Posted on Mon 14 August 2023 in Projects

About The Project

Achieving Ireland’s climate and environmental objectives poses a significant challenge to policy makers, land managers and other stakeholders. Land-use pathways that achieve a sustainable “net-zero” goal will require significant land-use change. During the SeQUEsTER project, this was modelled at the national level, with a significant degree of aggregation. The results showed the scale of change necessary, however, it is important from an environmental, social, economic and cultural perspective that we understand what this change may look like at a much more localised level.

The EIR-Flux project aims to identify a broad range of appropriate mitigation options at the catchment level and develop a detailed modelling approach utilising the GOBLIN framework developed in the SeQUEsTER project. The project will attempt to expand the portfolio of alternative and complementary land-uses modelled in GOBLIN. In addition, this project also examines mitigation from multiple environmental perspectives. In other words, EIR-Flux will attempt to find pathways towards sustainability that meet multiple objectives related to GHG, air and water quality.

Initial work will focus on sub catchments within the Blackwater catchment in the Munster region. As this project has just begun, data is still being gathered and stakeholders are being contacted. Once local stakeholder engagement has commenced, a series of stakeholder workshops will be held to assist in the modelling of feasible mitigation options and alternative land-use options.

Modelling Approach

As with the national level GOBLIN model (C. Duffy et al., 2022b), GeoGOBLIN covers major emissions sources and sinks within AFOLU boundaries, but at the catchment level. Inital model coverage is for the blackwater catchment only, however, the database will be further exapanded to incorporate all major catchments. Further refactoring will also take place to incorporate the new National Landcover Map. Emissions and removals modelled at this level include CO2 fluxes to and from soils (mineral and organic) and forests, CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation and manure management, and wetlands. In addition, emissions from direct and indirect losses of nitrogen (N) from the housing of livestock, manure management and fertiliser application (grassland and cropland) in the form of N2O, ammonia (NH3) and dissolved forms (e.g. nitrate, NO3) (P. Duffy et al., 2022).


GeoGOBLIN retains the capabilities of the original GOBLIN model, but adds additional functionality such as spatially specific catchment level data, assessment of additional impact categories and integration of tier 3 forest stock change modelling capacity. GeoGOBLIN uses a mosaic of spatially specific datasets related to land cover and soil type. National level agricultural census data are used to derive catchment scale livestock numbers (CSO, 2020).

Additional environmental impact categories in the form of climate change, eutrophication and air quality for each scenario have also been integrated as well as the CBM-CFS3 model to the GeoGOBLIN modelling framework allows for the estimation of Tier 3 emissions/removals from forest cover, at the catchment scale (Kurz et al., 2009).

Further additionalities include:

  • A new cropland module
  • Greater disaggregation of the national livestock herd
  • System specific grassland utilisation rates
  • Scenario Ranking and prioritisation
  • Development as a python package


  • CSO, 2020. Census of Agriculture 2020 Detailed Results. Dublin, Ireland.

  • Duffy, C., Prudhomme, R., Duffy, B., Gibbons, J., O’Donoghue, C., Ryan, M., Styles, D., 2022b. GOBLIN version 1.0: a land balance model to identify national agriculture and land use pathways to climate neutrality via backcasting. Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss. 1–37. DOI

  • Duffy, P., Black, K., Fahey, D., Hyde, B., Kehoe, A., Monaghan, S., Murphy, J., Ryan, A.M., Ponzi, J., 2022. IRELAND’S NATIONAL INVENTORY REPORT 2022: GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS 1990 - 2020 REPORTED TO THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE. Dublin, Ireland

  • Kurz, W.A., Dymond, C.C., White, T.M., Stinson, G., Shaw, C.H., Rampley, G.J., Smyth, C., Simpson, B.N., Neilson, E.T., Trofymow, J.A., Metsaranta, J., Apps, M.J., 2009. CBM-CFS3: A model of carbon-dynamics in forestry and land-use change implementing IPCC standards. Ecol. Modell. 220, 480–504. DOI