The overall aims of this project are to understand the resilience of livestock production in remote upland regions of the UK to climate change and other shocks, the consequences to the global and local food systems of these responses, and to provide policy makers, food chain actors and individual stakeholders’ knowledge with which to adapt to challenges to food systems.
To achieve these aims, the following research questions have been identified:
What are the key vulnerabilities of upland beef and sheep production to global environmental change?
What are the consequences of technological interventions and policy changes on upland beef and sheep system resilience?
What impact would a range of plausible future scenarios have on the upland beef and sheep system resilience?
What set of production, economic, environmental and social metrics are required in order to assess both existing interactions and future capacity to absorb shocks and adapt to change in current beef and sheep upland systems?
The objectives of the project are therefore:
To conduct systematic stakeholder and social network analyses within four upland study areas representative of a gradient of climatic and livestock production challenges
To identify key livestock health, welfare and production challenges within the study areas together with opportunities to address these
To develop metrics to examine the economic resilience of beef, sheep and specialist sheep farms within the study areas
To assess the impacts – both positive and negative – that livestock farming systems in the study areas are having on the environment and what would happen if livestock farming ceased or changed substantively in nature
To explore the consequences on livestock farmers and food systems of future plausible scenarios for the study areas and use these to stimulate stakeholder discussions about the implications for a range of stakeholders and the uncertainties they may be facing
To ensure that the challenges facing those livestock systems, potential impacts of change and the opportunities to address those challenges are understood and recognised by a greater range of society than is presently the case