To help WWF test the ambition of Welsh Government policy and sustainable land management planning, Eunomia modelled the biophysical possibility and likely environmental, socio-economic, and cultural impacts of four pathways for a transition to net zero agroecology in Wales by 2050.

Welsh Government policy, including the Sustainable Development Land Management Framework and the Net Zero Wales Carbon Budget 2 (2021-25), aims to transform agriculture into a holistic, low-emission system for food production and land management in ways that are fair, collaborative, and equitable. It prioritises the production of food and other resources using methods that promote ecosystem resilience, mitigate climate change, and conserve rural landscapes and cultures.

Agroecology applies ecological principles to farming to maintain mutually healthy interactions between plants, wildlife, soil quality, and communities’ needs. Agroecological approaches can restore biodiversity, reduce pollution and soil erosion, and build nutritional resilience against international market dynamics.

To test the ambition of Welsh Government aims and build on the WWF report Land of Plenty[1], Eunomia modelled the biophysical impacts of transitioning to agroecology in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, food production, nutritional security, and the need for synthetic fertilisers. We also modelled wider environmental impacts – for example, on biodiversity and water and air quality – as well as socio-economic and cultural impacts.

We found that by 2050, a full agroecological shift could cut Welsh territorial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture by 67% compared to 2018 levels (78% including overseas scope 3 emissions).

Measures like using less imported livestock feed, decarbonising machinery, diversifying food production, converting some pasture to woodland, and using more manure and cover crops as fertiliser could improve soil health, eliminate the need for synthetic fertiliser, and strengthen the country’s nutritional security. We also found that territorial emissions would fall from between 40% to 67% under three other scenarios that align with Government decarbonisation plans and variations on the Land of Plenty blueprint.

Our study employed advanced modelling capacities and inter-disciplinary technical expertise across carbon, agriculture, natural economy, nature recovery, and consumer behaviour, with additional expertise from Cumulus Consultants to assess farm-level financial impacts. Eunomia’s study provided WWF with technically robust information to engage with the Welsh Government about using agricultural support and wider rural investment to advance its goals for a healthy, net zero, nature-positive Wales.

[1] WWF 2022 Land of Plenty: A nature-positive pathway to decarbonize UK agriculture and land use. Available at: