In the face of global food security concerns and soaring food and energy prices, the UK government seems to have realized the importance of having a productive domestic agricultural industry. But reports indicate that one of Britain’s biggest landowners, the National Trust, is taking back large amounts of productive farmland from long-term tenants for tree planting and landscaping. wild, and encourage low-yield agriculture on some of our most fertile land. soils, highlights the urgent need for a coherent land use strategy that recognizes the importance of food production.
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In my opinion, it is extremely important to have an early idea of what a scientific assessment of future land use allocations might look like, before too much of our productive land is devoted to regeneration, to tree planting or low yield farming systems such as organic, and before too much public money goes to rewarding less productive farming systems when the scientific evidence tells us to focus on the high yield agriculture.
Indeed, the development of a coherent land use strategy – providing a scientific assessment of the competing demands and priorities placed on this valuable resource – should have preceded any policy options developed by Defra under the management programs environmental management (ELM), whether in terms of low-input agriculture, preservation of local nature or enhancement of landscapes.