DCT partnering on a new regenerative farming project

Published on 19th October 2023

Connecting People and Landscape in a Changing Climate project gets funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to bring wildlife, farmers and communities together to create better outcomes for all.

A collaborative regenerative farming project headed by the Bat Conservation Trust has secured funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund. Connecting People and Landscape in a Changing Climate aims to help farmers transition to regenerative farming. It will also analyse the impact of climate change by using wildlife rehabilitation data, understand local adaptation of some Bechstein’s bats populations, provide ecological training, and increase landscape resilience to climate change.

The funding will mean that an 18-month development phase can run before then applying for the delivery phase which, if successful, will last a further 4 years.

Nora Corkery, CEO of delivery partner Devon Communities Together said: “Devon Communities Together is a champion of the county's rural communities and its natural environment. We are delighted to be a Connecting People and Landscapes project partner. As a long-established charity, we are uniquely placed to engage with Devon’s rural communities creating links with nature to improve community resilience, health and wellbeing.”  

Download the official press release here. 

Connecting People and Landscape in a Changing Climate

Climate change is a threat to food production, as well as to biodiversity. Agriculture covers 70% of the UK and has a huge impact on biodiversity. So, if we can find a way to make farms better for wildlife, we can make a significant impact on our environment too – and help species and agriculture adapt and respond to climate change.

Connecting People and Landscape in a Changing Climate will bring local people and farmers together to build a community around nature positive food production.

One overarching benefit comes from connection itself, which reduces isolation. But also, connections will allow knowledge and skills to pass between groups. Further, expertise about regenerative farming and wildlife monitoring techniques will flow through these connections, which will help restore landscapes and improve biodiversity.

How this helps bats

The project will focus on wildlife conservation and habitat restoration, including ecosystem repair. Nine threatened nocturnal mammal species will be helped directly by this project: seven species of bat, hedgehog, and hazel dormouse.

Bat species this project will specialise in are grey long-eared bats, Bechstein’s bat, barbastelle, serotine, greater and lesser horseshoe bats and the common pipistrelle. It will also deliver positive actions for all 17 UK breeding bat species, farmland birds and a range of other wildlife.

Regenerative farming: helping wildlife and farmers

England’s biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate and the State of Nature report finds that agriculture is the greatest driver of change in last 50 years. Many of the nine species who are the focus of this project have been negatively affected by a reduction in prey availability and habitats due to changes in agricultural practice and pesticide use. A further threat is posed by climate change which requires urgent landscape scale mitigation to help wildlife and farmers.

Regenerative farming can help farmers and the land they manage become more integrated, adaptable and resilient, creating positive impacts for climate change adaptations for many species currently at risk. Plus, a greater understanding of nature-based solutions will help futureproof farms.

Benefits to communities

This project links environmental and human well-being and will result in more people being connected to their natural heritage and the way in which the land is managed. Communities will be better engaged with the landscapes and species around them.

Connecting People and Landscape in a Changing Climate will take a special interest in people from disadvantaged and urban communities. A range of volunteer and paid opportunities will be linked to this project, providing understanding, skills and life changing experiences.

The Connecting Landscapes and People partnership

Connecting People and Landscape in a Changing Climate brings together community groups, farmers, regenerative farming experts, wildlife rehabilitators, and nature conservation organisations.

The partnership is made up of: Bat Conservation Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Devon Communities Together, East Devon AONB, Knepp Estate, South Devon AONB, People’s Trust for Endangered Species and University of Exeter.

Funding for the project has come from National Lottery Heritage Fund, John Swire 1989 Charitable Trust and Natural England

Partner logos for the project