Title
A novel, integrated approach to assessing social, economic and environmental implications of changing rural land-use : a case study of perennial biomass crops
Description
Land-use has always been subject to changing habitat and crop management that has precipitated social, economic and environmental responses, however concerns over climate change and energy security have brought these issues to the fore. It is predicted that within 20 years, bioenergy crops could occupy significantly large areas of rural land. Among these, dedicated biomass crops, such as Miscanthus grass and short rotation willow coppice, differ significantly from arable crops in their growth characteristics and management. It is important that the potential impacts of these differences are assessed before large-scale, long-term plantings occur. We used a Sustainability Appraisal Framework (SAF) approach to landscape planning to identify stakeholder aspirations (objectives) and associated criteria (indicators) for the planting of dedicated biomass crops. The use of environmental and physical constraints mapping allowed the SAF to focus only on environmentally-acceptable locations, thereby avoiding unsustainable trade-offs. The mapping identified 3.1M ha of land in England as suitable for planting, suggesting the UK government target of 1.1M ha by 2020 is feasible. Evaluation of the SAF identified that while biodiversity was of concern to stakeholders, some current indicators of biodiversity are not appropriate. Butterfly abundance proved a more appropriate indicator and it was found that total abundance was greater in field margins of both biomass crops than in arable field margins. Synthesis and applications. The potentially conflicting problem of maintaining food security, water availability, energy security and biodiversity conservation is recognised as a key challenge by governments world-wide. Methods with which decision-makers can compare the performance of different land-use scenarios against sustainability objectives will be crucial for achieving optimised and sustainable use of land-based resources to meet all four challenges. Using biomass crops planting as an example, this work illustrates the potential of a Sustainability Appraisal Framework (SAF) in securing an holistic understanding of the wide-ranging implications of large-scale, long-term changes to rural land-use in the wider context of sustainable land-use planning per se.
URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01623.x
URL Description
Article abstract
Language
English
Author
Alison Haughton
Author
Suzanne Clark
Author
Andrew Riche
Author
Ian Shield
Author
Gilla Sünnenberg
Author
Martin Turner
Author
Alan Bond
Author
Trudie Dockerty
Author
Rufus Sage
Author
Andrew Lovett
Author
Jon Finch
Author
Angela Karp
Author
Victoria Mallott
Author
Mark Cunningham
Author
Mark Mallott
Author
David Bohan

biodiversity, butterflies, constraints mapping, bioenergy crops, farmland, Lepidoptera, Miscanthus, short rotation coppice willow, sustainability appraisal

Notes
The definitive (publisher) version is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01623.x
Volume number
46
Issue number
2
Is this item peer reviewed?
Yes
ISSN
0021-8901
Copyright URL
http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-406241.html
Publisher
Blackwell Publishing
Date of publication
01 January 2009
Page reference
315-322
Place of publication
Oxford
Is this item a pre-print or post-print?
Postprint
Title of journal
Journal of applied ecology
Harvard
Haughton, Alison et al (2009) A novel, integrated approach to assessing social, economic and environmental implications of changing rural land-use : a case study of perennial biomass crops. Journal of applied ecology. 46 (2), pp. 315-322 Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Vancouver
Haughton Alison et al. A novel, integrated approach to assessing social, economic and environmental implications of changing rural land-use : a case study of perennial biomass crops. Journal of applied ecology 2009; 46 (2): 315-322.