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Food production or environmental conservation: competition for land in the United Kingdom and Canada

Marr, Eric Joseph (2018) Food production or environmental conservation: competition for land in the United Kingdom and Canada. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

With a growing global population projected to surpass 9 billion by 2050, and associated food demand anticipated to increase by 70 to 100%, food security has emerged as a land-use challenge of critical importance. This has raised concerns regarding how increased agricultural production can be achieved without compromising the natural environment. This challenge of balancing agricultural and environmental land-uses occurs at a range of scales addressed by this research, beginning with high level policies and working down towards farmers, the actors ultimately responsible for the management of arable land. The study was comprised of three interconnected research projects completed in two regions of comparison: Ontario, Canada and England, United Kingdom. First, I compared the agri-environmental land-use policy context of both cases through a thematic analysis of policy documentation. Second, I completed 24 interviews with representatives of agricultural and environmental stakeholder organisations to examine the agri-environmental land-use preferences of these actors. Third, I conducted 30 interviews with farmers to investigate their views and motivations relating to the adoption of pro-environmental activities. In addition, due to the timing of the research, an unanticipated opportunity arose to explore the views of stakeholder organisations and farmers in England on post-Brexit agri-environmental policy. Overall, my main finding was that England and Ontario have taken very different approaches to managing competition between agricultural and environmental land-uses with Ontario leaning towards land-sparing and England toward land-sharing. I found that this may be partially explained by different stakeholder preferences for agri-environmental land allocation and the attachment of actors to different agricultural paradigms (productivism / post-productivism). Importantly, the use of an original multi-level comparison of agri-environmental land-use in England and Ontario illuminated many similarities and differences that would not have been apparent in the analysis of a single case. As a result, the thesis offers multiple contributions to knowledge for rural, land-use, and comparative studies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > Environment (York)
Depositing User: Mr Eric Joseph Marr
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2018 16:35
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2018 16:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21552

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