Rural land use must change to restore nature and achieve net zero globally. Instead of being a source of emissions, it must remove carbon from the atmosphere, while also making space for nature and food production.
The UK is at the forefront of this transition because it has ambitious nature and climate laws, and because it is reforming its farm payments regime after Brexit.
This report models five land use scenarios that achieve net zero carbon emissions and food goals, with differing impacts on the abundance of wildlife. Our research finds that funding farmers to manage land for nature and the climate would make most of them better off and cost the taxpayer 1.6 times less overall than a scenario where engineered greenhouse gas removals were primarily used to meet net zero.
Without a clear framework, it is much more likely that business as usual, including declining nature, will continue.