Randal Plunkett has given 750-acres of former agricultural land back to nature for rewilding.
He is the owner of Dunsany Castle in Co Meath, which encompasses 1,700-acres, 1,000-acres of which he has devoted to tillage production.
In a video – which Farming for Nature released – he explained that until recently, it was one of the largest cattle farms in the country.
But “now in recent years, we decided to try something different, which led us to bring in a concept, which was new at the time, which is now becoming the buzzword, rewilding.”
“Off the back of rewilding, we started seeing a huge increase in species, plants and things that had not been here for my lifetime. We started having woodpeckers, pine martins, and badgers returning after so many years of being gone.”
He added that the whole place has become a carbon sink, and the farm has partnered with industry stakeholders to study rewilding as a concept to fight climate change.
He farms on the principle that everything grows naturally, with the belief that “the land will fix itself, the grass grows and naturally dies back down into the soil, so we are always creating that circle of life of replenishment and flowering”.
The farm has created habitats, while good grass growth has created covers for all types of grounding birds, insects, butterflies, native Blackbee, deer and hares, with a sole focus on wild animals.
Moreover, he said the farm is trying to create forest tunnels along borders and roadways, where planting native tree species creates hedgerows for habitats and a buffer zone from noise and light pollution.
“The idea is that if we protect and turn this place into an oasis. We want to try to minimise as much of the human damage as possible, so we can have a healthier animal kingdom and a healthier natural system here,” he added.
“Not everybody can do what I am doing, nor do I want everyone to do what I am doing. I am merely approaching it from the most extreme, so we can get the best data, and off that, we can try different things.”
“There is not one kind of rewilding, so experiment. The best part about rewilding is that nature does most of the work. Try a little something or leave a little piece and see what happens.”
“See if your land gets better, and maybe it will or will not. But, be part of that conversation,” he concluded.