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A nexus perspective on competing land demands: wider lessons from a UK policy case study

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posted on 01.04.2016, 11:50 authored by Maria Sharmina, Claire Hoolohan, Alice Bows-Larkin, Paul J. Burgess, James ColwillJames Colwill, Paul Gilbert, David C. Howard, Jerry Knox, Kevin Anderson
As nations develop policies for low-carbon transitions, conflicts with existing policies and planning tools are leading to competing demands for land and other resources. This raises fundamental questions over how multiple demands can best be managed. Taking the UK as an empirical example, this paper critiques current policies and practices to explore the interdependencies at the water-energy-food nexus. It considers how current land uses and related policies affect the UK’s resilience to climate change, setting out an agenda for research and practice relevant to stakeholders in land-use management, policy and modelling. Despite recent progress in recognising such nexus challenges, most UK land-related policies and associated science continue to be compartmentalised by both scale and sector and seldom acknowledge nexus interconnections. On a temporal level, the absence of an over-arching strategy leaves inter-generational trade-offs poorly considered. Given the system lock-in and the lengthy policy-making process, it is essential to develop alternative ways of providing dynamic, flexible, practical and scientifically robust decision support for policy-makers. A range of ecosystem services need to be valued and integrated into a resilient land-use strategy, including the introduction of non-monetary, physical-unit constraints on the use of particular services.


The authors would like to thank the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number ES/L01632X/1) and the Nexus Network for funding this research.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Environmental Science & Policy




74 - 84


SHARMINA, M. ... et al., 2016. A nexus perspective on competing land demands: wider lessons from a UK policy case study. Environmental Science & Policy, 59, pp.74-84.


Elsevier (© the authors)


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

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