Multi-tier archetypes to characterise British landscapes, farmland and farming practices

Goodwin, Cecily E.D. ORCID:; Bütikofer, Luca; Hatfield, Jack H. ORCID:; Evans, Paul M. ORCID:; Bullock, James M. ORCID:; Storkey, Jonathan; Mead, Andrew; Richter, Goetz M.; Henrys, Peter A. ORCID:; Pywell, Richard F. ORCID:; Redhead, John W. ORCID: 2022 Multi-tier archetypes to characterise British landscapes, farmland and farming practices. Environmental Research Letters, 17 (9), 095002. 14, pp.

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Due to rising demand for both food and environmental services, agriculture is increasingly required to deliver multiple outcomes. Characterising differences, across agricultural landscapes, via the identification of broad archetypal groupings, is an important step in exploring spatial patterns in the capacity of land to deliver these potentially competing functions. Creating characterisations at multiple levels, for landscape and farm management, can allow policy-makers and land managers to harmonise delivery of ecosystem services at different intervention scales. This can identify ways to increase the complementarity of public goods and the sustainability of farmed landscapes. We used data-driven machine learning to create landscape and agricultural management archetypes (1 km resolution) at three levels, defined by opportunities for adaptation. Tier 1 archetypes quantify broad differences in soil, land cover and population across Great Britain, which cannot be readily influenced by the actions of land managers; Tier 2 archetypes capture more nuanced variations within farmland-dominated landscapes of Great Britain, over which land managers may have some degree of influence. Tier 3 archetypes are built at national levels for England and Wales and focus on socioeconomic and agro-ecological characteristics within farmland-dominated landscapes, characterising differences in farm management. By using a non-nested hierarchy, we identified which types of management are restricted to certain landscape settings, and which are applicable across multiple landscape contexts. Understanding variation within and between agricultural landscapes and farming practices has implications for planning environmental sustainability and food security. It can also aid understanding of the scale at which interventions could be most effective, from incentivising changes in farmer behaviour to policy drivers of large-scale land use change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1748-9326
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: landscapes, farming, Great Britain, management, archetypes
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 02 Nov 2022 16:45 +0 (UTC)

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