The publication of the Lawton Report in 2010 highlighted the need for a joined-up approach to management of the countryside to benefit nature and wildlife.
As a result, farmer-led clusters have formed across the country, with farmers and land managers working together on a landscape scale to link their environmental work. https://www.farmerclusters.com/
The Selborne Landscape Partnership (SLP) was established in 2014 when a group of local farmers met with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) to develop the group. The SLP grew from there and in 2016 secured funding from Natural England to employ a coordinator who has been crucial to the success of the Partnership.
As well as the farmer members, other organisations managing wildlife sites within the Partnership include:
• Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust - Noar Hill Nature Reserve
• The National Trust - Selborne Common and The Lythes
• Gilbert White’s House & Museum
• Woodland Trust – Binswood
• Chawton House
• Blackmoor Golf Club
• Ahmadiyya Muslim Association
The value of the cluster lies in the motivation of the Partners within it; their love for the local landscape and wildlife, and their long-term aims and ambitions to have a positive impact on biodiversity. A cluster of farmers/land managers working together can achieve wildlife benefits that exceed the sum of the parts.
Understanding and coordinating one farm’s environmental work with that of its neighbours will deliver corridors and networks of wildlife habitat (food and shelter), rather than just isolated pockets. This enables species to move across a wide area, joining up populations, which results in healthier and more resilient wildlife. A landscape scale approach is important not only for wildlife but also for soil and water benefits.