Representatives from the sustainable finance and investment sector have been on a farm visit organised by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) as part of a major programme to improve integration between the financial sector and biodiversity. The visit was an opportunity to showcase new technologies and how the data they collect can optimise planning for biodiversity interventions, and verify public and private investment in nature-positive land management.

The visit on 12 July 2023 to the large-scale commercial Hendred Estate farm in Oxfordshire was organised as part of the Integrating Finance & Biodiversity programme. The Hendred Estate is one of the study farms in the UKCEH-led AgZero+ programme supporting the UK’s transition towards sustainable and carbon-neutral domestic food production that has a positive effect on nature.

Julian Gold and Richard Pywell talking about sustainable farming to a group of visitors on a farm
Prof Richard Pywell, UKCEH (left) and Julian Gold, Hendred Estate farm manager, talk to visitors from the sustainable finance sector

Achieving meaningful nature recovery will require new investment mobilised from the private sector to help implement more and better sustainable, low-carbon land management practices. High quality ecological data and models will quantify benefits to nature from investments made and help to reduce risk in future nature markets.

During the visit, UKCEH scientists demonstrated advances in biodiversity monitoring using AI technologies, E-Tools for supporting sustainable farming, and methods of monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from farmland. Farm manager Julian Gold highlighted farm management practices to reduce emissions, increase carbon capture and support wildlife, such as agroforestry and in-field wildflower strips.

Ross Morrison from UKCEH beside a flux tower that measures site-level greenhouse gas emissions

Ross Morrison from UKCEH describes site-level monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions

Two UKCEH scientists in a farm field beside a biodiversity monitoring station

Tom August (left) and Richard Pywell talk about automated biodiversity monitoring using an AMI-trap

Professor Richard Pywell, Head of Biodiversity science at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, “This was an excellent opportunity to bring members of the finance community to a working farm and highlight some of the science-led approaches needed to develop investment markets for nature recovery.”

The Integrating Finance & Biodiversity for a Nature Positive Future is a £7million programme co-led by the Natural Environment Research Council and Innovate UK.