Context and rationale

Different landscapes present a series of varying physical and social challenges to nature recovery, resulting in efforts requiring localised and targeted approaches. The UK Government Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) initiative represents one such approach for providing strategic catchment-scale farm advice. The initiative predominantly focuses on mitigating agricultural water pollution but there is potential to expand the CSF’s remit to facilitate farmer collaborations and deliver further landscape-scale nature recovery. With the Government’s Landscape Recovery Scheme roll-out, this project contributes crucial evidence to inform effective policy by answering the following research questions:

What are the current niches of different organisations providing farm advice (also known as extension services) in facilitating landscape-scale nature recovery?
What and where do gaps in advice provision exist?
How can agri-environmental policy best support agricultural advice for nature recovery?

Activities and outputs

We conducted qualitative and statistical analysis of data collected through semi-structured interviews gathered during winter 2022/23 from 133 farm advisors across government, industry, and non-profit organisations in England.

The two project outputs are:

  • Technical Report containing details of our analytical framework to examine existing advice provision.
  • Policy Briefing summarising results from applying the analytical framework to our interview data at the regional and national scale to compare advisory niches of different sector organisations for nature recovery.

Project outputs

    Mapping niches of extension service providers to support nature recovery – a policy briefing

    This policy brief sets out the role of agricultural extension services in supporting landscape-scale nature recovery through a novel method of mapping organisational niches and conflicts in service provision.  It uses an example of advice on water pollution, and proposes changes to the provision of advice by organisations.

    LCNR supported
    • Awards

    The Niche Mapper Analytical Framework – technical report

    This technical report presents the Niche Mapper analytical framework for visualising the landscape of advice provision for nature recovery. Land managers access advice on land-use changes to support nature recovery, with advice offered by numerous organisations. Organisations have unique motivations for advice provision e.g., regulatory, environmental or financial, leading to crowding within the sector. The Niche Mapper framework, when applied to a set of advisory organisations will produce a visual representation of the niches occupied by those organisations. The framework may be applied at a variety of spatial scales and/or temporal intervals, resulting in analytically comparable outputs.

    The results provided by using this framework can support effective policy making and divulge new research directions. An example of how the framework has been applied is illustrated in a case study of organisations providing advice to land managers for the mitigation of diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA).

    LCNR supported
    • Awards