Landscapes of the future
This POSTnote will examine the possibilities for the spatial configuration of landscapes to continue provision for human wellbeing whilst also ensuring space for nature. Much of the UK landscape has been shaped by agricultural and industrial development. Human activities are continuing to act as drivers of environmental change in landscapes both directly, for example, land use change, and indirectly, for example, climate change. Meeting the requirements of a growing population from the UK landscape will increase competition for land in the future, between increasing demands for food production, housing and infrastructure, energy, flood protection and climate regulation. The natural environment provides benefits to society and future economic prosperity, known as ecosystem services, for example through provision of food, fuel and water, nutrient cycling, oxygen production and flood protection. The UK National Ecosystem Assessment, due for completion in March 2011, is the first analysis of this kind and will include future scenarios and outline policy options for their long-term sustainable delivery. Policy decisions on landscapes of the future will need to take into account the long term impacts of land use changes and human activities. Land use or land system science can inform which configurations or spatial arrangements of landscapes are sufficient to maintain the outputs of goods and services that people value.
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Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology of the UK Parliament (POST)
United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland