We are in a period where we need to achieve more from our land than ever before. This includes producing sufficient food, reducing emissions and catching carbon from the atmosphere, creating resilience as the world warms, creating opportunities for people to gain well-being benefits, improving the health of rivers and at the same time as taking action to halt and reverse the decline of wildlife. These outcomes rely on environmental security and protecting and enhancing the natural processes that sustain society.
If we adopt approaches that trade these priorities against one another (for example food versus Nature recovery), however, then it will likely be the case that desired outcomes on most, if not of all these agendas, will not be achieved (or at least achieved less efficiently that might otherwise be the case). By contrast, if we take genuinely joined-up and integrated approaches, and delivered at scale, toward environmental security, then we might make progress toward multiple goals all at once, and in the same landscapes.
Multiple new targets, tools and policies could be integrated to deliver better outcomes. These include the new Environmental Land Management Schemes, Biodiversity Net Gain, investment in woodland expansion and action to reduce flood risk, all of which can be brought together via the new framework of Local Nature Recovery Strategies, which in turn will be backed by new natural capital data platforms.
This will, however, require stepping out of silos and instead toward plans for places that seek to maximise positive benefits across multiple agendas at once.