Courtesy Reuters

Britain Looks to the Land

FOUR years of war have brought profound changes in the way Britain uses her land. Some of the reversals of previous trends in farming practice and agricultural production may be called revolutionary; but evolution is a better word to describe the procedure as a whole. Under the urgency of the need for more food, the adjustment of farming methods to the progress of scientific research has been immensely speeded up. Some of the changes are undoubtedly temporary. For example, there is a wartime emphasis on the production of cereals, for which the climate of Britain is not primarily suited, and there is a drive toward self-sufficiency in directions which are not economically justified. But other changes are destined to leave a permanent mark on the face of Britain and to give a definite shape to future developments. The increase in mechanization is one: with 125,000 tractors and tractor implements for 16,000,000 acres of tillage, British farming is now the most highly mechanized in the world. Less dramatic but of great significance is the broadening of fundamental agricultural policy to include emphasis on proper nutrition, a change which is in line with the world objectives discussed at the Hot Springs Conference. Most important of all, perhaps, is the growing awareness that for national efficiency and health, as well as to foster national amenities, the use of land for farms, factories, towns and parks must not be left to haphazard decisions. Britain has begun to plan her national estate.

Geographers very wisely draw their distinction between Highland Britain of the north and west and Lowland Britain of the south and east. Highland Britain, which includes Scotland and Wales, has heavy rainfall and acid soils. The areas suitable for cultivation and settlement form discontinuous tracts; there are large stretches in Scotland virtually uninhabited by man or beast. In Lowland Britain, embracing some two-thirds of England, few points reach a thousand feet above sea level. Soils are fertile, rainfall is moderate to low, and cultivation and settlement

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