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Sustainability in the uplands Finding the balance Keith Jones - West Snowdonia and Llŷn Countryside Manager.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainability in the uplands Finding the balance Keith Jones - West Snowdonia and Llŷn Countryside Manager."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainability in the uplands Finding the balance Keith Jones - West Snowdonia and Llŷn Countryside Manager

2 Think integrated, think planning! 7000Ha integrated land management project 10,000m2 of dry stone walling Sheep down from 3100 to 1200 – introduction of 60 cattle to Snowdon 193 separate projects 400ha of invasive species managed 50km of footpaths 8km of Riverine work £2 million of building work to ensure sustainability GDP raised 6% locally £4.75 million

3 Hafod y Llan - part of the project 4116 acres estate inc 2 scheduled ancient monuments, listed buildings, SSSi’s, SAC& NNR. 7 houses, 2 outdoor education centres, 4 bunk houses and chalets. 2 farm houses 4000 ewes and ewe lambs –down to 700 5 lakes, 400 acres of Atlantic oak woods, upland ash woods, juniper heath, wet & dry heath. 60 pedigree welsh black Farm Manager, 2 shepherds, monitoring officer Hafod y Llan

4 Where next? Gelli Iago Hafod Garegog IAGO

5 Facts and features Gelli Iago 1500 acre mountain farm (Cnicht) 600 ewes Bog, wet & dry heaths, woodland, acid grassland 40 summer grazing cattle Scheduled ancient monument site S16 agreement No low land Low management input Hafod Garegog National Nature reserve 400 acres at sea level Under grazed in areas Bats, dragon flies, oak, butterflies… Cultural significance Large wind damage in 2002 Jewel in the crown Ospreys

6 Context Agriculture on the cusp of major change De-coupling showing its effects on grazing Cattle prices at their lowest Already seeing loss of grazing on commons Time of unprecedented change, no stability or certainty Undergrazing/ overgrazing threatening many species Where to go? intensive or extensive. What will future habitats look like? Culture and language effects Climate change

7 Original objective for the farm “ To practice and demonstrate environmentally responsible land-use by integrating the needs of: landscape conservation habitat management recreation protection of historic interest agricultural husbandry”

8 Current management Gelli Iago Part of the Hafod y Llan system Partial habitat recovery Woodland, wet and dry heath, acid grassland No cattle on the mountain Sheep tress pass No woodland recovery off wintering in Llyn & Denbigh No designation Limited access Invasive species (Organic land) Hafod Garegog National Nature Reserve Mosaic of bog, wet & dry heaths & oak woodlands No grazing in the woodlands. Little or no grazing on heaths and bogs Woodland structure returning Invasive species (from Gelli Iago) Active management on the bogs Feature driven management Limited access

9 National Trust context “ The objective should be to promote agriculture which is sustainable economically, environmentally and socially in all areas.” NT Farming for the Future, 2001 Showing leadership in the regeneration of the countryside National Trust strategic plan, core priority

10 What do we want here? “To investigate & demonstrate the economic viability of an upland farm where the main driver for management is the environment” Questions. How ‘high’ do we set the bar! What do we want the farm to look like? What mechanisms would be best suited to deliver? How do we ensure it is ‘credible’? What does Hafod Garegog want?

11 Options Leave it to its own business To meet our objectives Carry on as we are Mountain Cattle and boundary sheep Or any combination of the above More extensiveStewardship No Management

12 How do the options measure up? OptionsEnvironmentalSocio/culturalEconomic Extensive system + Habitat gain, (more ‘natural’ systems) - Some species could suffer - Invasive species could spread + Maintains ‘farming’ in the uplands. - Loss of sheep ‘cynefin’? - Sheep trespass + Providing a better income than traditional systems (less inputs). - Less labour required “Naturalistic” - Mass sheep trespass, + Habitat expansion. (woodland, dwarf shrub) - Denser matt grasses, - loss of some species - Invasive species allowed free reign. - Features degrade (Hafod Garegog) - prosecution - Not supporting a ‘family’ - Loss of land management skills and knowledge. - Language implications + No inputs -No income from produce. +Subsidy might continue for a while! -Would still require boundary management Steady as she goes - Habitat remains suppressed. - No woodland regeneration. - Organic problems with invasive species + Some habitat regeneration + Maintains skills + Continues to develop the ‘welsh mountain sheep breed’ + est. £20,000 net - Current funding is programmed to taper. Farm will become un-viable in the near future

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