Sustainable Uplands Summary Presentation


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Summary of findings from the Sustainable Uplands project, funded by the Rural Economy & Land Use programme and ESRC

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  • Other “ecosystem services” provided by the hills, although important, may be more difficult to value. These include: Habitats for wildlife Cultural heritage The appearance of the landscape
  • Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? These questions, from the title of Gauguin’s famous painting, have been asked in many guises through the ages, by people seeking to better understand their world and their future
  • Throughout history, we have tried to predict what will happen to us. But despite replacing crystal balls with computer models, the complexity of ecological systems and the unpredictability of the people who interact with them, means we are still groping in the dark. We have a nasty habit of using models to make very precise predictions which turn out to be precisely wrong.
  • So if we can’t really tell what the future will hold by predicting, there’s surely nothing wrong with dreaming? We all dream about what we want the future to hold for us, so why not dream about our ideal future for the environment around us? Well, I think there a few difficulties with this approach: First, most people don’t really dream that big – there is a lot of evidence out there to suggest that when you ask people what they want uplands to be like in future, they say: “ like this ” Some people do dream big though, and would make big changes if they had the power to determine the future. However, these people are in the minority, so would their visions be unpopular with the majority, if they came to pass? And not all these big ideas are complementary, so how do we decide who’s vision we should be aiming for? And finally, all of this assumes that the people who do the dreaming actually have the power to make their dreams come true (and I think you’ll agree with me that sadly, this isn’t always the case)
  • But if we are prepared to use our imagination however, it may still be possible to prepare for what lies ahead: “the best way to predict the future is to invent it” (Kay, 1989: 1). By telling stories about what the future might hold, it is possible to build up plausible scenarios that we can prepare for. By developing scenarios, we can explore what different people’s visions might be like, and be prepared for whoever’s dream comes true. We can also prepare for the nightmare scenarios and surprises that are an inevitable part of life. By being prepared, we don’t simply have to cope with whatever gets thrown at us; we are in a much stronger position to potentially exploit and harness future change. To quote Malcolm X (1925-1965), “the future belongs to those who prepare for it today”.
  • Although you may think an intensification of land use and management in uplands is unlikely, it is nonetheless plausible, and something we need to consider. But it is perhaps more likely future land use policy will continue along the current trajectory towards increasing extensification of land use and management in uplands. Many of us like to think of the uplands as Britain’s last wilderness. But many few of us appreciate the amount of management that’s necessary to maintain our uplands the way they are. The uplands need to be actively managed to sustain the services they currently provide. If they were left without human management, this could bring further problems:   Scrub and forest would encroach on many moorlands, changing their character completely Peat soils and their store of carbon could become vulnerable to erosion and wildfire So we need to beware of a policy trajectory that could potentially take us too far the other way.
  • In order to explore these views and relationships in more depth, we conducted a Social Network Analysis. This first network diagram shows communication ties between people from five of the main stakeholder groups in the Peak District, and shows they are highly connected: Each dot (or “node”) represents an individual stakeholder Arrows connecting stakeholders show those who communicated with others in the network And two-way arrows indicate when this relationship was reciprocated Stakeholders depicted by large dots interact with a large number of other people in the network These people are likely to be able to act as bridges between different parts of the network By involving these individuals in our process, they may spread ideas, knowledge and attitudes to others in their wider social network The next figure shows communication ties between people who communicated on a monthly or more frequent basis, and you can see immediately that the network begins to break down: Three cliques emerge Recreation forms its own clique, water and conservation another, grouse moor managers and agriculture form a third And there is infrequent communication between the cliques This suggests there is a danger that recreation groups may get marginalised in our dialogue, so their engagement needs to be actively sought This final diagram shows people who shared views about upland management. You can see that despite infrequent contact between cliques, and apparently polarised views on burning (that we heard in interviews), there was considerable overlap between people’s views on upland management (in general) and the views of those they knew from other groups: This suggests to us that there is enough common ground for different stakeholder groups to participate in meaningful dialogue over areas of mutual concern in our future research
  • We think that the efficiency with which agricultural payments deliver ecosystem services could be enhanced by linking the two more effectively in a spatially targeted scheme that incentivises cross-boundary collaboration for the provision of certain services We have suggested a framework for how such a scheme could work in practice, which we think could be piloted in a peatland National Park.
  • Private financing of peatland restoration for carbon and other benefits by companies who wish to become carbon neutral, but are unable to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source, could supplement the cost of existing agri-environmental schemes (by at least 20%) However to facilitate this, significant policy changes would be necessary at an international and national level to generate tradeable credits for voluntary or compliance carbon markets
  • There have been calls for an integrated, national strategy for peatlands that can co-ordinate policy development and delivery across Government A national research, policy and practice network or partnership could help exchange knowledge and create a shared agenda for understanding and sustaining peatland ecosystems, human communities and the ecosystem services they provide under current and future land use and climate Effective communication to the public about the importance of peat habitats could also raise public awareness of these vital habitats, and help to achieve more sustainable management through altered consumption patterns (in particular peat products)
  • Sustainable Uplands Summary Presentation

    1. 1. relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme
    2. 2. Plan <ul><li>The project </li></ul><ul><li>How can we prepare for the future? </li></ul><ul><li>What might the future hold for uplands? </li></ul><ul><li>What would this mean for ecosystem services? </li></ul><ul><li>What can we do? </li></ul>All photos and video have copyright permission for use in this presentation 04/22/11 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme
    3. 3. 1. Sustainable Uplands Project
    4. 4. <ul><li>7 years (ending 2012) </li></ul><ul><li>Sites: Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Galloway </li></ul><ul><li>£1.1M from RELU and ESRC </li></ul><ul><li>29 researchers: Universities of Aberdeen, Leeds, St Andrews, Durham, Sheffield & others with Moors for the Future & Heather Trust </li></ul>Working with people in uplands to better anticipate and respond to future change
    5. 5. <ul><ul><li>Inputs to policy processes e.g. via Defra’s upland policy review, CRC’s upland inquiry, Foresight, NEA, Scottish Government Rural Land Use Study, IUCN peatland programme and consultation responses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>>£800K for 17 projects applying project outputs e.g. Yorkshire Water, Natural England, DEFRA, Premier Waste, United Utilities, Lancashire Wildlife Trust </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. The Sustainable Uplands team: University of Aberdeen: Dr Mark Reed Prof Steve Redpath University of St Andrews: Dr Ioan Fazey Dr Anna Evely Macaulay Institute: Mark Sutter Mike Rivington Red = RELU 4 th Phase Project University of Durham: Prof Tim Burt Dr Gareth Clay Dr Fred Worrall Dr Rob Dunford University of Sheffield: Dr Christina Prell Wirtschafts University, Austria: Dr Sigrid Stagl International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria : Jan Sendzimir Moors for the Future partnership (Aletta Bonn) The Heather Trust (Simon Thorp) University of Leeds: Prof Joe Holden Dr Klaus Hubacek Dr Nesha Beharry-Borg Ms Jan Birch Ms Sarah Buckmaster Dr Dan Chapman Dr Pippa Chapman Dr Stephen Cornell Dr Andy Dougill Dr Evan Fraser Dr Jenny Hodgson Dr Nanlin Jin Dr Brian Irvine Prof Mike Kirkby Dr Bill Kunin Mr Oliver Moore Dr Claire Quinn Dr Brad Parrish Dr Lindsay Stringer Dr Mette Termansen
    7. 7. Uplands: many things to many people The Future?
    8. 8. 2. How can we prepare for the future?
    9. 9. “ Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”
    10. 10. ? Fortune Telling
    11. 11. Dreaming
    12. 12. Scenarios “ The best way to predict the future is to invent it” Alan Kay “ The future belongs to those who prepare for it today” Malcolm X
    13. 13. <ul><li>“ Thinking out of the box” to anticipate and prepare for a wider range of futures in greater depth </li></ul><ul><li>Combines knowledge from multiple stakeholders with evidence from literature and computational modelling </li></ul><ul><li>7 steps… </li></ul>A new approach to scenarios
    14. 14. 1. Better understand stakeholders priorities and their relationships through stakeholder analysis and social network analysis, and select working group
    15. 15. 2. Understand current/future challenges/opportunities: interviews & site visits with stakeholders/researchers
    16. 16. 3. Conceptual system model from interviews, site visits & literature; trace drivers to create scenarios
    17. 17. 4. Refine and prioritise scenarios for investigation
    18. 18. 5. Model possible futures: details, feedbacks, scenarios interactions, ES trade-offs for future planning
    19. 19. <ul><li>6. Communicate model outputs through stories, films and visualisations that depict different likely futures </li></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>7. Find innovative ways that people can respond and discuss ideas from literature (How would you respond if this happened?) </li></ul><ul><li>Model innovative ideas: how likely to work? </li></ul><ul><li>Use results to revise/refine ideas to ensure they work </li></ul>
    21. 21. 3. What might the future hold?
    22. 22. Intensification Scenario
    23. 23. Extensification Scenario
    24. 25. 4. What would this mean for ecosystem services?
    25. 26. Future benefits? <ul><li>Carbon management via peatland restoration (as opposed to renewable energy developments) under the extensification scenario may bring a number of co-benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Less brown water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced fire risk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protection of moorland/bog species important for conservation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limit scrub/forest encroachment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supplement incomes in remote areas via carbon markets? </li></ul></ul>
    26. 27. But prepare for major trade-offs <ul><li>Extensive management will benefit biodiversity in over-grazed moorlands and carbon, but compromise provisioning services such as game and sheep production, and in drier locations where scrub/forest encroaches, lead to a loss of moorland species and current recreational benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Intensification prioritises provisioning services at the expense of most other ecosystem services </li></ul><ul><li>Both scenarios are likely to compromise upland biodiversity in in many locations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Already a source of conflict... </li></ul></ul>Golden Plover
    27. 28. Upland communities tend to be well connected – this is the Moors for the Future partnership, in the Peak District
    28. 29. This is a sub-sample of 22 individuals we interviewed, showing those who communicated most with other (no matter how infrequently) in the network as larger dots Hill Farming Conservation Sporting Interests Water Companies Recreation
    29. 30. Those who communicate on a monthly or more frequent basis Hill Farming Conservation Sporting Interests Water Companies Recreation
    30. 31. Hill Farming Conservation Sporting Interests Water Companies Recreation “ I think perhaps the moors are over-burnt and not respected from the point that they are driven too hard and pushed too hard for the purpose of the grouse…they are looking for more and more and more… But it becomes like any mono-culture then – if you’re driven so single-mindedly by one thing, that tends to knacker nature – that’s the problem.” “ At the moment there is a conflict between us [Natural England] and the people who manage fires, that we need to sort out. It’s a big thing - its probably the most important thing.”
    31. 32. Hill Farming Sporting Interests Water Companies Recreation Conservation “ The heather moorlands… are there because of grouse shooting. Full-stop… Whether we like it or not, grouse shooting is the raison d’ ê tre.” “ [They] want to paint by numbers. The problem is [they] can’t tell you what the numbers are. [They] can’t tell you what is going to happen.” “ I’ve spent thirty years managing land and I’ve seen all these things come and go. So when you tell me as a very sincere young man with a great deal of credentials, that your prescription is right, you just listen to me: the guy who gave me 100% grant aid…to plough heather moorland also believed he was right because moorland was “waste”.”
    32. 33. The majority of individuals perceive considerable overlap between their views on upland management and the views of those they know from other groups Hill Farming Conservation Sporting Interests Water Companies Recreation “ I hear people say “Of course ours is the best way to manage...”. It’s the best way of managing moorland for grouse production. Absolutely A1. The best for anything else? That’s open to question and that’s probably why a mix with people doing different things is our best hope of creating some semblance of balance.” Agent
    33. 34. 5. What can we do?
    34. 35. 1. Link agricultural payments more effectively to provision of ecosystem services
    35. 36. 2. Remove policy barriers to facilitate peatland restoration via carbon markets
    36. 37. 3. Establish a national partnership of upland researchers, policy makers and practitioners to share knowledge and develop a shared agenda for future research
    37. 38. <ul><li>RELU 4 th phase project: </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding KE/KM processes </li></ul><ul><li>LWEC upland/peatland Research, Policy & Practice Hub </li></ul>
    38. 39. Contact <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Follow us on: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Email: </li></ul><ul><li>Call or text on: 0797 428 6778 </li></ul>