Cheviot Futures is about working with farmers, land managers and others to find ways of responding to the threats and opportunities presented by climate change.
The impacts are varied. Drought, flooding, unpredictable temperatures, changing weather conditions and soil erosion are already affecting farming and forestry.
Cheviot Futures hopes to bring landowners together to share ideas and best practice. The aim is to find ways of safeguarding the rural economy through more sustainable approaches to land management.
What is happening now
The Northumberland village of Harbottle was threatened by the most intense wild land fire in living memory in April 2007 so the project is training farmers and land owners how to tackle wild fires.
Water management training is also helping them to prepare for drought and floods. 'Flooding in the River Till catchment last September was devastating for local farming. Thousands of livestock were lost and there was a lot of pollution,' says Cheviot Futures Project Manager, Peter Kerr.
Farmer Simon Henderson, of West Fenton Farm, understands the consequences of climate change only too well. 'Farmers here are more vulnerable than most to extreme weather conditions, including flooding, drought and wind. If we wish to continue in business, the need to address these climatic issues is paramount.
'We need to adapt our practices so that we can manage the negative impacts and benefit from the opportunities that climate change brings, such as changing cropping practices.'
Who is involved
The Forestry Commission
Ministry of Defence
North East Climate Change Partnership
Northumberland National Park
Northumberland Strategic Partnership
Northumberland Wildlife Trust
The Rural Development Programme for England
The Tweed Forum