LAND360 Case Study: Helmingham Estate

The LAND360 Mapping+ service is being used to help farm manager, Glenn Buckingham, at Helmingham Estate get a picture of the biodiversity and carbon footprint of this ancient parkland.

By using science and data to create a natural capital baseline, the LAND360 team at Fera is helping one Suffolk estate continue its journey towards driving long-term environmental sustainability and profitability.  

We hear from Glenn Buckingham, Farm Manager at Helmingham Estate on the steps taken using LAND360 so far. 


Why do Farmers and Estate Owners need to Understand Natural Capital?


We need to think about the fact that as land managers we really are also habitat managers, natural capital managers and ecosystem managers. 


It’s becoming more and more imperative that we understand our inputs and the implications of what we do on the land we manage.


With changes in upcoming schemes such as BPS payments, we know we have to see how we’re going to find additional income from existing resources such as opportunities which reward investment in natural capital assets. 


Knowing that there is potential value in natural capital, you realise you need to know what natural assets you’ve got to begin with.  


So we realised we needed to have some kind of survey across our farms and estates, hence why we have embarked on the journey with Fera and LAND360. 


Building a Natural Capital Baseline 


On the estate, we have been in countryside stewardship schemes for a long time, always working towards enhancing biodiversity across the land. We have restored 38 of the original 50 ponds on the home farm, as well as recently planting 600 new trees as part of an agroforestry scheme. 


Following on from a Suffolk Farming Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) group farm walk, held at Helmingham, where guest speakers from Fera shared the importance of ‘taking stock’ of natural capital, we decided to explore what LAND360 could do to assess the natural capital assets across the estate.  


The initial remote mapping survey of the estate was done using LAND360 Mapping+. This bird’s eye view of the estate provided information detailing how many individual parcels of land we had. 


From the survey, we now have an area-based spreadsheet detailing the parcels of land we have, which provides a good indication of the habitats across the area. 


I am really looking forward to the next step with Fera where they will come on-site to ground truth and look at the quality of the habitats and our current capacity to store carbon using LAND360 Scoring+.


Long-Term Sustainability Planning  


Starting on this journey means we can identify good and poor-quality habitats. From this we can potentially use funding from existing environmental schemes to improve the habitats.  


We may also be able to trade carbon at £30 a tonne, but quite what seven species of bats on our farm, or three species of owl or 12 newts per pond are worth, we are not sure yet.   


We have to futureproof for future generations, so it is really important to know what we are starting with and its potential. 


To find out more about the science-based approach to managing and measuring your natural capital, visit:  What is LAND360?   


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