Landscape as an integrating framework for upland management
The spotlight has been on upland environments in the first decade of the new millennium. This focus has resulted from many factors, but primarily the emphasis that has been placed on developing a sustainable agricultural sector in which ‘farmers continue to receive payment from the public purse, but only for public benefits that the public wants and needs’ (Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, 2002) and more specifically the Defra review of the system of financial support for upland farming. As the debate has evolved, it is notable that the arguments have increasingly been framed in terms of upland environments as ecosystems, with an emphasis on biodiversity values and ecosystem goods and services. This no doubt reflects current trends in environmental thinking and policy, and especially Defra’s Ecosystems Approach project, which is working ‘to develop a more strategic approach to policy and decision making on the natural environment’ and aims to provide ‘an integrated framework for looking at whole ecosystems in policy making’ (Defra, 2007).