Working with large land owners

Last week iCASP facilitated a meeting with the National Trust and Water@Leeds to identify future opportunities for collaborative working.

The National Trust (NT) are one of the largest land owners in the UK, and around 40% of land in the UK drains into a watercourse which runs through a NT property. The Trust recognises it has a responsibility to restore environments to healthy, beautiful and well-functioning status as well as ensuring their ongoing management methods and practices maintain that status.  They’re not just seeking to help store carbon, reduce flooding and restore soil health, but do this whilst also ensuring the land they own remains beneficial to wildlife and people.

Staff from Water@Leeds and the National Trust meeting to discuss priorities, expertise and future ways of working (photo credit: Jenny Armstrong)

Collaborating with Water@Leeds will enable the Trust to feed into the latest research and development activities which in turn could increase the implementation of evidence-based management decisions across their properties. Collaborating with the Trust provides opportunities for researchers to trial innovative new activities in real world settings and access a wealth of information from those who live on and manage the land. iCASP can help to facilitate this collaboration by identifying the priorities of the National Trust and translating Water@Leeds research to help answer key questions to the challenges faced.

The meeting considered several ways of working together; from PhD studentships to research grants and fellowships. Possible collaborations were identified across a range of topics including water quality, habitat management and biodiversity enhancement, natural flood management and carbon management. These themes cut across a variety of catchments where both the Trust and University of Leeds researchers work.

The National Trust are already project partners on the iCASP Payment for Outcomes project that is seeking to include natural flood management (NFM) in the Trust’s Payment for Outcomes pilot. In turn the Trust’s pilot will inform Defra’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) and how a range of different measures to improve environmental outcomes can be included and paid for.  The iCASP project focuses on several of the Trust’s tenanted farms and aims to identify which NFM interventions are most suited to the farms and surrounding land, and pay farmers and land managers for the work they undertake to achieve these improvements.

Photos from visits to National Trust farms to identify sites for Natural Flood Management interventions as part of the Payment for Outcomes project (photo credit from L-R: Ben Rabb, Tom Willis, Poppy Leeder, Ben Rabb)

We hope to build on the partnership working already underway and facilitate more collaboration in the future to benefit the beautiful places owned and managed by the Trust for the benefit of us all.

 

Additional links that may be of interest:

National Trust Riverlands project

POSTnote on Natural Flood Management

Defining a Future for Yorkshire Farming

The iCASP Public Goods Project has produced some resources which will be showcased at the Defining a Future for Yorkshire Farming today (Nov 15th 2018).

The one day conference hosted by the Yorkshire Food farming and Rural Network is expecting Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to attend as keynote speaker.

The National Farmers’ Union, one of iCASP’s partners, have been taking a keen interest in the publications which are based on a rapid review of the academic evidence for agricultural land management options linked to improving soil health.

Healthy soil can help to mitigate flood risk, increase crop productivity and store more carbon. These benefits are becoming known as public goods and their delivery is key to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme which Defra is developing.

The evidence that iCASP reviewed found that conservation tillage, the addition of organic amendments, introduction of grass-clover leys into arable rotations, and conversion of arable land to woodland can all enhance soil health. If you want to find out more, the publications are available on the iCASP Public Goods Resources page.

 

 

Managing land more beneficially

Photo Credit: Les Firbank

Leaving the EU gives the UK an opportunity to rethink farm subsidies. The government is currently exploring how to incentivise farmers and land owners to improve water quality, soil health  and flood protection. This is where iCASP can help. The Agri-Land Management for Public Goods Delivery Project is going to review and consolidate the evidence on land management interventions which generate a wide range of public goods.

The Review will focus on a selection of land management activities currently undertaken in the River Ouse drainage basin area of Yorkshire, including those supported through Countryside Stewardship.

Read moreManaging land more beneficially

RT @aireriverstrust: Watch as a £1.5M pedestrian bridge is completed over the River Aire in Leeds by @CituUK via @leedslivenews google.co.uk/amp/s/www.leed…

@ames_e_p @PeteOnPeat I think we need to see many more #DogsOnFieldwork - although I did do a double take to make s… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

RT @NERC_NFM: Join us for our first #NFM webinar on #peatland restoration on Friday this week. Sign up for free to get the login… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…