Multifunctional landscapes – biodiversity

The UK has committed to protect 30% of its land area for nature by 2030. This marks a positive step in maintaining and restoring biodiversity.

Deciding which land is allocated for nature protection presents a challenge. Currently, the UK uses more than 70% of its land for agriculture, but with the right science and innovation, that area could shrink while still producing enough food. This could make way for more land to be managed primarily for nature.

New monitoring and data collection technologies will allow the most important nature hotspots to be identified. Some land can be reverted to habitats best suited to the species that live there and joined up into a coherent network that will allow species to travel throughout newly hospitable landscapes.

How do we balance the needs for biodiversity protection against other pressing needs such as food production, recreation, water quality, carbon sequestration and protection from floods, droughts and wildfires? The Royal Society’s Multifunctional Landscapes report advises on the use of science to increase the productivity of land and makes recommendations on the data, innovation, skills and policy required to create landscapes which meet society’s many needs efficiently and sustainably.