Ecosystem services

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Now you've said it like that, it's a no brainer to incorporate all this stuff into ELMS. However, the driver behind the grant funding is to get a £££value attached so that corporate investment would pay for it.
Is this the get out of jail free card for the cash strapped governments of the world? It really does make sense now.
This is mining of the future and how to turn carbon into worthless cash so that the cash can be spent on cheap resources also mined out of the ground to keep the economy growing. :unsure: :banghead:

To quote an infamous antipodean philosopher - "control is the biggest business on the earth" 🤑

I'm even more convinced that it should be land managers valuing this stuff rather than institutions.
If we stick together then, by default, it will be land managers valuing it. We don't have to take the rates first offered.... It's them that need to buy, not us that need to sell.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Hopefully my half-arsed attempts at explanations help in understanding what's going on. The accountant did ask yesterday whether is considered doing consultancy work to help farmers understand the changes looming and make the most of the opportunities presented.
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
We are talking about a few different things here. As @N.Yorks. nicely summed up above, they all fall into the catch-all of "Ecosystem services" but that then splits down into the broad ELMS "public goods":
  • clean air
  • clean and plentiful water
  • thriving plants and wildlife
  • reduction in and protection from environmental hazards
  • mitigation of and adaptation to climate change
  • enhanced beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment

and any other specific ES benefits that wider industry needs and is willing to pay for such as (but not limited to):
  • Carbon sequestration credits
  • Biodiversity offsets
As I currently understand it the 6 DEFRA public goods are intended to be delivered individually or jointly by land managers on a "pick and mix" basis, as suits the farm, in return for ELMS money from the public purse. This, as we all know, will be a government run scheme with clear rules.

The industry funded ES benefits, however, will be a commercial contract between the land manager delivering them and the company requiring them, possibly via a brokerage service.

For carbon offsetting I see no good reason why ELMS soil health improvements, for example, receiving public DEFRA money in return, should not also deliver carbon sequestration for which credits are sold to industry at the same time. The rules around verification of compliance will be different for the 2 purposes but that could be accomodated if all parties are willing. For carbon offsetting there will be a requirement that the carbon stays locked up for a set period, probably at least 30 years and maybe even 100 years, so these could be very long contracts.

Biodiversity offsets are a rather different beast. They will require delivery of NEW biodiversity on a site, under contract, for a period of not less than 30 years. There are arguments raging at present between the developers, the DCLG (running the planning system) and the ecology profession about how these should be quantified and specified.

The DCLG and developer view appears to be that the "service" will simply be delivered as "units of biodiversity offset", probably measured in Ha. The Ecology profession argue that the intention is to address the damage done to ecology by development and so the offsets provided must replace (and exceed, as written into the plan hence "biodiversity net gain") the actual type of biodiversity lost on the specific development site. This is MUCH more complicated to deliver and manage.

As an example:

ABC Developments wants to build 300 houses and ancillaiary facilities on a 10Ha improved meadow at the edge of town. The regulations will require them to survey the existing biodiversity on site and deliver the equivalent to that lost by the development +10% somewhere nearby to offset the loss.

DCLG propose that they should just contract with someone to create 33Ha of improved meadow in the local area from land currently in a less biodiverse use (eg: conversion from intensive arable). If they can't find anyone willing to do this then DCLG propose to accept a sum of money in lieu which DCLG will hold in a fund. DCLG will then use that fund to deliver the necessary number of biodiversity offset units anywhere in the region where they can find land managers willing to do it for the sums on offer.

Ecologists say it's much more complex. That improved meadow may have been a key wildlife transit corridor between 2 existing habitats of greater importance. It may have had a ditch network of great eclological importance in it which will be piped for the development. It may have had key rare species of plant in a few places. They say that the actual features lost must be delivered in the offsetting.

Of course, the development may also need to buy carbon credits to offset the embedded carbon in the new houses and infrastructure as well, in addition.
So how does all this fit with FBT’s where we don’t have the luxury of 30 years ahead of us, or even half that in many cases?
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
So how does all this fit with FBT’s where we don’t have the luxury of 30 years ahead of us, or even half that in many cases?
I've wondered that. I suspect it'll come down to:

Owner/occupiers can sign up without issues.

AHA tenants can sign up without issues (with landlord approval, maybe a small rent rise?).

FBT tenants can only take part in co-operation with a sympathetic landlord as a "joint venture". (Possible downside is being tied in to a 30+ year contract with a 3 or 5 year tenant).

Landlords with FBT tenants who are unwilling to enter a 3 way contract including the tenant will not renew the tenancy then engage as owner/occupiers.

None of this has been really thought through yet. As ever, the devil will be very much in the detail. I do actually agree with @onesiedale that farmers need to be getting involved in the discussions around all this to make sure that whatever rules are settled on for it they accomodate farmers' needs as much as everyone else's.
 
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Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
As I see it, the biodiversity ticket should fit ok with an fbt. Obviously it would be a longer term project, but providing trees are not compulsory, biodiversity on a good tenancy could easily be accounted for annually
It should be, but not if contracts have to be in the order of 30 years. 5 or 10 years like mid or higher tier are more realistic.
 

N.Yorks.

Member
It's yet another [FARM] scheme where non-farmers (Landowners) will be rewarded for owning and buying land and not producing food.

Economic madness.

Think the economic madness is that the food isn't valued enough to allow a food producer to actually make money.

Food should be valued and the natural capital (ecosystem services) should also be valued. It's nuts that the main things in life that actually matter for long term survival aren't properly valued ie. quality food, fresh/clean water, clean air and a stable functioning natural environment........ but I think things are shifting slowly.

There's no point producing loads of food and degrading all natural systems which ends up reducing the human population one way or another........ boom and bust is pointless, especially if you actually know it's going to happen.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Think the economic madness is that the food isn't valued enough to allow a food producer to actually make money.

Food should be valued and the natural capital (ecosystem services) should also be valued. It's nuts that the main things in life that actually matter for long term survival aren't properly valued ie. quality food, fresh/clean water, clean air and a stable functioning natural environment........ but I think things are shifting slowly.

There's no point producing loads of food and degrading all natural systems which ends up reducing the human population one way or another........ boom and bust is pointless, especially if you actually know it's going to happen.
These faults were "hard wired" into the prevailing economic theory of the last 100 years...
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
And it's going to take a long time to re-wire it
Professor DasGupta's report for the Treasury last month is a good start. He makes great play of the damage caused by the "externalisation" of these impacts in part economic theory and argues that GDP is not, and never has been, fit for purpose as a measure fur general social progress.
 
Heya, I hope this is appropriate to put in this thread. I am working on my dissertation investigating farmer's experiences with conservations schemes, if you would be able to take ~5 minutes to fill out my questionnaire (8 questions), it would really help me and I'd really appreciate it. The link to my questionnaire is https://qfreeaccountssjc1.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cB04S4zUL0IhlQy
thanks in advance, and I look forward to taking part more in further discussions about subsidies, and learning from this great forum.
Joe
 

The Ruminant

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Hertfordshire
Heya, I hope this is appropriate to put in this thread. I am working on my dissertation investigating farmer's experiences with conservations schemes, if you would be able to take ~5 minutes to fill out my questionnaire (8 questions), it would really help me and I'd really appreciate it. The link to my questionnaire is https://qfreeaccountssjc1.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cB04S4zUL0IhlQy
thanks in advance, and I look forward to taking part more in further discussions about subsidies, and learning from this great forum.
Joe
I tried to complete your questionnaire, managed the first question but then there was no option in question 2 to say “no” and therefore the rest of the questions were not applicable. Sorry!
 

onesiedale

Member
Location
Derbyshire
Sadly , it's just a classic press release that's come out of the communications department. A good news story which will no doubt do the rounds and fill some space. Not much substance to it, but a great starting point to get the discussion going.
I think Arla will be doing some serious head scratching at the prospect of making all of their Morrison suppliers "Net zero carbon British farms". (note it is only British farms that are to be C-neutral. no mention of the rest of the supply chain)
The only get out clause is that it is "their intention"

If farms actually start selling off some of their carbon credits on contract to someone (as discussed in other threads also) where would this leave their ability to supply Morisons? . . . or do Morrisons just expect to bag them all for themselves.

This is potentially a massive move for the UK supermarkets and food supply chain and I do wonder if our representative organisations are prepared for it
 

N.Yorks.

Member
Sadly , it's just a classic press release that's come out of the communications department. A good news story which will no doubt do the rounds and fill some space. Not much substance to it, but a great starting point to get the discussion going.
I think Arla will be doing some serious head scratching at the prospect of making all of their Morrison suppliers "Net zero carbon British farms". (note it is only British farms that are to be C-neutral. no mention of the rest of the supply chain)
The only get out clause is that it is "their intention"

If farms actually start selling off some of their carbon credits on contract to someone (as discussed in other threads also) where would this leave their ability to supply Morisons? . . . or do Morrisons just expect to bag them all for themselves.

This is potentially a massive move for the UK supermarkets and food supply chain and I do wonder if our representative organisations are prepared for it

Good question about the surplus carbon credits. Surely if a farm has a surplus that is a tradeable commodity, so if Morrisons (or anyone else) want them then they'd have to pay whatever the market value is?
Obviously once all industry has achieved zero C then those credits will be worth nowt.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Sadly , it's just a classic press release that's come out of the communications department. A good news story which will no doubt do the rounds and fill some space. Not much substance to it, but a great starting point to get the discussion going.
I think Arla will be doing some serious head scratching at the prospect of making all of their Morrison suppliers "Net zero carbon British farms". (note it is only British farms that are to be C-neutral. no mention of the rest of the supply chain)
The only get out clause is that it is "their intention"

If farms actually start selling off some of their carbon credits on contract to someone (as discussed in other threads also) where would this leave their ability to supply Morisons? . . . or do Morrisons just expect to bag them all for themselves.

This is potentially a massive move for the UK supermarkets and food supply chain and I do wonder if our representative organisations are prepared for it
It seems everyone in the food chain has their eyes on the primary producers' unique ability to sequester crabon at the moment and how to claim it as their own at minimal cost.... :mad:
 

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