Piloting an Outcomes Based Approach (POBAS) Phases 2 and 3
Piloting an Outcomes-Based Approach in Scotland is an established NatureScot-led project working with 70 farmers and crofters in five clusters across Scotland to engage with a range of farm types (Skye, Argyll, Strathspey, East Lothian, and Dumfriesshire) to test innovative approaches to delivering environmental outcomes on farms and crofts in Scotland. In particular, the project is testing the implementation of a less prescriptive, results-based approach in Scotland, where the level of payment received is dependent on the quality of the outcome delivered. The project also works closely with two partner projects in Shetland (with the RSPB) and in the Outer Hebrides (with the European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism).
The pilot takes forward the concept of delivering outcomes as a place-based approach founded on the principles of greater farmer engagement, innovation and flexibility, providing better value for money and improved environmental outcomes that can help to contribute to more sustainable and resilient land-based businesses.
Phase 1 & 2 ran from April 2019 – March 2021 and received positive support and feedback from participating farmers, crofters, and stakeholders. This initial phase focused on working with farmer clusters to identify environmental outcomes that could be delivered for different farm types in their region; developing habitat scorecards for measuring quality of outcomes and monitoring, and setting out the basis for trialling actual payments and management on the ground in future years.
Phase 3 will run from April 2021-March 2023. Climate and soil outcomes will be tested, along with baseline monitoring using scorecards/guidance. We will develop payment rate proposals and potentially pay participating farms. Depending on budgets, this phase may also include capital works to test how scoring picks up habitat improvements.
Natural Capital DIGITAL (Iceni) App
This project is developing a farmer-friendly app and digital platform to enable farmers to better manage natural environments. The project has been supported through CivTech, working with a small innovative start-up tech company (Iceni) to develop a mobile app and a digital visualisation platform. The aim is to empower farmers to respond to the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and ensure that farmers are empowered as agents of change with actionable data and the right advice, whilst ensuring what they do is aligned to wider environmental monitoring.
Natural Capital Assessment Template
This project is developing a template for farmers, crofters and land managers to carry out a basic assessment of natural capital on their land. A draft template has been produced (end of March 2021) and will go through review in April. It will then be tested in the field with farmers and crofters during 2021 in order to refine it. It has the potential to be used as the basis of whole farm plans in future. It is based on a strong existing evidence from the Natural Capital Protocol which is an internationally standardised framework for the identification, measurement, and valuation of impacts and dependencies on natural capital in order to inform business decisions.