State of knowledge on UK agricultural peatlands for food production and the net zero transition

Lloyd, Isobel ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2518-6916 , Thomas, Virginia, Ofoegbu, Chidiebere ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8920-9411 , Bradley, Andrew ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6702-9751 , Bullard, Paddy ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7193-0844 , D’Acunha, Brenda, Delaney, Beth ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3956-3228 , Driver, Helen ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0008-9699-7330 , Evans, Chris, Faulkner, Katy ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9204-6502 , Fonvielle, Jeremy, Francksen, Richard, Friday, Laurie, Hose, Gemma, Kaduk, Joerg ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4051-3081 , Manning, Francesca Re, Morrison, Ross ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1847-3127 , Novo, Paula, Page, Susan, Rhymes, Jennifer ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9347-9863 , Hudson, Megan and Balzter, Heiko ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9053-4684 (2023) State of knowledge on UK agricultural peatlands for food production and the net zero transition. Sustainability, 15 (23). p. 16347.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316347

Abstract

Agricultural peatlands are the most productive soils in the UK for the cultivation of many food crops. Historical drainage of peat for agriculture (i.e., cropland and managed grassland), without consideration of other associated environmental and climatic impacts, has resulted in a significant emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). There is a need to reduce GHG emissions without compromising the rural economy and jeopardizing food security in the UK to a greater extent than is currently being experienced. In March 2023, in a bid to identify alternative land management systems for agricultural peatlands to support the UK’s commitment to achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050, a group of forty investigators met at a workshop convened by the AgriFood4NetZero Network+. The workshop reviewed the state of knowledge surrounding the Fens of Eastern England and their importance for food provision, the economy, cultural identity, and climate change mitigation. A broad consensus emerged for research into how GHG emissions from agricultural peatlands could be reduced, whether alternative farming methods, such as seasonal farming or paludiculture, would offer a solution, and how a localized approach for the Fens could be defined. The development of a holistic, inclusive, and plausible land use scenario that considers all aspects of ecosystem services provided by the Fens is urgently needed.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Sustainability
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2071-1050
Departments: Institute of Science and Environment > Forestry and Conservation
Additional Information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
SWORD Depositor: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2023 11:34
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 15:46
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/7472

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