A new POSTnote from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology published online this week explores two approaches to managing land for balancing nature conservation with sustainable food production. The POSTnote Balancing Nature and Agriculture, compares ‘land sharing’ (the integration of agricultural objectives and wildlife benefits on the same land), and ‘land sparing’ (the separation of intensive farming areas from protected natural habitats at larger scales).

Current CAP funding primarily rewards land sharing through agri-environment schemes, while land sparing involves two key components; sustainable intensification of farmed land, and restoration of ‘spared’ areas for nature. The decision to use one strategy over the other, and at different scales, can have implications for what types of biodiversity and habitats are protected.

The POSTnote outlines the on-going debate as to whether the UK has the appropriate combination of land sparing and land sharing to optimise the balance of nature and agriculture.