Upland Farming Systems

Distance Learning course next offered January 2019

This module examines the environmental, economic and social viability of various upland farming systems in the UK. Upland environments and land-use are examined in the context of the production and marketing of food from the uplands. The impact on biodiversity and ecosystem service provision, e.g. regulated flooding, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, is reviewed, as are drivers of future change.

The module’s units consist of:

  • Introduction to the UK uplands - what are the uplands? Upland soils and climates.
  • Upland vegetation and ecology - moorland and bogs; natural and cultivated grasslands.
  • Land-use in the uplands - historic uses of the uplands; contemporary uses of the uplands: from production to conservation; alternative land use scenarios.
  • Socio-Economics - socio-economics of upland Britain; government support measures: agri-environment schemes; people and landscape in upland Britain.
  • Animal production: hill and upland beef and sheep production; improved sustainable grazing systems; current and emerging issues.
  • Alternative land-use - alternative foods and crops; bioenergy and industrial crops; forestry.
  • Ecosystem services - ecosystem services provided by the uplands: provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural services.
  • Pressures – part 1 - effects of drainage, burning and overgrazing on soils and biodiversity; effect of increased demand for renewable energy and recreation.
  • Pressures – part 2 - likely effects of changes to UK/EU Upland policy; climate change; effects of      pollution; changes in marketing.
  • Appraisal: ecological and economic appraisal of upland systems.

Contributions from: Dr Phil Hollington, Dr Dave Styles, Dr Mariecia Fraser, Dr Tim Pagella. 

Student Comment: "... [I have used this module to] develop an upland farming unit for FE students, creating better links between farming and environment.”   Mark Needham, Coleg Sir Gar. 

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Existing ATP students please email us at Distance Learner Enquiries@aber.ac.uk

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