Natural capital opportunities for farmers survey

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Alan Robertson

The Natural capital opportunities for farmers survey has been launched and will help to support development of future payment schemes.  

Natural capital is the umbrella term for natural assets that benefit humankind such as woodlands, peatlands and rivers. Ecosystem services are the benefits that flow from these assets, for example carbon storage and clean water.

Historically, it has been difficult to value these natural assets and reward those who look after them by paying for the ecosystem services that are provided. However, in recent years, better ways have been developed to do so, for example through the Woodland and Peatland Carbon Codes.

Farmers and land managers can develop new natural capital by planting trees and establishing new habitat to store carbon, increase biodiversity and improve water quality. However the mechanism for receiving payment for these benefits is quite complex and has tended to work in favour of large landowners, with big projects.

A partnership of Soil Association, Organic Research Centre, Woodland Trust and Finance Earth are currently investigating the barriers and potential solutions to more small and medium size farms developing natural capital projects and attracting investment for the benefits that are provided to wider society from these projects. Part of this work involves a feasibility assessment for an Aggregated Whole Farm approach to accessing natural capital markets utilising a short survey to test understanding, attitude and barriers for small and medium sized farms to engage in natural capital projects.

This short questionnaire seeks to better understand some of the barriers and test what might help to build solutions. The Natural capital opportunities for farmers survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and your response is will help them to support development of future payment schemes.  

More information about FIRNS can be found at FIRNS