This project aims to investigate the effect of farms transitioning to carbon Net Zero on biodiversity. A PhD funded by Morrisons through the Harper Adams Univesity School of Sustainable Food and Farming will explore this relationship. This project forms part of the work of the Environmental Sustainability Land and Soil Group at Harper Adams University. On an academic level it is managed by Professor Michael Lee and myself. Across the Future Farm it's delivery is supervised by Mr Scott Kirby (Executive Project and Programme Consultant). If you are interested in this area of research please get in touch.
The Environment Act (Gov.UK, 2021) in line with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Convention on Biological Diversity Post-2020 Framework (see: Convention on Biological Diversity, 2020; Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity, 2022) aims to halt the decline of species by 2030 by improving the natural environment through the Environmental Land Management Schemes (DEFRA, 2021; DEFRA, 2022); whilst also achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 2021). Approximately, 72% of the UK’s land is currently farmed (Norton, 2021), thus supporting farmers in achieving this strategic aim is absolutely key.
The aim of this project is to quantify biodiversity on farms transitioning towards Net Zero agri systems and farmland natural capita using existing biodiversity metrics, e.g. UKHab (UKHab, no date) and Biodiversity Metric 3.1 (DEFRA & NE, 2021), on three farms applying interventions to transition towards Net Zero (two Morrisons Supplying Net Zero Agri farms and the Harper Adams Future Farm); and to explore the relationship between transitioning towards Net Zero Agriculture and Biodiversity Net Gain within a Local Nature Recovery framework.
A Morrisons funded PhD to start in September 2023 will have the following outcomes: 1. to understand how/whether biodiversity and Net Zero Agriculture benefit each other and 2. to produce a simple set of parameters for farmers to measure biodiversity at scale.
There will be further research opportunities as part of this project going forward.
Harper Adams University
School of Sustainable Food and Farming