The ERAMMP Integrated Modelling Platform (IMP) is a computer model that simulates the potential effects of government policies on agriculture and the natural environment in Wales.
The IMP has been jointly designed by the ERAMMP consortium and the Welsh Government. It has been specifically tailored to provide information to support the development of new policies focused on natural resource management, land use and agriculture under a range of Welsh economic and regulatory futures. The IMP allows emerging policy ideas to be explored and stress-tested prior to final design and implementation.
The IMP comprises a chain of specialised, state-of-the-art models customised (as best as possible) with Welsh data. These models cover agriculture, forestry, land use allocation, biodiversity and a range of ecosystem services (including water quality, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions/carbon sequestration) and their valuation. The IMP takes an integrated approach that recognises that policy effects in one sector have indirect effects in other sectors. In this way, the IMP explicitly accounts for biophysical and socio-economic interactions between sectors.
The model is designated as business critical by Welsh government and, as a result, it complies with the stringent quality assurance processes of the UK government Aqua Book. This includes a focus on transparency with respect to the assumptions that underpin the model and a critical assessment of how the model results should and should not be interpreted.
The ERAMMP IMP is an invaluable tool for exploration and stress-testing ideas in an integrated manner. However, it is only one part of the information WG use to support their decisions. The transparent, self-critical, iterative approach is essential to highlight where information from others sources is needed to contextualise the decisions made.
The IMP development is led by UKCEH in partnership with Cranfield University, Forest Research, RSK ADAS, BTO and eftec; working closely with the Welsh Government.
Alignment of the IMP to Policy Objectives
The main aim of the IMP is to inform policy development by providing rapid, integrated assessments of the impacts of changing policy or economic scenarios on agriculture and the environment. The IMP has been used to investigate the impacts of post EU Exit trade deals on land use, agriculture and public goods/ecosystem services. It is being further adapted to directly support the development of the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS); Welsh Government’s replacement to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.
Policy interventions (such as changes in agricultural subsidies and scheme payments) and external drivers (such as changes in commodity prices due to new trading relationships) serve as inputs for the IMP, alongside other environmental and socio-economic variables.
Application of multiple scenarios (consisting of consistent changes in a range of inputs) enable rapid exploration of their impacts on agricultural, socio-economic, and public goods/ecosystem service outcomes.
Where possible, the integrated and rapid exploration of natural resource policy and land management under a range of future scenarios are aligned to Welsh Government policy objectives including:
The IMP enables integrated rapid assessment of natural resource policy options. The model assesses changes in:
- Farm type and profitability
- Agricultural income
- Agricultural production
- Land use and livestock numbers
- Suitability of species populations for plants and birds
- Woodland habitat connectivity
- Woodland productivity and harvested wood products
- Carbon in soils, vegetation and biomass
- GHG emissions from land use, land use change and forestry, agriculture and peat
- Water quality (nitrate, phosphorus and sediment load)
- Water framework Directive P status and drinking water N status
- Air quality (PM2.5 concentration and effects on human health)
- Values across a range of public goods / ecosystem services over 5, 25 and 75 years
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