Farming for A Living Landscape

Highland cow (c) Chris MaguireHighland cow (c) Chris Maguire

Farmers and landowners can play a leading role in achieving A Living Landscape by managing their land to protect and enhance wildlife.

Across the UK, The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers and landowners to secure nature’s recovery.

A healthy natural environment underpins sustainable farming systems, and likewise farming and land management are critical to creating A Living Landscape, where farmland is producing food but also bursting with wildlife.

But farmland wildlife is in trouble

  • Many species are dependent on farmland, particularly birds like the tree sparrow, corn bunting, skylark and yellowhammer, but populations of farmland birds have fallen by 48% since 1970.
  • Bumblebees, butterflies and mammals like the brown hare have also seen major declines.
  • We have lost 97% of our wildflower grasslands due to intensification or conversion to arable land.
  • More than 100,000 km of hedgerows were destroyed between 1984 and 1990.

It is vital that these declines are reversed and that we protect and restore the ecosystems on which our food security depends.

Alongside producing food, sensitively-managed farmland can deliver a wide range of ecosystem services and support a rich variety of wildlife.

The Wildlife Trusts demonstrate what it is possible to achieve for farming and wildlife on the dozen working farms that we own or manage, and advise more than 5000 farmers and landowners on what they can do to:

  • Manage and create terrestrial and freshwater habitats;
  • Access grants for conservation activities;
  • Protect and manage species.

For example:

Creating new wetlands in the farmed landscape can reduce nutrient runoff into rivers and streams, so protecting drinking water supplies and also providing valuable wildlife habitat.

Hedgerows provide shelter for livestock, protect soils from wind erosion, provide ‘wild food’, provide shelter and nesting habitats for birds, small mammals and insects and act as highways that link bat roosting sites to their feeding areas.

Flower-rich grassy margins along arable fields provide habitats for bees and other crop pollinators, as well as ladybirds and other predatory species which play an important role in controlling crop pests and can reduce the need for pesticides.

Sustainably managed farmland can provide a vital link between protected wildlife sites, helping species to move freely through the landscape and forming a giant patchwork of natural spaces.

Contact your local Trust to find out what you can do to help create A Living Landscape.


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The Wildlife Trusts Land Management Leaflet2.23 MB