Stakeholder Workshop in Dorset
The project brings together stakeholders to brainstorm, exchange knowledge and support shared aims and activities...
On the 24th January, the project convened a workshop in Dorset, UK, that brought together different researchers, facilitators and Agrifood system stakeholders to discuss important aspects of leveraging Natural Capital within agriculture.
Institutional representatives attended from local forestry and water management organisations as well as farm and Agrifood businesses. Project participants from The Game and Wildlife Trust, The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, The James Hutton Institute and Taskscape Associates ran sessions to support key areas of interest:
Developing a supportive and useful stakeholder network for the project and helping workshop participants build out their own networks
Exploring Natural Capital impacts and dependencies in farming and the management of ecosystem services under biodiversity strategies adopted in farmer clusters
Examining public and private schemes for the adoption of biodiversity enhancing practices
The goal of the workshop was to depict interactions between stakeholders and how they relate to a series of domains referring to farm management, habitat creation, natural capital and ecosystem services and species enhancement with further consideration for human and social indicators applying to the farm. A series of activities and discussions explored and revealed links between actors and outputs generated by farmer clusters relating to natural, human social, and economic capital.
We aimed to better understand how farmers choose between different options of public or private schemes and how these schemes can be best designed to support their adoption of biodiversity-enhancing practices. The session served as a reality check for the project's study design.
Engagement and valuable feedback from attendees provided contributions to the development of future public and private agri-environmental schemes targeted at the needs of farmers.
Simone Martino, Senior Researcher in Valuing Natural Capital at The James Hutton Institute reports:
This was my first workshop as organiser, and I must be frank that I was quite nervous a few days before the event because of the difficulty to anticipate the reactions of farmers and institutional stakeholders about the different activities organised with the goal of facilitating the drawing of a map of social relations. I would say that farmers enjoyed these exercises, and probably found the entire session would have deserved more time to tell us more stories and fully explain the connections within the socio-ecological system of the Cranborne Chase.
Institutional stakeholders and farmers were all well motivated in participating to the workshops as much as the research group and vividly expressed the idea of being kept informed on the results of the socio-ecological network to help them deliver a better environmental output while implementing biodiversity sensitive farming practises.
This activity gave us a terrific output relevant to build the narrative that facilitates the evaluation of the links between different forms of capital (natural, human, social, etc.) as well as dependencies and impacts on the natural environment. It will be part of a broader set of approaches to be developed in the coming months based on profiling a quantitative natural capital approach operating in the farmer clusters and a decision support system to identify effective agricultural policy strategies at the regional and national scale.