TEAMING UP TO OFFER REWILDING AND REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE CONSULTANCY BY IVAN DE KLEE, KNEPP ESTATE AND DOMINIC BUSCALL, WILD KEN HILL

TEAMING UP TO OFFER REWILDING AND REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE CONSULTANCY

by IVAN DE KLEE, KNEPP ESTATE AND DOMINIC BUSCALL, WILD KEN HILL

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We are excited to offer a new consultancy service for our client on rewilding and regenerative agriculture with two of the UK’s leading practitioners.

At Rural Solutions we are passionate about the British countryside and the opportunities it provides, and increasingly we have seen that many of our clients share this passion and increased focus on nature, and nature recovery.

We are therefore launching a new collaboration with two of the country’s leading wilding and regenerative practitioners, Dominic Buscall from Wild Ken Hill and Ivan de Klee from Knepp Castle Estate.

Read on to find out more about them – and keep an eye on your inbox and social to be the first to hear about our rewilding and regenerative agriculture webinar.

Photographs by Les Bunyan

TEAMING UP TO OFFER REWILDING AND REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE CONSULTANCY

There’s an increasing interest among UK land managers in rewilding and regenerative agriculture.

This interest should not be distracted by the contested and potentially prescriptive nature of the two terms. In our opinion, in a land management context, they should ultimately be considered as flexible land management tools.

Put simply, rewilding is process-led nature conservation, creating a wilder system driven by nature not targets; regenerative agriculture is a style of farming focused on soil health as well as yield, and learns from natural systems to achieve these. Both can be adapted to the context of a particular holding.

The growing interest among land managers in these tools is driven not only by the possibility of using them to restore biodiversity to their land holdings, but also to respond to the commercial challenges presented by Brexit and the phasing out of the Single Farm Payment.

Yet, the availability of quality advice on making these transitions is still poor, particularly around the critical operational and commercial aspects. We are therefore delighted to be working with Rural Solutions to bring an enhanced proposition to clients considering innovative land use changes. Specifically, to share the experience and the expertise we have gained establishing and working on two of the UK’s leading rewilding and regenerative farming projects to optimise estate and land management decision-making.  

WHO WE ARE

Rewilding Knepp Estate

IVAN DE KLEE

Ivan took the long route into UK conservation. Having grown up working on farms and estates across the UK, Kenya and Australia, by the time he graduated he knew that wildlife conservation and regenerative land management was the only career he would ever do.

Ivan first worked at Knepp in 2015 on the farm as a stock assistant whilst he was on an off-season from work in India where he was running a safari lodge. Since then, Ivan has worked in South Sudan for Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and on Borana conservancy in Kenya. Despite loving the adventure of international wildlife conservation, home was calling and having stayed in touch he returned to Knepp.

Ivan now heads up all Rewilding and Natural Capital opportunities at Knepp and facilitates the rewilding workshops with Charlie Burrell. Aside from this he is the facilitator of the Upper Adur Farmers group – a cluster of farmers in the Low Weald who are adopting more regenerative and wildlife friendly farming systems. A practitioner and an all-rounder, Ivan has a Masters in Conservation Science from Imperial College London and an undergraduate degree in World Religions for Trinity College Dublin.

Rewilding Ken Hill Estate

DOMINIC BUSCALL

After graduating with first-class degrees in History and Management from Durham and Imperial College London respectively, Dominic spent five years with global strategy firm L.E.K. Consulting.

In 2018, Dominic returned to the family farm, Ken Hill, to build a new strategy for the estate that would thrive post-Brexit and the change in UK agricultural and environmental policy. The farm subsequently embarked on the "Wild Ken Hill" project, which utilises rewilding, regenerative farming and traditional conservation land use tools across different areas of the 4,000-acre farm. The project has secured a significant Countryside Stewardship agreement, but more importantly has unlocked the potential for significant new tourism and natural capital-related income streams. Dominic expects these to provide long-term commercial viability for the farm and estate.

GROWING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LAND MANAGERS, NATURALLY / GROWING SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR LAND MANAGERS

The collaboration with Rural Solutions is extremely exciting for us both. Rural Solutions’ wide client base and expertise in delivering new estate strategies will allow us to help other land managers improve the commercial sustainability of their farms and estates by embedding nature into their land management techniques.

We have both found that, applied in the right context, rewilding and regenerative agriculture land uses can materially boost farm profitability, while making measurable impacts to onsite and national biodiversity. Of course, we are also both fortunate now to be living in more naturalistic and arguably more beautiful landscapes as a result of these changes. 

Having gone through the process ourselves, we appreciate that getting the right information and perspectives from practitioners is critical when considering changes to land uses that likely have otherwise remained static for decades. As practitioners now, we’ve both gained experience delivering advice to those considering rewilding and similar projects of their own. Ivan runs several of the workshops for practitioners at Knepp and has supported other land managers on rewilding before. Dominic similarly has provided advice to a number of other nascent rewilding projects and has led dozens of land managers on guided learning tours at Wild Ken Hill, helping them to understand the operational and commercial aspects to the project. 

We are now greatly looking forward to taking our learnings from Knepp and Wild Ken Hill into other contexts, helping other land managers to simultaneously do great things for nature and for their businesses. 

 

For more information or to start a conversation please contact us at rewilding@ruralsolutions.co.uk

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