Delivering multiple ecosystem services from Enclosed Farmland in the UK

L Firbank, RB Bradbury, DI McCracken, C Stoate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Here, we review the delivery of ecosystem services from Enclosed Farmland in the UK, and explore how the expected demands for ecosystem services might be met in the future. Most Enclosed Farmland is managed for agriculture; the UK is 60% self-sufficient in foods. Pollinators are in serious decline, but little is known of trends of predators of crop pests. Effects of agriculture on water quality and climate regulation are negative but improving; GHG emissions fell by 20% between 1990 and 2008. Recent declines in numbers of some farmland birds and in plant species richness have been halted, though not reversed. Enclosed Farmland provides considerable leisure and cultural value. Effective delivery of multiple ecosystem services requires improved understanding of how ecosystem services are generated, and of their economics and governance. Food production can be integrated with the delivery of other ecosystem services by promoting a diversity of farming systems and allocating land to different ecosystem services according to its suitability. Approaches include, minimising negative environmental impacts of food production through technology; mitigating environmental harm by managing areas for environmental benefit, from patches within fields to much larger areas; and developing markets and regulations for environmental protection. © 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65 - 75
Number of pages11
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Early online date17 Feb 2012
Publication statusPrint publication - 15 Feb 2013

Bibliographical note



  • Land use optimisation
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • UK National Ecosystem Assessment


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