg.gov.ie/en/Islands/
The Heritage Council http://www.heritagecouncil.ie/home/
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/
Galway County Council http://www.galway.ie/en/
Fáilte Ireland http://www.failteireland.ie/
A. Preparatory actions, elaboration of management plans and/or of action plans:
A.1 Project Start Up-project team, infrastructure.
A.2 Stakeholder consultation and site selection.
A.3 Farm Management Plans.
A.4 Development of complementary feedstuffs to rectify mineral deficiencies associated with grazing pastureland within the project area.
A.5 Profiling the grazing potential of Aran pastureland to achieve favourable conservation status of priority habitats.
A.6 Collation of Project information on appropriate databases.
C. Concrete conservation actions:
C.1 Improve access to land parcels to facilitate management including grazing.
C.2 Scrub and bracken control management.
C.3 Enhancement of livestock management facilities through the provision of a water infrastructure.
C.4 Implementation of optimal grazing plans.
C.5 Purchase and distribution of necessary health supplements for grazing animals.
C.6 Nutrient management of priority grasslands.
D. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions:
D.1 Evaluation of the impact of project actions on conservation status of priority habitats.
D.2 Evaluation of the socio-economic impact of project actions.
D.3 Evaluation of the agricultural impact of project actions.
D.4 Annual payment to Aran Islands' farmers for additional works associated with project monitoring.
E. Public awareness and dissemination of results:
E.1 Website Development.
E.2 Media Campaign.
E.3 Educational Programme including Public Information meetings.
E.4 Demonstration Farms.
E.5 Conferences, seminars and workshops.
E.6 Project Reporting.
E.7 Publications and presentations.
E.8 Information Sheets, best practice guides addressing stakeholders.
E.9 Information material, notice boards addressing general public
E.10 Provide advice to government authorities on supports needed for agri-environment activities on the island post 2013.
F. Overall project operation and monitoring of the project progress:
F.1 Establishment and operation of Project Steering Committee and Advisory Group.
F.2 Project office operation and personnel management.
F.3 Financial Management.
F.4 Networking with other projects including LIFE projects
F.5 Independent audit.
F.6 AfterLIFE Conservation Plan
Projects of Interest:
LIFE Monti della Tolfa: www.lifemontidellatolfa.it
Machair LIFE Scotland: www.machairlife.org.uk
LIFE+ MIL’OUV, France: www.cenlr.org/valoriser/projets/milouv
RBAPS, Spain and Ireland: www.efncp.org/news/news20141204.php
Magnificent Meadows Project, Fermanagh: www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk/conserve-restore/county-fermanagh5
Details of all LIFE projects can be found at: