In six groups, delegates designed farm landscapes to maximise the delivery of ecosytem services. Full summaries to be uploaded.
Grand `Landscape` Designs: beyond convention
The composition of the landscape, farming systems, underlying geology and management of uncropped land can all influence the level of ecosystem services provided. There will also be trade-offs and as yet unforeseen opportunities between different ecosystem services. Semi-natural habitats (e.g. woodland and hedgerows) and agri-environment schemes support a wide range of ecosystem services yet we are only just beginning to deploy them to achieve these benefits.
In the EU FP7 project QUESSA (Quantification of Ecosystem Services for Sustainable Agriculture) the aim is to quantify the ecosystem services derived from semi-natural habitat that may contribute to the development of more sustainable agricultural systems for the main European cropping and farming systems. The workshop will contribute to the project by exploring how different groups of stakeholders perceive semi-natural habitats and the potential of ecosystem services but thinking beyond current perceptions and applications.
In this workshop we explore our understanding of ecosystem services and how we can utilise these habitats to maximise the delivery of ecosystem services. Attendees should be prepared to not only utilise their current knowledge but to think outside the box to seek unexplored opportunities.
The first stage of the process will be to identify the different ecosystem services that each type of semi-natural habitat and selected agri-environment will support. We will then rank them in terms of the diversity and level of ecosystem service they each provide.
The second stage will involve designing a landscape from scratch, deploying semi-natural habitats to achieve multiple objectives. In small groups, each will deploy habitats across the landscapes that support ecosystem services to enhance farming sustainability and address different realistic farming and/or environmental problems.
The decision making process and novel landscapes that are created will be captured and combined with those involving other groups of stakeholders (e.g. agronomists, growers) to form the basis of an evidence based paper. Workshop attendees will be offered the opportunity to be authors.
Outputs from the workshop will be synthesised and form part of a policy note to the European Commission and UK government.