Effects Of Landscapes Without Livestock

UK - The crucial role livestock plays in maintaining the English countryside has been highlighted in a new report by EBLEX.
calendar icon 14 December 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

‘Landscapes without Livestock’, an independent report from Land Use Consultants (LUC), examines what could happen to some of England’s most cherished landscapes if beef cattle herds or sheep flocks reduced or disappeared. It comes in the face of continued calls from some pressure groups to reduce meat eating, and consequently the amount of livestock in the countryside.

EBLEX, who commissioned the report with input from farmers, ecologists and landscape experts, identified sites typically grazed by beef cattle and sheep and in which the livestock help maintain the distinctive environmental character. The environments identified in accordance with Natural England’s Natural Character Area descriptions and Defra’s agricultural survey are:

  • Less Favoured Area (LFA) Upland – North York Moors
  • Less Favoured Area (LFA) Hillsides – Exmoor
  • Rotational Pasture – Vale of Pickering
  • Permanent Pasture – Romney Marsh
  • Moorland - Dartmoor

Panoramic photographs of each landscape in its current state were taken. Three additional photomontages have subsequently been produced at year three, year 10 and year 30 to illustrate the visual impacts of the changes at each location if livestock were reduced or removed altogether. Narratives for each landscape also set out the ‘story’ of future change shown graphically by the photomontages.

Nick Allen, EBLEX sector director, said: “Landscapes without Livestock is an independent and authoritative project that adds expert evidence to the debate about the beef and lamb sector and its impact on the environment. It is important that the many positives about livestock production are not ignored.

“Arguments from some quarters have called for livestock numbers to be reduced as an effective way to cut environmental emissions. However, simplistically looking at that issue in isolation ignores many of the beneficial aspects that livestock bring to their respective environments. The striking images, coupled with the narratives of change in the report, powerfully illustrate the possible effects of removing or significantly reducing livestock numbers and we hope will add balance to the debate going forward.”

The full report is available by clicking here.

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