Sustainable Uplands Westminster Seminar 28 October 2010


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Lunchtime seminar given to members of the policy community about policy suggestions from the Sustainable Uplands project on 28th October 2010

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  • As a hydrologist I can note that the uplands provide 70 % of UK’s drinking water and are also source areas for flooding – there is a question about whether upland management could affect river flow or flooding and I think we are now building a portfolio of emerging science that says that in some circumstances it can and so we need to think about local and national benefits of upland management.
    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
  • The ability of uplands to continue providing the ecosystem services that we all need may be under threat:
     New pressures, including climate change, may affect the capacity of the hills to respond and adapt
    A growing population will need to feed itself under very different climatic conditions and on a shrinking land base, which might require more intensive use of all available land, including the hills, to produce food
    However, Britain’s uplands are changing fast. They are under pressure from a range of historic and future pressures:
    Historic pollution (e.g. nitrogen, sulfur and heavy metal deposition, with effects on ecological communities and water)
    Current land use (only 14% UK moorland in “favourable condition” according to EN, primarily due to overgrazing and inappropriate burning)
    Burning regulation (EN lobbied DEFRA to review its Heather & Grass burning code. This is now underway – three of the most contentious proposals are to 1. shorten the burning season; 2. leave 10% moorland unburned; and 3. ban burning on blanket bog)
    CAP (little is known about the effect that decoupling subsidies from production will have on upland farming)
    WFD implementation (uplands will a major focus for Programmes of Measures)
    Kyoto (most uplands are grazed extensively and therefore management that enhances carbon storage can be used to meet Kyoto emission reduction targets under Article 3.4)
    Cultural, demographic and climate change (hunting has recently been banned in the UK and many think grouse shooting will be next, ageing rural population and shrinking rural labour pool, all under the influence of ongoing climate change)
  • This is the purpose of the project – to help people better anticipate and adapt to change – and to work together to find common solutions where that is possible that secure the best prospects locally and for society as a whole.
  • To note that there were a large range of scenarios of future change considered
  • We also have to recognise that if we are to pursue sustainable peatland management, we are going to come face to face with a whole raft of challenges – peatlands are changing rapidly as we speak, in response to whole range of biophysical, socio-economic, market and policy drivers:
    We need to understand what these drivers of change mean for peatlands, and
    how we can respond most appropriately to sustain priority ecosystem services in such a rapidly changing world?
    We have heard many of these challenges already at this conference, so I won’t reherse them again now
    But what is the current policy response, and how might we build on this, to do a better job of protecting our peatlands in future?
  • 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
  • We think that a range of options should be pursued to restore peatlands damaged by inappropriate management (such as drainage), based on the latest available research
    This may include:
    ensuring land managers have access to and capacity to use the latest restoration techniques;
    exchanging knowledge about new techniques and the relative performance of existing techniques;
    continuing to finance peatland restoration through existing schemes; and
    facilitating private funding of peatland restoration for carbon and other benefits
  • 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 Westminster Seminar 28 October 2010

    1. 1. 01/30/15 1 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Sustainable Uplands Learning to manage future change
    2. 2. 01/30/15 2 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme 01/30/15 2 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Sustainable Uplands Project Working with people in uplands to better anticipate, monitor and respond to future change – Protecting livelihoods and ecosystem services – a framework that considers the full benefits society obtains from nature – Facilitating knowledge exchange between local stakeholders, policy- makers and social/natural scientists
    3. 3. 01/30/15 3 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme • Funding from RELU & ESRC • Additional funding for 16 projects using findings e.g. Yorkshire Water, Natural England, DEFRA, Premier Waste, United Utilities, Scottish Government, Commission for Rural Communities, Government Office for Science, IUCN Sustainable Uplands Project • Test sites in Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Galloway, but have developed an approach that could be rolled out across the uplands
    4. 4. 01/30/15 4 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme The Sustainable Uplands team: 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 University of Durham: Prof Tim Burt 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 Aberdeen: Dr Mark Reed Prof Steve Redpath University of St Andrews: Dr Ioan Fazey Dr Anna Evely Macaulay Institute: Mark Sutter Mike Rivington
    5. 5. 01/30/15 5 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Why are uplands so important?
    6. 6. 01/30/15 6 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Current and future pressure Common Agriculture Policy reformEU Water Framework Directive Global population growth and food security Ongoing climate, cultural, social and demographic change
    7. 7. 01/30/15 7 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme The uplands of the future • Most people’s vision for the future is status quo and radical visions may be unpopular • Who’s vision do we aim for – what is best for most people?
    8. 8. 01/30/15 8 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme What has the project involved ? 1. Understanding stakeholders priorities & views on challenges and opportunities . The research was driven by the wider community and not by the scientists 2. Working with people to refine priorities and think about scenarios for the future
    9. 9. 01/30/15 9 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme What has the project involved ? 3. Collate and collect scientific and social data (e.g. human behaviour, carbon, water quality , grouse etc) 4. Combine all of the information in models and see what this might mean for the future under different scenarios 5. Work with people to better understand what might happen and how we can adapt to change and carve out a good future for the uplands
    10. 10. 01/30/15 10 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Restored to pristine condition: Complete vegetation, no bare peat, no gullies, only grazed Sink = 119 tonnes C/km2 /yr Current condition: Bare soil, grazing, gullies and burning Sink = 24.3 tonnes C/km2 /yr Example for carbon in Peak District National Park
    11. 11. 01/30/15 11 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Red grouse count 2004 0 - 5 6 - 15 16 - 27 28 - 44 45 - 96 Vegetation heather bilberry/crowberry bracken grasses sedges rushes bare peat Mean temperature (C) High : 8.987095 Low : 5.979176 Grouse Warmer weather under climate change will reduce grouse populations
    12. 12. 01/30/15 12 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Example hydrology outputs
    13. 13. 01/30/15 13 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Spatial targeting of resources • There are synergies and trade-offs • Spatial approach helps us work together for the greater good to enable mixed management across the landscape while maximising benefits to society and local communities • We could more cost-effectively implement management strategies through spatial targeting • The upland community need to be resourced to manage the landscape for the wider societal benefits
    14. 14. 01/30/15 14 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme 4ways to cost-effectively protect uplands
    15. 15. 01/30/15 15 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme 4 ways to cost-effectively protect uplands
    16. 16. 01/30/15 16 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme 1. Link agricultural payments more effectively to provision of ecosystem services
    17. 17. 01/30/15 17 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme 2. Remove policy barriers to facilitate peatland restoration via carbon markets
    18. 18. 01/30/15 18 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme 3. Re-consider a levy on extractive uses of peat
    19. 19. 01/30/15 19 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme 4. Establish a national partnership of upland researchers, policy makers and practitioners to share knowledge and develop a shared agenda for future research
    20. 20. 01/30/15 20 relu Rural Economy and Land Use Programme Contact Follow us on: New website Email: Call or text on: 0797 428 6778