People working in nature conservation are not engaged enough with farmers and landowners.

Barry O’Donoghue of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), a scientist from a farming background, made the comment at a land use conference in Co Clare on Thursday, hosted by environmental charity Hometree.

“I think sometimes scientists involved in nature conservation sites tend not to be as engaged with landowners as they should be,” he said.

O’Donoghue added that habitat improvement will primarily be made possible by the work people do on the ground and not that of scientists.

“It’s not science that is going to save these species or habitats, by and large.

“To a degree it’s very much required and necessary, but it’s people who are going to save these habitats and species. So we need to work with them,” he said.