Should farmers be landscape planners too?

Lane, A.B. and Oreszczyn, S.M. (2005). Should farmers be landscape planners too? In: Planning, people and practice: The landscape ecology of sustainable landscapes: Proceedings of the 13th Annual IALE(UK) Conference, 13-15 Sep 2005, Northampton, UK.


Rural landscapes in England are cultural landscapes. They are largely the product of the individual actions of multiple agents - farmers and others - working independently. It is only in recent times that an active approach to planning the English countryside on a regional or landscape scale has taken place, through the award of protected status, the provision of ecological conservation grant schemes and conservation advice from a variety of sources. Farmers are more aware and accepting than ever of their duties towards the environment although they still largely operate at the farm rather than landscape scale. They rarely have to consider the wider impacts of what they do on the land that surrounds their farm or be unduly concerned about the way their neighbour's farms are managed. New schemes such as the revised Environmental Stewardship and new technologies such as GM crops will push farmers to consider the wider impacts of what they do and increase contact with their neighbours. This paper considers the implications of these developments on isolated farm decision-making and asks the questions: should farmers be encouraged to plan what they do at a landscape scale, annd should they be encouraged to work with their neighbours towards environmental improvements?

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