Farming & Future Landscapes
The AONB is an important area for cereal, field vegetable and outdoor pig production, and its ecologically valuable grazing marshes support beef and sheep production. The AONB is home to other unique habitats and threatened species, and it's relatively undeveloped landscapes of rolling farmland, marshland, coast, heathland and forest support a booming tourism industry. But the combination of light sandy soils, low rainfall and proximity to the sea mean that the area is particularly vulnerable to climate change.
Climate change impacts are already felt in the area and are likely to increase. Published projections already show that summer rainfall will decrease in East Anglia, a region already suffering from pressure on water resources due to relatively low rainfall and population growth. Sea level rise, hotter drier summers, heavier winter rainfall and generally stormier weather will all bring real challenges to farmers in the future.
Successfully adapting to, and mitigating against, climate change at the same time as producing food sustainably is one of the key priorities for UK farming. However, much of the work done on climate change so far has focussed on mitigating the impacts – reducing fossil fuel use and carbon emissions, and improving energy efficiency – rather than dealing with the outcomes of, now inevitable, climate change. Many farm businesses are already adapting to these changes but more work is needed to help farmers understand how to cope successfully climate change in the coming decades.
The Future Landscapes project, funded by Suffolk Coastal’s Local Strategic Partnership and delivered on behalf of the AONB by the National Farmer’s Unions, has sought to develop the evidence base locally on projected impacts and develop a tool kit that will enable farmers to adapt their farm businesses, bring both economic and environmental benefits to them and the area in which they farm
For more information contact:
Alex Dinsdale, Countryside Policy Advisor, National Farmers’ Union
Tel: 01638 672131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Amstutz, Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB Manager
Tel: 01394 445225 or email email@example.com