Natural areas, the whole countryside approach and sustainable agriculture

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Natural Areas are biogeographical zones which reflect the geological foundation, the natural systems and processes, and the wildlife in different parts of England, and provide a framework for setting objectives for nature conservation. This paper argues, with particular reference to agro-ecosystems, that there is a need for an integrated, whole countryside approach to Natural Areas based on the principles of `strong’ sustainable development. In practice, this means the delineation of conservation objectives for the whole of each Natural Area and the application of policy instruments designed to address the causes of environmental loss and deterioration. The latter requires, it is argued, a structural analysis of generic environmental issues. A generic issues approach is required in order to avoid the pitfalls of environmental `symptom management’ (environmental managerialism), an approach which dominates current environmental and agri-environmental policy. Necessary as such discrete action programmes and measures may be as short-term `fire-fighting’ responses to immediate threats, environmental managerialism as a policy framework epitomises a non-holistic and `disintegrated’ approach to nature conservation. The paper goes on to discuss the configuration of agri-environmental policy that will be required to address generic agricultural impacts on biodiversity and the constraints and opportunities for its implementation that are likely to arise within the context of further CAP reform and the forthcoming round of WTO negotiations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-294
Number of pages16
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Natural Areas
  • Whole countryside approach
  • BiodiversitySustainable agriculture
  • Common Agricultural Policy


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