Upland farming systems and wilding landscapes: a Cumbrian example

Mansfield, Lois (2015) Upland farming systems and wilding landscapes: a Cumbrian example. In: Wild Thing? Managing Landscape Change and Future Ecologies, 9-11 September 2015, Sheffield, UK. (Unpublished)

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Official URL: http://www.self-willed-land.org.uk/rep_res/wild_th...

Abstract

Cultural landscapes in the United Kingdom are derived from mainly agricultural activity of the last five thousand years. Wilding projects are a recent phenomenon which have received attention in both the academic and public domains. As a result a tension is emerging between those that perceive these areas as ideal for wilding experimentation and the environmental, economic and social benefits already provided by upland farming systems. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to explore some of the experiences of farmers involved a rewilding project to emphasise the importance of fully appreciating, collaborating and recognising how upland farming systems operate and their wider socio-economic benefits. It is evident that intrinsic characteristics of UK upland farming systems such as its relationship with the physical environment, indigenous livestock breeds, stratification, hefting, social capital and cultural heritage play important roles in wider political and social agendas which must not be brushed aside in our pursuit of wilding. Second, there are practicalities of wilding or part wilding landscapes that are currently managed for extensive livestock production, particularly with respect to grazing management which require a deeper appreciation of how hill farming operates. It is unlikely, due to broader agendas such as biodiversity production, food security, rural sustainable development, ecosystem services and cultural heritage, that wilding and upland farming will develop in mutual exclusivity; either they will share the same land or they will be geographically contiguous and thus one will affect the management of the other. By actively learning from pilot projects like Wild Ennerdale, we can develop fully collaborative multifunctional land use of which wilding is one facet.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Centre for Wildlife Conservation
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 10 May 2016 10:36
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 15:48
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2130

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