During 2021 the Cambrian Mountains Initiative and the Summit to Sea project came together to collaborate on a research project with farmers and other natural resource managers.
This research explored:
- What is the relationship between business and nature currently?
- What are businesses’ aspirations for the future?
- Will they benefit nature directly or indirectly if implemented?
- How can the initiatives support business development that will have positive benefits for nature, community, and the economy?
Interviews and workshops as part of this work were undertaken between June and November 2021. The team appointed to undertake this work included several locally based interviewers, with the research including:
- Building a list of over 100 businesses working with the natural resources.
- Individual one to one discussion with 50 of these businesses (aiming for a spread across the area, business type and size).
- A face to face meeting with 25 farmers and an online meeting with 4 tourism businesses.
This research focussed on businesses that have a relationship with natural resources where that relationship is fundamental to their commercial activity. These were businesses that have a direct relationship with natural resources through using them or harvesting them, for example farming; and businesses that have an indirect relationship but where the natural resources are still core to the business model, for example mountain biking centres.
The research explored how the people managing these businesses see and understand the relationship between their business and nature, how this intersects with the community and landscape the business operates in, and what opportunities and challenges they see for the future of their business and its relationship with nature.
“Farming is an essential element of the Cambrian Mountains economy and our communities.
It is inspiring to see the range of ways Cambrian Mountains farmers want to take forward their businesses – for example, regenerative agriculture, carbon farming, more cattle grazing on the hill to open up dense molinia, better management of boundaries and trees. These things all have the potential to improve the farm business.
Because these things also help the climate and nature recovery all of us will end up benefiting if farmers are able to deliver these ambitions.”
This research found that each business could provide many examples of the ways in which they are benefiting nature and that many businesses want to do even more for nature. Many of these businesses plan for a long-term future because they represent people’s livelihoods (often across past and future generations), so they offer a long-term vehicle for delivering benefits for community, the local economy, nature, and climate.
The research demonstrated an appetite amongst these businesses to work collaboratively, with one another, and with Cambrian Mountains Initiative and Summit to Sea, to further develop the ideas that emerged during this work. This would support the common ground that exists between all to nurture local communities, to have productive landscape, to enable nature recovery and to play a positive role in tackling climate change.
These research findings have been developed into a series of project concepts that reflect what was heard through the interviews and workshops. You can read more about these project concepts in the summary and full reports provided below.
This research has been integral to informing both the Summit to Sea co-design process, which can now be read in the Project Blueprint, and the Cambrian Mountains Initiative forward planning.
Thank you to everyone who gave their time to this research.