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 overlooked 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 due to roll-out in 2024 (Defra, 2023), this project will contribute crucial evidence to inform effective policy by answering the following research questions:

1.    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 exist in advice provision?

2.    What is the potential of the CSF initiative to facilitate broader landscape-scale nature recovery?


Planned activities and outputs

We plan to conduct qualitative and statistical analysis of data collected through semi-structured interviews gathered during winter 2022/23 from 140 farm advisors across government, industry and non-profit organisations in England.

The two project outputs will be:

  1. An analytical framework to examine existing advice provision at different spatial scales
  2. A policy briefing summarising results from applying the analytical framework to our interview data at the regional and national scale, comparing advisory niches of different sector organisations for nature recovery. The briefing will identify gaps in advice provision and highlight potential opportunities for organisations, such as CSF, to expand their remit and provide advice on landscape-scale nature recovery.