Knowledge for better food systems

A green and pressured land - competing land use demands

This briefing from UK NGO Sustain examines pressures on land in the UK and overseas, including the impacts of agriculture and the foods we choose to eat. It considers competing land uses such as biodiversity, hedgerows, food production, supporting new entrants into farming, climate mitigation, bioenergy production and land for leisure.

The report’s recommendations include:

  • Stakeholders should attempt to assess impacts and consequences when suggesting new land uses.
  • Provide better support for landscape- and catchment-scale land management strategies.
  • Develop a comprehensive English Land Use Strategy to help prepare for the impacts of climate change and balance competing land uses.
  • Use public land assets such as the county farms estate as exemplars of regenerative use, and protect them from unsustainable development. (Read the FCRN’s summary of the report Reviving county farms here.)

Read the full report, A Green and Pressured Land - making sense of the many competing demands for rural and peri-urban land, here. See also the Foodsource building block What is land use and land use change? 

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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