“Agriculture and societal impacts in the Ebbw catchment under current and future scenarios”

Kevin Eadon-Davies of Caerphilly Borough Council sketches out storyboards of possible agriculture and societal impacts in the Ebbw catchment in a future of changed climate.

Kevin Eadon-Davies: I looked at agriculture and society impacts in the catchment, between now and a high emission scenario, going forward through time and looking at different responses. So would that be how it is now, what it’d be like under the high scenario with no change to agricultural practices, some adaptation and then a large adoption of adaptive farming techniques. That’s a mouthful. So now the situation is the agri sector is dominated by grassland crop and meat production. Sort of mixed use landscape with low profitability. It’s exposed to climate variations and quite close to urban settlements. Going forward to the 2080, under the high scenario with no adaptation, got some nice pictures of sheep and cows that are dead, in their field. Because the water availability’s lower, crops haven’t been changed so there’s less feed-stock. There’s less money available to be put into the local economy because the farmers are not spending anything locally. That has led to an increase in [?] antisocial behaviour. Grassland fires have increased and that’s having a damaging effect, then, on water management in the catchment. Some adaptation, looking at farmers moving away from animal agriculture, towards lower water intense crops. Something like barley or the lucerne grasses and that means that farming is a little bit more viable. They’ve done more active management of water in the catchment and the grassland there is a utopia sort of vision where there’s a full scale switch. Farming is productive. They’ve used lots of alternative crops and agricultural methods to manage their water. The community is more involved and it’s reduced anti-social behaviour and increased economic viability because farming is still providing an economic function. I didn’t know if I did it right but that’s what I did. 


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