Globally, agriculture is facing an unprecedented set of pressures over the coming decades. After a brief review of recent studies on the challenges facing the food and farming sector, the RSPB offers its views on approaches to balancing agricultural production and conservation in the UK, drawing on case studies from within the charity’s own farming portfolio. There are decisions to be made on how we use our land in the future, including whether we follow the ‘land sparing’ model of intensive agriculture freeing up land for nature conservation objectives; or adopt a ‘land sharing’ approach where wildlife-friendly farming delivers both food and biodiversity. The RSPB conclusion is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ model for the future of farming. Intensive and extensive farms, conventional and organic, arable and livestock, lowland and upland can all form part of the mix. Government, scientists and land managers must focus on addressing the conflicts between farming and conservation to make all farming systems more sustainable. An evidence-based approach, building on sound scientific research and efficient dissemination of new knowledge to land managers, will be critical.


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