Resilient Farming North
Due to their high levels of soil fertility, our lowlands are characterised by highly intensive agriculture and low woodland cover. Semi natural lowland grasslands have been replaced by improved grasslands and lowland peatlands have been converted to agriculture. Historically, the drive for greater productivity, particularly post World War 2 and influenced by successive agricultural polices, has led to greater intensification and a system characterised by high flood risk and poor water quality, spoil loss and biodiversity decline. Future political and economic drivers may mean there is a need for farmers to more openly compete on the international market. This along side demand for land for other uses may drive the need for farmers to increase efficiency or productivity further.
Farmers must be supported to do so sustainably. This concept aims to support sustainable, productive and nature friendly farming in our lowlands. It will utilise on farm nature recovery interventions and integrated/regenerative farming approaches such as improved soil management, crop rotation, creating buffer strips, wetland creation and the planting of hedgerows. All of which enhance farm productivity and efficiency. Encouraging sustainable land use will allow lowland peatland restoration. Natural Flood Management will also pay a key role in improving water quality and reducing flooding.
The following references were drawn on in the development of this investable concept:
Morris J., Graves, A., Angus, A., Hess, T., Lawson, C., Camino, M., Truckell, I. and Holman, I. (2010). Restoration of Lowland Peatland in England and Impacts on Food Production and Security. Report to Natural England. Cranfield University, Bedford.