Beautiful Belties in The Yorkshire Dales A herd of beautiful belties

Impact on farming and land management

Within the National Park livestock farmers over several centuries have created a traditional pastoral landscape – much of which survives today. The onset of climate change is likely to be a key influence on how this landscape is managed in the future, with changes to land and farm management systems likely as growing seasons and habitats change.

Potential climate change impacts include:

  • changes in grazing patterns with increasingly dry conditions in limestone and hay meadow habitats and boggier conditions around rivers and streams;
  • changes in use of land, with a switch from livestock to arable and forage crops such as maize. This would be most likely on the eastern edge of the National Park, affecting approximately 10% of the current productive farmland;
  • livestock requiring more shelter – both for shade in the summer and from storms and wetter conditions in the winter;
  • management changes being required on moorland, as a result of drier conditions and potential increases in the occurrence of wildfires.

Farmers and land managers are being supported through the Catchment Sensitive Farming project to adapt to the impacts of increased levels of flooding and wetter conditions. The Yorkshire Peat Partnership will play a key role in influencing management changes on moorland habitats.