The 2020s are the UN decade of Ecosystem Restoration. Nature Day at COP26 (Saturday 6 November) is an opportunity to consider how careful management of our land can contribute towards the agreed aim of limiting the rise to 1.5°C, while supporting sustainable livelihoods. 

The Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT) was established almost 30 years ago with the objective of supporting a living, working countryside. That means identifying ways in which we can successfully run productive and profitable farms and reverse the decline in farmland biodiversity. These are the solutions we need to feed the world and tackle the twin crises facing our climate and biodiversity. 

Our wildlife monitoring work tracks the impact on biodiversity of the farming processes across our 18 properties. The positive steps our farmers have taken to adopt careful, wildlife-friendly management of farms have had a positive impact on nature. 

Lark Rise Farm in Cambridgeshire is a mixed farm primarily producing cereals. We have reduced field sizes by reinstating hedges, diversified cropping patterns, added grass margins, beetle banks and overwintered stubbles and uses direct drilling to protect the soil. The complex rotations and abundance of natural pest controllers mean that inputs and costs are reduced leading to increased profit margins. 

Lark Rise’s Farmland Bird Index rose over the last 20 years, while nationally it has continued to decline. Most importantly, we have seen increases in Red-listed species such as a four-fold increase in Grey Partridge and the return of Lapwing as a breeding species.  

Farmers face many challenges mitigating and adapting to the changing climate. The CRT can provide a model for high nature value farming.


Dr Vince Lea 

Barton, Cambridge