North Devon Landscape Pioneer
The Landscape Pioneer is led by Natural England (NE) and is based in the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This Pioneer is testing the use of natural capital in determining environmental priorities and agreeing actions to target them. At its heart is an innovative process for creating a shared plan that identifies where investment in natural capital is most needed and securing new investment for those projects in the Pioneer area.
The Pioneer has already mapped how existing funding for natural capital is distributed across the Biosphere Reserve. Then building on the work the Biosphere has previously done the Pioneer identified the ecosystem services that are provided by the different land uses and has been working with stakeholders to value them and assess how they change over time. Investment priorities – such as water quality or natural flood management – will be established jointly with partners, based on this assessment.
The Pioneer will explore a new local governance model, design and trial a payment for environment services land management scheme for farming, and test natural capital as a tool for engaging communities with the benefits provided by their environment. The Pioneer will also develop our approach to net environment gain through strategic planning building on the biodiversity offsetting work the Biosphere has already done. This should increase investment in North Devon’s most valued natural capital (our landscapes, woodlands and coasts) in the medium to longer term.