A whole-landscape approach is critical to ensuring conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in farmed landscapes. Although existing agri-environmental schemes are constrained by property boundaries and voluntary take up, the potential for adopting a whole-landscape approach to planned countryside management is currently favoured by a number of factors. These include economic uncertainty in some agricultural sectors; the introduction of a reformulated rural development policy; increased understanding of relationships between biodiversity and management; and the introduction of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology that allows future landscapes to be visualized by stakeholders. Ecological and socio-economic aspects of whole-landscape planning in a study covering 31 neighbouring farms in west Oxfordshire are reported. A baseline was first compiled that included information on: property boundaries; land cover; relationships between hedge and field margin management and key taxa; and farmer socio-economics and attitudes towards agri-environmental measures, conservation and sustainable agriculture. Future scenarios of integrated wholelandscape management were then developed, designed to deliver amenity, environmental and biodiversity benefits. These scenarios were presented and interpreted to farmers and conservation and amenity stakeholders with the aid of GIS-based maps and three-dimensional virtual reality visualizations. Farmers' responses are reported and the potential for implementing whole-landscape planning is discussed.
|Number of pages||31|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|