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Environmental sciences (social aspects
The landscape of west Mayo, in North West Ireland, is dominated and shrouded by an extensive area, 3,539Km2, of blanket peat soils. The landscape and its habitats have multiple values associated with them including a source of peat for fuel, agriculture, forestry, conservation, tourism, biomass production, tourism, cultural and archaeological. Historically communities have relied on peat as a source of energy and in the 20th century the state harvested peat on an industrial scale to generate electricity. Biomass production using willow (Salix spp) on cutover blanket peat and extensive planting, on deep peat, of Picea sitchensis and Pinus contorta was part of the expansion of the Irish afforestation programme. In recent years a long fought dispute over bringing gas to land from the Corrib gas field has highlighted the issues of how locals and outsiders react to the actions of multinationals and the state in the exploitation of natural resources. This study examines the future of wind power in this landscape. Ireland's first wind farm is located in Co Mayo but today the county generates from wind a fraction of what it could potentially generate. Mayo county council, the local authority, has identified areas it considers to be priority and preferred sites in the west Mayo landscape for the location of wind farms. Much of this area is within the blanket peat landscape.
The work seeks to answer the question are the values and futures that landowners hold for the landscape different to those held by landscape professionals and resource managers and to what extent do the expert values and futures for this landscape agree.
Boyle, K. (2015). Landscape values and wind generation in west Mayo, Ireland European Conference of the Landscape Research Group Energy, Landscapes Perception, Planning, Participation and Power,/i>, September 16th – 18th, Dresden, Germany doi:10.21427/5tvy-8b16