Overview of research programme

The general objective of the SRF programme is to facilitate the development of a sustainable land based sector in the south west through social scientific research and related knowledge exchange activities. The focus is on enabling the agricultural economy to respond to strategic challenges of food, energy and environment.

General approach

The SRF programme is employing the framework of ecosystems services and assessment to synthesise its research and knowledge exchange activities. Ecosystem assessment is designed to provide a way of exploring the state and value of natural resources as the basis for more informed decision making.

This framework allows the programme to assess different trajectories of sustainability in an integrated way but it also places our research activities at the forefront of national debates about emerging approaches to sustainable resource management in a rural/agricultural context. 

Geographical focus

The geographical focus of the programme’s research activities is region wide though a particular focus of empirical inquiry is on the area of countryside located between Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor: the “land between the moors”.

Research themes

Using the framework of ecosystems services and assessment a structured programme of research and knowledge exchange activities is being undertaken around four thematic strands. The approximate timings for these activities are summarized in the table below.

Thematic area2009/102011201220132014
Provisioning services:
Food, fuel, and fibre
Regulating services:
Managing water resources
Cultural services:
Vocational and therapeutic benefits of land
Long term challenges and policy responses

An important base line element of the programme has been to undertake an extensive survey of farm enterprises in the region.