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Land Sparing Vs. Land Sharing Part 2.

In last week's newsletter I introduced the land sharing/land sparing theme and we sent out an article by the UK Royal Society. The article gave a western European perspective, and we also need to bear in mind that the Royal Society is a hallowed establishment institution (representing to an extext some vested interests).

Part 1.

But Joe Acton's introduction: " A Land Sparing system involves large, separate areas of sustainably intensified agriculture and wilderness, whereas Land Sharing involves a patchwork of low-intensity agriculture incorporating natural features such as ponds and hedgerows, rather than keeping agriculture and wilderness separate" offers a nice concise definition which I wouldn't challenge, except for the use of the word "sustainably".


Why are land sparing and land sharing so apparently oppositional - it doesn't seem to be highly political. Well in agricultural policy terms the debate has become very political. Where the debate is raging (not everywhere) it is essentially putting up two alternatives (with the implicit expectation that governments need to choose between one or the other policy approach). Most people from the agroecological farming approach are going to come down rather more in favour of a land-sharing approach, and I believe for good reason. There are many blindspots in the land-sparing approach, based on some assumptions, which if left unchallenged could have devastating consequences for the environment, for biodiversity, for the health of the land, for our agricultural heritage, in landscapes and in communities. In next week's newsletter we will introduce "rewilding" and look at why this is both a positive and potentially disruptive effect on landscape management.


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