Land Use and Agriculture

Land Use and Agriculture

RPA’s work in this area considers the interaction between agriculture and land use and an extensive range of wider environmental, social and economic issues such as biodiversity, water quality, flooding and erosion, soil, agribusiness, employment and recreation.  Some of our work is focussed on the impact that agriculture and other land uses may have on such factors and other work is focussed on the impacts of such factors on agriculture and land use management.

A typical project on the impact of agriculture and land use might consider the effects of different land uses and land management methods on environmental variables such as flooding or diffuse pollution of water.  Such a study might consider the associated environmental and economic impacts and involve estimating the costs and benefits of options for changes in management to address any negative impacts or enhance positive impacts.  Similarly, a typical project on the impacts of different factors on agriculture and/or land use might consider environmental factors such as climate change and flooding or changes to regulation of pesticides and fertilisers.  Such a study might assess the impacts of such factors on agriculture or different land uses, estimate the financial and economic costs incurred and consider appropriate responses.

Both types of work tend to be focussed on identifying and quantifying impacts as much as possible.  Often this may involve stakeholder engagement to identify issues and possible solutions or modelling to predict the scale and magnitude of potential impacts and the effectiveness of solutions.  Increasingly methods based around the ecosystem services approach are being used to assess and quantify impacts but we also use more traditional methods such as risk and environmental assessment and financial and economic valuation tools.  RPA’s expertise covers a wide range of issues including biodiversity, agrochemicals, nutrient management, soils, flooding, water quality and quantity, habitats and climate change as well as wider issues such as the economic and social importance of agriculture and other land management including for recreational benefit and conservation.

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