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Evaluating Today's Landscape Multifunctionality and Providing an Alternative Future: A Normative Scenario Approach

Rainer Waldhardt, Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Martin Bach, Resources Management, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
René Borresch, Agricultural and Development Policy, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Lutz Breuer, Resources Management, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Tim Diekötter, Animal Ecology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Hans-Georg Frede, Resources Management, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Stefan Gäth, Waste Management and Environmental Research, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Oliver Ginzler, Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Thomas Gottschalk, Animal Ecology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Stefan Julich, Resources Management, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Matthias Krumpholz, Agribusiness Management, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Friedrich Kuhlmann, Agribusiness Management, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Annette Otte, Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Birgit Reger, Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Wolfgang Reiher, Resources Management, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Kim Schmitz, Agricultural and Development Policy, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
P. Michael Schmitz, Agricultural and Development Policy, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Patrick Sheridan, Agribusiness Management, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Dietmar Simmering, Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Cornelia Weist, Biometry and Population Genetics, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Volkmar Wolters, Animal Ecology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Dorit Zörner, Waste Management and Environmental Research, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen

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Abstract

Intensive agriculture has had multiple negative effects on the environment across large areas of Europe, including a decrease in the degree to which these landscapes serve multiple functions. A quantitative evaluation of the deficits in landscape multifunctionality is difficult, however, for a given landscape as long as "multifunctional reference landscapes" are lacking. We present an interdisciplinary normative scenario approach to overcome this obstacle. Given the example of the lower Wetter-catchment in the Wetterau region (Hesse, Germany), we compare the existing landscape with an expert-generated multifunctional landscape scenario that may also serve as an alternative future. This approach may inspire policy makers and land users by providing a methodology for the design of alternative multifunctional futures in five steps: (1) documentation of today's landscape structure and land use at the scale of uniformly managed land units; (2) detection of functional deficits of today's landscape considering environmental (soil contamination, groundwater production, water quality, biodiversity), economic (land rent), and societal (landscape perception by its population) attributes; (3) compilation of a catalogue of alternative land uses (including linear landscape elements) suitable to minimize the detected functional deficits; (4) rule-based modification of today's land-use pattern into a normative scenario; and (5) comparison of today's landscape and the normative scenario by applying the model network ITE²M. Results highlight a strongly unbalanced allocation of private and public goods in today's landscape with severe deficits in environmental and societal landscape features, but a significantly higher land rent. The designed multifunctional scenario, instead, may be preferred by the local population, and their willingness to pay for multifunctionality could potentially compensate calculated opportunity costs. Hence, the generated landscape scenario may be regarded as an alternative, multifunctional future.

Key words

agriculture; ecosystem services; Germany; modeling; sustainability
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087