While discussion of resilience often focuses on the middle latitude regions of the world, more northern climes are also tackling the challenge of how to be responsive to change. The United Kingdom’s Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change recently produced a robust report outlining how land use choices, particularly in agriculture, must shift to ensure that the country is resilient to climate change. Such shifts are necessary in order to safeguard the ecosystem services (e.g. food and timber supply, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, etc.) that the land supplies.
Is the glass half full? While the Committee highlighted that warmer weather and longer growing seasons could benefit farmers’ production, this is only the case if soil degradation and water scarcity issues are addressed. The report lays out a set of key recommendations targeted at the government, such as providing incentives and technical assistance to improve farmers’ soil and water management, maintaining habitat for wildlife, restoring peatlands to enhance carbon storage and regulate water flow, and protecting coastal habitat for flood protection services.
The report is part of a series assessing the United Kingdom’s preparation for the major risks and opportunities presented by climate change. This series will serve as the baseline evidence for a 2015 report to Parliament on climate change preparedness.