Senior vice-president of the World Wildlife Fund Jason Clay is passionate about increasing biodiversity and habitat improvement.

He told the Irish Farmers Journal that this is another income stream for farmers and noted that the unproductive land on farms could give an alternative source of profit.

Irish farmers have heard a lot about carbon trading in recent times and now there seems to be a market for habitats.

Clay said that companies are beginning to talk about financing habitat creation and improvement.

“Rabobank have started a programme to look at how to finance habitat and biodiversity and wildlife quarters,” he said.

Clay acknowledged that the full concept may be 10 to 15 years away, but stated “it’s coming to a bank near you” and added that this is something that the Irish Government could support to help maintain the green in the countryside and also create opportunities for tourism.