Glensaugh Climate-Positive Farming Initiative
Agriculture and related land use contribute significantly to UK greenhouse gas emissions. The Scottish Government and UK Climate Change Committee have pledged to support the necessary changes in land use to achieve net zero and we need to progress with this as a matter of urgency. The James Hutton Institute’s research farms have long been at the forefront of innovation in land and agricultural practices, trialling and testing new farm methods, livestock and crops. Now, more than ever, they are needed to test and demonstrate transformative ways of managing our land. Our Climate-Positive Farming Initiative builds on a long tradition at Glensaugh for wide-ranging research into many different elements of farming – environmental, economic and social.
Climate-positive farming – the concept
Climate-positive farming is a transformational approach to farming that achieves net-zero or negative carbon emissions, whilst also protecting and enhancing the natural assets of a farm and ensuring long-term financial sustainability of the farm business. A key to success is recognising the full societal costs and benefits (actual and potential) from the process of farming - producing food, livelihoods and other multiple benefits for nature and society. Climate-positive farming needs both innovations in technology and in ways of working. Testing and demonstrating results on the ground is also essential to help farmers, policy-makers and other organisations make climate-positive farming a priority. - This is our fundamental philosophy at Glensaugh.
Glensaugh is located in NE Scotland in the Grampian foothills. It is a 1000ha upland livestock farm, with sheep, cattle and red deer, improved and extensive pastures, moorland, woodland and peatland. Glensaugh is expanding it’s woodland cover (including agroforestry) - for carbon storage, biodiversity and other benefits - reflecting the ambitions of the UK and Scottish Governments. Glensaugh has a fantastic collection of historical baseline data and scientific observation spanning many decades, which is ideal for underpinning research and demonstration of the scale and nature of transformation needed in farming, and the significant contribution that the sector can make towards the Government’s climate and biodiversity targets. Glensaugh is a national monitoring centre for the Environmental Change Network (ECN), Cosmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System UK (COSMOS-UK), and Defra Acid deposition (UKEAP) network. Long-term research platforms like Glensaugh are fantastic places to conduct long-run, whole-farm experiments which for a private farmer would be high-risk – as a research farm we can test and demonstrate transformative ways of managing our uplands, underpinned by rigorous science.
Where can I find more information?
Please take a look at our website: https://glensaugh.hutton.ac.uk/ which includes cameos of some of our research, links to data sources and virtual reality tools.