The latest episode of David Attenborough’s epic TV series, Wild Isles, has highlighted the importance of managing farmland with nature in mind. In this blog, our Head of Land Use Policy, Vicki Swales, explains the opportunity we have in Scotland to move towards more nature- and climate-friendly farming.
While Wild Isles has given starring roles to species familiar to us in Scotland, the reality is we are one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Many species have been affected by the way we have managed our land over recent decades – habitat has been lost as hedgerows have been removed and wetlands drained, and food sources have been lost as pesticide use has increased. You can see the crisis facing our farmland wildlife in the graphics below. Species such as Curlew, Kestrel, Lapwing, and Oystercatcher are all in serious trouble.
Why farming matters
Agriculture is the largest use of land in Scotland, with around three-quarters of our land being farmed. Currently, less than 10% of public funding given to the industry pays for farming methods that support nature and tackle climate change. This must change. If we can transform how we farm, we can secure big wins for our wildlife, while continuing to produce healthy food and provide rural jobs.
A major report produced by the RSPB last year, ‘A world richer in nature’, identified four specific actions for Scotland:
Later this year, there will be an opportunity to ensure farming policy is reformed and the more than half a billion pounds of farming subsidy handed out each year helps nature and our climate. The Scottish Parliament will debate an Agriculture Bill which will set the framework for future farming policy.
What you can do
We will need your help to press the case and ensure nature’s voice is heard.
Right now, we need you to share this blog, so more people understand why reforming farm funding matters for the wildlife that we saw so brilliantly highlighted in the latest episode of Wild Isles.
And then, if you have not already, please sign up for updates from our Scotland campaigns team, so you stay up to date with our work on agriculture:
With your help, we can ensure a brighter future for the nature that depends on Scotland’s farmland.
Header image shows a close up of a lapwing in a grassy field. Credit: Ben Andrew
this is very interesting