Pathways to sustainable land use in Wales
The Welsh Government has ambitious targets for reaching Net Zero while also reversing biodiversity loss and supporting local economies. To explore alternative pathways for achieving these goals, they worked closely with us to downscale the UK version of an international food and land use system model, the FABLE (Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land use and Energy) Calculator, and tailor it to the Welsh context.
We used the FABLE Calculator to explore four pathways: two representing continuation or slight improvements to the current situation, and two alternative approaches to sustainability based on either a Land Sparing or Land Sharing approach. Land Sparing assumes ambitious improvements in crop and livestock productivity to free up land for nature, as modelled in the UK Climate Change Committee reports, while Land Sharing aims to deliver multiple objectives on the same land, which is more in line with the specific land use and policy context in Wales, with its large areas of rough upland grazing.
This report presents the findings from modelling the four pathways to 2050. It demonstrates the relative importance of healthy diets, food waste reduction and agricultural productivity improvements in meeting climate and biodiversity targets. It also investigates the importance of assumptions regarding the share of grazing on intensive or rough grassland, and the share of new forest that is designed to support biodiversity conservation.
The full set of outputs from the FABLE-Wales Calculator for indicators related to land use change, GHG emissions, biodiversity and diets are provided as slides published separately as an annex.