The trouble is - as we see in page Land, we cannot easily control land use, because most land is owned by somebody who may not have the same idea. There are not simple solutions, as a lot depends on climate and state of the soil, but also the economic social and environmental impacts. Nevertheless, 'land use' is a major issue that needs to be addressed, as we can do very little without 'land' and there will be increasing demands put on it.
See Look at the Land for comprehensive views of NW England and how land use could be different.
Prof Sir Ian Boyd thinks half the nation's farmland should be transformed into woodlands and natural habitats to fight the climate crisis - in effect, creating carbon sinks in the uplands to absorb water and prevent flooding downstream. He says farmers are potentially "sitting on a gold mine" in terms of the payments they could receive for growing trees and helping to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We need a large, radical transformation and we need to do it quickly," he says. Gov Budget 2020 pledges £640m to Nature for Climate Fund - what that means
Land Use is a critical for tackling climate change according to IPPC Report (Aug 19). They say:"Climate change is putting an increased pressure on land resources and hampering its ability to sustain growing human populations. The special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also says that keeping global warming below 2 ºC can only be achieved by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food."the IPCC report takes a whole system view across climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, land management, and food security, with detailed recommendations for involving people and communities in responding to the critical issues.
It draws attention to agriculture’s global impact on land use: how intensive agriculture depletes soil quality, releases carbon, methane and other pollutants such as synthetic nitrogen, causing long lasting and far reaching impacts and calls for systematic approaches to land management. (but note difficulties of this above)
Getting to the meat of the matter asks: "Does the IPCC say we need to eat less meat?" answering "In short, no. But then that’s not its job. The role of the IPCC is to assess evidence on the impact and future risks of climate change – in this case with regards to land use – and present options for adaption and mitigation in a global context." The report talks about reducing meat consumption, and that received most media attention. Yet they acknowledge that livestock in sustainable systems is key to climate adaption, by reintroducing pasture-fed livestock into arable rotations and regenerating carbon-sequestering grasslands.
There are two main shifts in land use. 1) From forest to pasture/ranch 2) From pasture/ranch to arable. Each halves life in soil.
It also sets out how to create and sustain the conditions to take substantial and sustainable actions – a message particularly relevant to our UK government. It talks about the importance of ‘joined up policy packages’, not single-issue silver bullet solutions. It also stresses the importance of real citizen participation – from choosing the metrics that matter, to the actions to prioritise. This requires "listening carefully to local intelligence, observing indigenous practices, for grounded insights into how ecosystems work, how they are changing and what’s needed to protect and restore them" (RSA summary). This involves the critical relationships between national and supranational strategies and building grass roots capacity and resilience; connecting bottom up and top down concerns, to strengthen the whole food systems for transformative and sustainable change.
RSA suggest "England needs a land use framework, to match the work happening in Scotland and Wales, which helps join up these complex and contested issues across government departments and also between national, regional or local concerns....A standing Land Use Commission – like the National Infrastructure Commission – could provide independent research and analysis, inclusive evidence gathering, proposals and mediation, for making land use decisions.
See more on 'What we can do'
National Trust are " developing a new model for supporting green land management". Numbers of small farms in decline. CPRE Uncertainty - does loss of small farms matter?
British Ecological Society in 'Finding the Common ground' agreed "There should be an agro-ecological approach to food production including biodiversity conservation. This should maintain land that is productive, rich in wildlife, culturally rich and accessible for the enjoyment of wider society without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
Landworker Alliance Productivity of small farms Many permaculture plots look – and are – good – in showing what our land is capable of. However we have seen through the Bittersweet Brexit book, we can produce food relatively easily. What is difficult is producing it and making a living while doing so. Many alternative initiatives do not factor in labour – which is often voluntary when making new initiatives, or subsidised.