Gaeltacht residents in west Donegal have set up a committee to examine a plan to turn their communities into a Special Protected Area under a European directive to protect birds.
Residents have already met Department of Environment representatives to oppose the move which affects the Glendowam and Derryveagh mountains.
Residents are furious that they were only told of the plans by post two months ago.
Maps included in the literature show the SPA covers a vast area from Annagry to Rannafast, with the aim to protect rare species of birds.
Among those whose lands are affected is Eamon Mac Giolla Bhride – although he says the meeting with rangers from the Department was positive.
He says local people want to preserve birds but they are worried that they will lose future rights to build on their lands without any compensation whatsoever.
Birds covered by the proposed plans include the peregrine falcon, the merlin, golden plovers, the dunlin and the red-throat diver. The latter is particularly rare in Ireland.
An initial rejection of the plan by residents has been rejected by the Department.