THE GUARDIAN reports half of the nation’s farmland needs to be transformed into woodlands and natural habitat to fight the climate crisis and restore wildlife, according to a former chief scientific adviser to the UK government.
Prof Sir Ian Boyd said such a change could mean the amount of cattle and sheep would fall by 90%, with farmers instead being paid for storing carbon dioxide, helping prevent floods and providing beautiful landscapes where people could boost their health and wellbeing. Boyd said the public were subsidising the livestock industry to produce huge environmental damage.
The Telegraph reports farmland birds have seen a decline of 55 per cent in the last 50 years, Defra has revealed, as a lack of hedgerows and overuse of pesticides are given the blame.
For some birds, farming has been particularly devastating; corn buntings, grey partridges and tree sparrows, all of which are highly dependent on farmland, have experienced declines of more than 90 per cent since 1970.
Turtle doves have seen their numbers halve in the five year period of 2012 to 2017, with long term declines of 98 per cent.
Defra has been monitoring 19 species of farmland birds, and has found that over the shorter term the fall has been less drastic – bird numbers overall fell by 6 per cent between 2012-17.
THE TELEGRAPH reports if Britain leaves the EU without a deal the farming industry could lose £850m a year in profits, according to research by Andersons, a farm business consultants. The effects are expected to severely impact sheep farmers. If farmers rewild their lands, by grazing traditional herbivores such as wild cattle or deer, and allow the natural landscape to regrow, it would create opportunities for “nature tourism”, said Rob Stoneman of Rewilding Europe.