Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Environmental and sustainability education in the Benelux countries : research, policy and practices at the intersection of education and societal transformation
Poeck, Katrien Van; König, Ariane ; Wals, Arjen E.J. - \ 2018
Environmental Education Research (2018). - ISSN 1350-4622 - 16 p.
Belgium - Environmental and sustainability education - Luxembourg - policy - research - The Netherlands

As an introductory article of a Special Issue on Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) in the Benelux region, this paper provides an overview of ESE research, policy and practice in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. It discusses the different contributions in this collection with regard to how the central theme of this issue, the relation between education and societal transformation, is approached in each paper. The main characteristics of the ESE research fields in the Benelux are described in general terms, and placed within the context of how ESE policy and practice are organised in these countries. Next, different conceptualisations of the relation between educational and political spaces reflected in the collection are discussed and the varied contributions to this issue are positioned in relation to three distinguished traditions of approaching the place of democracy in ESE. The authors conclude with commenting on how this relates to different approaches to the research-policy-practice interface.

SCAR Conference 2017: 2017 "Research and innovation policy, state-of-play and the role of SCAR in the European Bioeconomy", 4-5 December 2017, Tallinn
Bunthof, Christine - \ 2017
SCAR - CASA - Bioeconomy - impact - policy - representation - inclusion - inclusiveness - policy development
On 4 and 5 December 2017, the second conference of the Standing Committee for Agricultural Research (SCAR) took place in Tallinn, Estonia, entitled "Research and innovation policy, state-of-play and the role of SCAR in the European Bioeconomy". The conference focused on the work and impact of SCAR on European and national policy development and representation and inclusion challenges for SCAR. It hosted over sixty-five participants from twenty-seven countries and was co-organised by the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union and SCAR CASA.
CASA-SCAR national meeting Spain, 10-11 May 2017, Madrid
Bunthof, Christine - \ 2017
SCAR - Spain - Bioeconomy - policy
National SCAR meetings are a means to increase visibility of SCAR, to promote SCAR outcomes and to provide a forum for exchange between stakeholders at the national and EU level on bioeconomy issues. A first national SCAR event was co-organised with the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) in Madrid, Spain, on 10 and 11 May 2017.
Europe: the paradox of landscape change : A case-study based contribution to the understanding of landscape transitions
Sluis, Theo van der - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Bas Arts, co-promotor(en): Bas Pedroli. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463438094 - 227
europe - case studies - landscape - change - landscape conservation - land use dynamics - cultural landscape - regions - urbanization - rural areas - policy - ecosystem services - agri-environment schemes - europa - gevalsanalyse - landschap - verandering - landschapsbescherming - dynamiek van het ruimtegebruik - cultuurlandschap - regio's - urbanisatie - platteland - beleid - ecosysteemdiensten - agrarisch natuurbeheer

This thesis explores the processes of change in European rural landscapes. Landscapes have evolved over millennia as a result of human influence on the physical environment. Europe has a wide variety of landscapes that can alter within a relatively short distance, and which often form part of the national cultural identity of a European country. Central to this thesis, however, are insights into the processes of landscape change.

In this context, the overall objective of this thesis is: To assess the dynamics of landscape change and increase the scientific understanding of the underlying processes and policies that have shaped the rural landscapes of Europe after establishment of the EU.

The focus is on the period following the establishment of the European Economic Community in 1965, which is hypothesised as the main driver of landscape change. European policies have an important direct impact on national and regional policies. The way that European policy transposition took place, existing governance structures and policy cultures also defined how ‘European policy’ influenced countries and regions. The object of this study is in particular the changing rural landscape, including the role of European agricultural policies, such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and conservation policies (for example Natura2000) in these changes.

The thesis uses an integrated approach to assess the various processes of landscape change: land use transitions, urbanisation of the countryside, land use intensification, extensification or abandonment. These processes are linked to drivers of landscape changes, the role of policies, and how these affect the landscape processes.

Research questions

The research objective requires unravelling the correlations between land-related policies and landscape change in the EU, the drivers of landscape change and in particular how policies affect the European landscape. To operationalise this objective, the following research questions are addressed:

What are the major landscape change processes occurring in different regions of Europe?

What are the drivers of landscape change in different regions of Europe, and what is the role of EU-policies in particular?

How do landscape changes affect the provision of landscape services?

How does the implementation of conservation policies affect processes of landscape change?

Which effective strategies and future pathways can be followed to conserve valuable cultural landscapes?

The thesis consists of an introductory chapter, five chapters each addressing one of the research questions, and a concluding synthesis: putting the findings together and indicating their potential significance for research and policy. The first chapter introduces the theoretical framework, which focusses on the benefits (goods and services) that landscapes provide, satisfying human demands directly or indirectly. The framework recognises the institutions, the policies (indirect drivers), as well as natural and anthropogenic drivers of landscape change. The five central chapters have each been submitted to international peer reviewed scientific journals, three of which have been accepted, and one has been revised and resubmitted.

Research question Q1, ‘What are major landscape changes occurring in different regions of Europe?’ is addressed by interviewing 437 farmers in six selected study areas in Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Greece and Romania (Chapter 2). The aim of this survey was to acquire a better understanding of farmer’s decision making, the environmental conditions and the landscape change processes taking place. The focus is on intensification and extensification processes in the case-study areas and regional similarities and differences. A statistical analysis of land use intensity was carried out on the basis of the interviews.

Research question Q2, ‘What are the drivers of landscape change in different regions of Europe, and what particularly are the role of EU-policies?’, discusses the factors and drivers of change in a meta-study of six countries (Chapter 3). This study is based on stakeholder’s interpretations of change processes, using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping. Groups of landscape experts participated in five workshops to jointly construct a cognitive map of landscape change processes over the past 25 years. The study examines in particular the storylines of the processes of landscape change. Two cases of Mediterranean and Boreal landscapes, are detailed.

Question Q3, ‘How do landscape changes affect the provision of landscape services?’ is addressed in Chapter 4, and discusses five European case studies with regard to changes in landscape services. The analysis is based on observed landscape changes by comparing maps for periods of up to 25 years. The changes were interpreted in terms of the consequences for landscape services, and related to European policies of landscape change.

Question Q4: ‘How does the implementation of conservation policies affect processes of landscape change?’ is discussed in Chapter 5 through focus on landscape governance. The transposition of European policy is assessed using the case of the Habitats Directive in four countries: Denmark, Greece, The Netherlands and Romania. It is assessed how legislation is locally translated and how this ‘fits’ the national governance system.

The last Question, Q5: ‘Which effective strategies and future pathways can be followed to conserve valuable cultural landscapes?’ is addressed in Chapter 6 on Mediterranean landscape change. Two ‘iconic’ Greek and Italian cultural olive yard landscapes were compared. Both landscapes have a centuries-old farming system. Long-term data sets on landscape change (exceeding 100 years) were combined with map data, interviews and literature, to discuss the characteristics of cultural landscape management, opportunities and potential risks for the future of these cultural landscapes.

The final chapter, Chapter 7, reflects on the results and presents the conclusions of the previous chapters, and on the scientific and societal significance of the thesis as a whole. It is concluded that the landscape in Europe is permanently changing as a result of complex interacting drivers. Policy has been one of the important drivers, but the landscape changes that have taken place are the outcome of various economic drivers and policies. The paradox is that the intentions of different European and regional spatial policies have been ambitious with regard to rural development, environmental quality, conservation of natural habitats and cultural heritage. In the end however, the complex interactions among direct and indirect drivers led to unintentional changes negatively affecting landscape value, resulting in land degradation, loss of cultural values and biodiversity. In other words, dominant drivers of landscape change (global economy, European policies) resulted in an outcome of landscapes that are preferred by the majority of the agricultural and forest sector, but otherwise no specific stakeholders were targeted, an outcome which was not envisaged by the policies.

Without efficient allocation of land resources and failing to regulate sustainable use, the landscape services are declining One approach to meet the diverse demands for landscape services is to focus on the provision of multiple benefits, using a multifunctional land use approach. The assumption thereby is that a multifunctional landscape has all aspects of a sustainable, liveable and biodiverse landscape.

The case studies landscapes in this thesis are characterised by different approaches that differ in multifunctionality: the marginal areas in southern Europe are less embedded in the global economy, and demonstrate high multifunctionality. Denmark and The Netherlands show typical ‘lowland agriculture’, that are weakly multifunctional. The Eastern European landscape cases in Romania and Estonia have higher multifunctionality, but the opportunities for change towards multifunctionality are less than in Western Europe. The opportunities are mostly dictated by environmental conditions, in particular the marginality of land, and the economy. Farming in these regions may have been profitable in the past, but abandonment is looming if no measures are taken to counteract economic driving forces.

The cultural landscapes such as in Lesvos and Portofino are particularly highly multifunctional. These old social systems are in decline: landscapes have deteriorated and changed since they have not been well maintained. The discontinuance of traditional management has occurred due to ageing populations, a lack of labour, skills and high costs. If iconic cultural landscapes are to be preserved for the future, deterioration must be halted. Traditional knowledge, skills and techniques are key for maintaining valuable cultural landscapes, such as in Italy and Greece, but also cultural landscapes in Western Europe like England or France, or traditional landscapes in Hungary or Poland. Solutions must be found to preserve the knowledge and traditions of landscape management, but also funds and labour are required to maintain these landscapes.

European landscapes have been permanently changing as a result of complex interacting drivers. Policy is one of the important drivers, but the landscape changes that take place are not the outcome of ‘a’ policy which steers the landscape development, but as the outcome of globalisation, economic drivers and policies; mostly the CAP, Rural Development Plan (RDP) and national forest policies which affect to a large measure the landscapes. There is no European policy for landscapes: landscape is not a prerogative of the EU.

Therefore, a tailor-made approach is essential for European policies implemented in each member state, taking into account the structure and functioning of existing national institutions, without losing sight of the overall aims of the policy. This requires input from the recipient countries in designing regulations, adapting them to existent institutions and modifying historical and current practices.

Holmes’ framework for changing modes of occupancy (use of rural space) has been used, whereby landscape transitions are considered the result of a changing balance between societal consumption, conservation and production. Landscapes where (agricultural or forestry) production is less dominant, may allow for more multifunctional policies that counterbalance the dominant position of production. Most countries do not have policies that fill the ‘gap’ of multifunctional landscape management. Gaps exist for landscapes not subject to Natura 2000, high nature value farming areas, outside urban zones, locations not affected by the Water Framework Directive or national forest policies, or those insufficiently covered at present by effective planning for multifunctional land use.

Existing (sectoral) schemes need to be re-examined with respect to multifunctionality. Potential multifunctional impacts should be considered in policymaking, e.g. payment schemes in the CAP or in Natura 2000, and about appropriate target areas for measures. Making more funds from CAP and RDP available for multifunctional land use could lead to more land sharing.

Landscapes, particularly iconic cultural landscapes, can benefit from mechanisms that allow the costs incurred by lower agricultural production to be covered. Payments for regulating and cultural services could be integrated in funding programs, e.g. through better targeting of Agri-Environment Schemes (AES) at smaller farmers in these valuable landscapes. Funding schemes should ensure that small, multifunctional farmers particularly in need support benefit. Better use must also be made of the added value potential of multifunctional effects. Increased multifunctionality would benefit the attractiveness of the countryside for residence, recreation and tourism.

Countries implement policies differently, but key success factors for multifunctional landscapes are the existence of locally- appropriate institutions that implement multifunctional policies. Building of new institutions can be time consuming and requires staff development.

Policy instruments on their own may be insufficient to harmonise the different aims of multifunctionality. Despite the AES, biodiversity and landscape quality is declining. The domination of some functions requires interventions and choices about trade-offs to be made (Arts et al. 2017). Given the dominant power of globalisation and European markets, payment for landscape services alone is ineffective, requiring additional incentives for the valorisation of these services, and to stimulate multifunctionality. Regional integrative approaches could be supported, with positive examples provided in the cases of alternative funding schemes, and how obstructions for such experiments can be tackled.

Finally, stakeholder involvement in landscape governance appears promising as a way to better meet the socio-ecological context within a landscape, provided that stakeholders address different scale levels. This requires a dynamic process to mobilise stakeholders, and flexibility of the government towards negotiations and conflict management at the landscape level. In particular, these last issues can be decisive for successful landscape governance. Different landscape governance arrangements are currently being tested in Europe which demonstrate new avenues. Notwithstanding some successful stakeholder involvement in landscape management, there are also challenges: in all such processes, there is a risk that collaboration results in power inequalities that affect the outcome, or may give certain groups more benefits than others, which may make the process unsustainable. It remains, therefore, important that the concept of multifunctional landscapes is integrated in existing legislation and regulations, and further integrated into land-related policies.

Methodology for the case studies
Smits, M.J.W. ; Woltjer, G.B. - \ 2017
EU (Circular impacts ) - 19 p.
economics - cycling - projects - renewable energy - recycling - sustainability - durability - politics - policy - environment - economie - kringlopen - projecten - hernieuwbare energie - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - duurzaamheid (durability) - politiek - beleid - milieu
This document is about the methodology and selection of the case studies. It is meant as a guideline for the case studies, and together with the other reports in this work package can be a source of inform ation for policy officers, interest groups and researchers evaluating or performing impact assessments of circular economy policies or specific circular economy projects. The methodology was developed to ensure that the case studies focus on the overall im pacts of the circular economy. The frame of the methodology is a s tep - by - step approach, which will be described in section s 3 and 4 of this document. In section 2 we describe the selection of the case studies.
The development of a research data policy at Wageningen University & Research: best practices as a framework
Zeeland, Hilde van; Ringersma, J. - \ 2017
Liber Quarterly : The journal of the association of European Research Libraries 27 (2017)1. - ISSN 1435-5205 - p. 153 - 170.
Research Data Management - policy - research data - data storage - data archiving
The current case study describes the development of a Research Data Management policy at Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands. To develop this policy, an analysis was carried out of existing frameworks and principles on data management (such as the FAIR principles), as well as of the data management practices in the organisation. These practices were defined through interviews with research groups. Using criteria drawn from the existing frameworks and principles, certain research groups were identified as ‘best-practices’: cases where data management was meeting the most important data management criteria. These best-practices were then used to inform the RDM policy. This approach shows how engagement with researchers can not only provide insight into their data management practices and needs, but directly inform new policy guidelines.
Framing nature : searching for (implicit) religious elements in the communication about nature
Jansen, Peter - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Henk Jochemsen, co-promotor(en): Jozef Keulartz; J. van der Stoep. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431323 - 200
nature - policy - netherlands - communication - religion - case studies - frames - perception - public authorities - landscape experience - identity - natuur - beleid - nederland - communicatie - religie - gevalsanalyse - geraamten - perceptie - overheid - landschapsbeleving - identiteit

This PhD thesis is about communication concerning nature in the Netherlands. The purpose of this exploratory study is to take both a theoretical and an empirical look at whether (implicit) religious elements play a role in this communication about nature in the Netherlands.

In this PhD thesis it is argued that the role of communication practitioners is to signal, articulate, and interpret normative elements in the discourse. In other words, to make (non-) congruent frames explicit and clarifying the associated world views in the discourse, including that of the government itself. The government has to be impartial as possible in its communications, but the communications about nature shows that there are questions to be asked about this neutrality. Although not explicit, but through the communications of NGOs, who operate as delegated executors of the Dutch nature policy in the context of this PhD thesis, certain images, i.e., frames regarding nature are communicated. However, the question is raised to what extent the government, based on its alleged neutrality, should condition the communication of NGOs. Here, tension can be observed. If nature conservation NGOs (explicitly) communicate a specific vision about nature, using ‘religious subtexts’, the government appears to support these ‘subtexts’. For nature conservation NGOs, it is appropriate to put forth a certain opinion to raise support for their actions among the public. However, in this PhD thesis it is argued that it is not the responsibility of the government to promote a specific religiously phrased view of nature and nature policy. Hence, this PhD thesis reveals a necessity for reflection on the relationship between government and NGOs regarding their communication, i.e., awareness of distinction and a need for mutual adjustment in the case of close cooperation.

The results of this PhD thesis are placed in a broader cultural context with respect to nature development. A paradox is highlighted: creating nature ‘according to our view of nature’ and, simultaneously, wanting to experience wilderness-nature, preferably without too much human influence. This paradox appears to form a cultural basis for many new nature development projects. In other words, nature development is no longer just driven by ecological interests. In today’s ‘wilderness desire’, a certain form of anthropocentric thinking also manifests, because it focuses on the human experience of nature. In addition, because (new) nature projects can be places to have meaningful experiences, in this PhD thesis it is concluded that (new) nature projects, such as Tiengemeten, not only have ecological value, but societal value as well. It is also argued that in a secular society, we should not lose sight of the mediating role of creating and maintaining nature parks. Designing or maintaining natural areas in a certain way can create conditions for certain meaningful experiences. With our designing vision and communication, we can reap ‘benefits’ from nature. With this conclusion, this PhD thesis shines a different light on the concept of nature development and, indirectly, on the Dutch nature policy.

Finally, this PhD thesis shows that religious elements play a role in the communication about nature. These are linked to meaningful experiences that people can have in nature. A religious depth dimension can be discovered in meaningful experiences. This religious depth dimension is the reason that there are ‘religious subtexts’ in the communication about nature. However, the word ‘subtext’ is crucial. The communication about nature is ‘religionised’ to some extent, but there is no mentioning of a personal God or other reference to a supernatural reality. This PhD thesis also shows that the religious depth dimension does not explicitly come to the fore in what visitors are saying. This means that this PhD thesis, in addition to questioning the appropriateness of ‘religious subtexts’ in the communication about nature, also doubts whether those ‘subtexts’ are convincing from visitors’ perspective.

Governing the water user : experiences from Mexico
Rap, Edwin ; Wester, Flip - \ 2017
Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 19 (2017)3. - ISSN 1523-908X - p. 293 - 307.
governmental technologies - Governmentality - Mexico - NRM - policy - power and knowledge - water governance
This article traces a policy shift that makes the ‘water user’ the main subject of water governance. From a Foucauldian perspective on governmentality these new subjectivities accompany neo-liberal governmental technologies to devolve autonomy from state institutions to an active user base, whilst retaining some ‘control at a distance’. The expectation is that individual subjects will incorporate control mechanisms and internalize norms and that this leads to new publicly auditable forms of self-regulation. The article questions the underlying assumption that policy necessarily accomplishes its strategic effects through governmentality. For this purpose, it draws on an ethnographic case study of how policy produced a new power/knowledge regime and how different societal actors and ‘user’ groups responded to that. The study specifically investigates the Mexican policy of irrigation management transfer during the 1990s, by which government transferred the public control over irrigation districts to locally organized water users’ associations (WUAs). The article argues that governmental technologies make and govern the ‘water user’ by discursively and materially constituting an organizational arrangement for user management (WUA), more than by directly acting on individuals’ self-regulated conduct. The analysis contributes to a broader reflection on the role of power/knowledge in natural resources management and decentralized resources governance.
PLATFORM policy brief No. 3. The role of the ERA-NET instrument in fostering inclusiveness
Turk, K. ; Greimel, M. ; Bunthof, C.J. ; Kuzniar-van der Zee, B. - \ 2017
H2020 Platform of bioeconomy ERA-NET Actions (PLATFORM) - 4 p.
platform - policy brief - policy - ERA-NET instrument - ERA-NET - inclusiveness - PLATFORM - Policy
Valuing a Statistical Life Year in Relation to Clean Air
Hein, Lars ; Roberts, Pete ; Gonzalez, Lucia - \ 2016
Journal of environmental assessment policy and management 18 (2016)4. - ISSN 1464-3332
air pollution - cost-benefit analysis - Europe - policy - VOLY

Environmental cost-benefit analysis is increasingly used to support the formulation of European air quality policies. In these analyses, typically around three-quarters of the societal benefits of cleaner air are related to monetised increases in statistical life expectancy. However, the literature presents widely diverging estimates for the value of a statistical life year (a 'VOLY'). This paper presents a review of studies aimed at establishing a VOLY as used in European air quality policies and it examines the factors that cause the variations in VOLY estimates. We discuss the implications of our findings for European air quality policies and also present a novel approach to analyse the VOLY. We have labelled our approach the 'maximum societal revenue VOLY' (MSR-VOLY), and postulate that this approach may be particularly useful in the context of natural capital accounting.

FACCE JPI European and International Strategy 2016-2018
Bunthof, C.J. - \ 2016
FACCE-JPI - 40 p.
European - International - Strategy - FACCE - FACCE JPI - agriculture - food security - climate change - FACCE-JPI - bioeconomy - policy
Report of FACCE Cluster-2-Workshop - Support by policy and research for adaptation to climate change in farming systems and food-related industries
Köchy, M. ; Bittner, F. ; Lange, S. ; Bunthof, C.J. - \ 2016
FACCE-JPI - 15 p.
FACCE JPI - climate change - farming systems - adaptation to climate change - food-related - industries - agriculture - food security - policy - FACCE-JPI - Agriculture - Food security - Climate Change - adaption to climate change - Climate change adaptation - Farming systems - food-related industries - research - Bioeconomy
FACCE JPI Implementation Plan 2016 - 2018
Gøtke, Niels ; McKhann, Heather ; Albouy, I. ; Bunthof, C.J. ; Bura, M. ; Lesser, C. ; Aller Moran, P. ; Boekhorst, D. te; Wiley, P. - \ 2016
FACCE-JPI - 16 p.
Implementation - Plan - FACCE JPI - FACCE - JPI - agriculture - food security - climate change - implementation plan - FACCE-JPI - Bioeconomy - policy
PLATFORM Policy Brief No. 2. Co-creation of a Global Bioeconomy
Kwant, K. ; Lampel, S. ; Bunthof, C.J. ; Kuzniar-van der Zee, B. - \ 2016
H2020 Platform of bioeconomy ERA-NET Actions (PLATFORM) - 4 p.
platform - policy brief - policy - co-creation - global - bioeconomy - PLATFORM - ERA-NET - Bioeconomy - global bioeconomy
Assessing biodiversity change in scenario studies : introducing a decision support tool for analysing the impact of nature policy
Pouwels, Rogier ; Bilt, Willem van der; Hinsberg, Arjen van; Knegt, Bart de; Reijnen, Rien ; Verboom, Jana ; Jones-Walters, Lawrence - \ 2016
Wageningen : Wettelijke Onderzoekstaken Natuur & Milieu (WOt-paper 39) - 16
biodiversity - policy - decision support systems - habitats - ecosystems - biodiversiteit - beleid - beslissingsondersteunende systemen - ecosystemen
Biodiversity conservation is firmly established on the
political agenda. Nested goals and targets for biodiversity
have therefore been formulated and agreed at global,
regional, national and sub-national levels in order to halt
and reverse its decline. In order to measure progress in
relation to the delivery of such targets, policymakers have
a range of tools and indicators that allow them to monitor
and evaluate the effect of their policies, instruments and
associated actions. In terms of the policy cycle, evaluation
should result in the further modification and refinement of
policy instruments towards improved delivery in the
DG Environment Workshop on Requirements for Policy Modelling
Athanasiadis, Ioannis - \ 2016
policy - environmental modelling - integrated modelling
DG Environment Workshop on Requirements for Policy Modelling

DG Environment run a scoping study to define needs for improvements in environmental modelling. The purpose of this study is “to scope out the potential for a modelling exercise of EU environment policy, in order to improve our policy-making and maximise results on the ground for citizens and the environment. The modelling exercise should provide an overview of the models we have at the moment, so that we can identify gaps and improve our policies accordingly. With this in mind, the modelling exercise could feed into, inter alia, the evaluation of the 7th EAP, which should be completed by 2019. What questions could be asked that models could answer, and what would be the modelling implications? The contractor should set out the possible modelling options, with some pros and cons related to them, to allow for an informed discussion on whether and how to proceed (which type of models, timelines...).” This workshop aimed to discuss the preliminary results with DG Environment officials and modelling experts who have a broad view of modelling in relevant fields. We wish to invite you as an expert in models for ecological systems to help us identify directions for modelling development. The workshop will be held at DG Environment, in Brussels.
Environmental governance of pesticides in Ethiopian vegetable and cut flower production
Mengistie, Belay - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Arthur Mol, co-promotor(en): Peter Oosterveer. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462579491 - 254
pesticides - policy - ethiopia - private sector - supply chain management - agriculture - vegetables - cut flowers - environmental protection - pesticiden - beleid - ethiopië - particuliere sector - ketenmanagement - landbouw - groenten - snijbloemen - milieubescherming

Pesticides are intensively used in agriculture across the globe to prevent or control pests, diseases, and weeds. In this process, improper pesticide registration, distribution and use has become more serious, which has resulted in heavy environmental and human health risks in many parts of the world. This holds especially true for developing countries, including Ethiopia where good agricultural practices are often poorly implemented. To safeguard human health and the environment, a strict regulatory policy is essential. In line with this, Ethiopia has developed pesticide registration and control procedures, which are regulations and directives in which the country also included different international agreements related to agropesticides. Therefore, the overall policy with respect to pesticide plays a key role in improving the environment, the health of growers and the surrounding community and stimulates the economic performance of the Ethiopian agricultural sector. However, there was no clear answer to the question whether the policy on pesticide registration, distribution and use was implemented in an effective and sustainable way. Arguably, governance failures are the origin of many environmental and human health problems regarding pesticides in developing countries. This paper argues that the influence of state and non-state actors and the relative importance of their interactions are the major structural characteristics of pesticide governance. However, it is still important to ask what governing mechanisms and actors are available and what can be developed further to promote sustainable pesticide governance. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to investigate the pesticide policy-and-practice nexus, which includes the roles of governmental actors, private actors(traders) and farmers, and to review the actual and potential contribution from various governance actors in changing the existing (unsafe) pesticide practices in vegetables and cut flowers sector in which pesticides are used intensively.I have to conclude that both state and private actors hardly contribute to significant improvements in achieving sound pesticide management in Ethiopia. The state regulatory system has revealed an inability in controlling proper registration, distribution and safe use. Pesticide registration systems are not well established. A major challenge in pesticide registration is the double/ triple registration of pesticides with the same active ingredient (ai) but under different commercial names. Importing unregistered pesticides (only with import permits) by most flower growers allowed them to use extremely harmful/chemicals toxic to the environment and workers for higher risks. The government’s political commitment in this regard has never been observed in the floriculture industries, where there is no supervision or monitoring at all. In addition, commercial pesticide traders prove unable/unwilling to comply with regulations prescribed by the government proclamation. Among other problems, importation of pesticides with the wrong labels, conflicts of interest between importers (registrants) and double/triple registration of pesticides with the same (ai) under different commercial names cause confusion for retailers and farmers. Moreover, importation without obtaining a prior import permit and requests to import unregistered pesticides have grown over time. At the same time, the responsibility for controlling the pesticide market (inspection) failed in terms of quality control in distribution and use. The retailing of pesticides has been handled by unqualified and unlicensed retailers in shops and open markets with other commodities. Finally, this challenge is particularly critical at farm (local) level. There is substantial overuse, misuse and abuse of pesticides by end users, especially by smallholder farmers, due to lack of knowledge, technical support and training on hazards and risks associated with pesticides. Challenges to pesticide governance throughout the pesticide supply chain has resulted in negative policy outcomes for the environment and human health, particularly with the failure of state authorities to actively engage non-state actors in the complex pesticide registration, distribution and use system. Following the findings in this thesis, these situations call for the reshaping of the pesticide governance system throughout the country. To effectively address the human health and environmental impacts of pesticides requires a pesticide governance system that facilitates agricultural and environmental sustainability.

What does Life-Cycle Assessment of agricultural products need for more meaningful inclusion of biodiversity?
Teillard, Félix ; Maia de Souza, Danielle ; Thoma, Greg ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Finn, John A. - \ 2016
Journal of Applied Ecology 53 (2016)5. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 1422 - 1429.
agricultural production systems - conservation - environmental assessment methods - environmental impact - food products - life-cycle assessment (LCA) - livestock - off-farm impact - policy - sustainable agriculture

Decision-makers increasingly use life-cycle assessment (LCA) as a tool to measure the environmental sustainability of products. LCA is of particular importance in globalized agricultural supply chains, which have environmental effects in multiple and spatially dispersed locations. Incorporation of impacts on biodiversity that arise from agricultural production systems into environmental assessment methods is an emerging area of work in LCA, and current approaches have limitations, including the need for (i) improved assessment of impacts to biodiversity associated with agricultural production, (ii) inclusion of new biodiversity indicators (e.g. conservation value, functional diversity, ecosystem services) and (iii) inclusion of previously unaccounted modelling variables that go beyond land-use impacts (e.g. climate change, water and soil quality). Synthesis and applications. Ecological models and understanding can contribute to address the limitations of current life-cycle assessment (LCA) methods in agricultural production systems and to make them more ecologically relevant. This will be necessary to ensure that biodiversity is not neglected in decision-making that relies on LCA.

Is sustainable development of semi-subsistence mixed crop-livestock systems possible? : an integrated assessment of Machakos, Kenya
Valdivia, R.O. - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Tammo Bult, co-promotor(en): J. Antle; Jetse Stoorvogel. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578272 - 233 p.
sustainable development - development economics - livestock - cash crops - agriculture - mixed farming - development policy - policy - rural areas - poverty - farming - kenya - east africa - duurzame ontwikkeling - ontwikkelingseconomie - vee - marktgewassen - landbouw - gemengde landbouw - ontwikkelingsbeleid - beleid - platteland - armoede - landbouw bedrijven - oost-afrika

Sub-Saharan Africa countries face the challenge of reducing rural poverty and reversing the declining trends of agricultural productivity and the high levels of soil nutrient depletion. Despite of numerous efforts and investments, high levels of poverty and resource degradation persist in African agriculture. The Millennium Development Goals Report (MDGR) states that the majority of people living below the poverty line of $1.25 a day belong to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia. About two thirds of the global rural population lives in mixed crop-livestock systems (CLS), typical of SSA, where interactions between crops and livestock activities are important for the subsistence of smallholders. CLS are characterized by high degree of biophysical and economic heterogeneity, complex and diversified production system that frequently involves a combination of several subsistence and cash crops and livestock. Increasing crop productivity is clearly a key element to improve living standards and to take these people out of poverty. However, agricultural productivity in most of SSA has been stagnant or increased slowly. In addition, the likely negative impacts of climate change on agriculture have accentuated the vulnerability of smallholders.

The international research community has once more the eyes on SSA with the recently proposed post-2015 MDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals that emphasize the need to achieve sustainable development globally by 2030 by promoting economic development, environmental sustainability, good governance and social inclusion. Governments and scientists are making considerable efforts to develop strategies that include structural transformations of the different sectors of the economy in search of the recipe to achieve the SDGs. Most of these strategies are based on policy and technology interventions that seek to achieve the “win-win” outcomes and move from the usual “tradeoffs” between poverty-productivity-sustainability to synergies. A key message of this thesis is that achieving the goal of sustainable development in semi-subsistence African agriculture will require better understanding of the poverty-productivity-sustainability puzzle: why high poverty and resource degradation levels persist in African agriculture. I hypothesize that the answer to this puzzle lies, at least in part, in understanding and appropriately analyzing key features of semi-subsistence crop-livestock systems (CLS) typical of Sub-Saharan Africa. The complexity and diversity of CLS often constrain the ability of policy or technology interventions to achieve a “win-win” outcome of simultaneously reducing poverty while increasing productivity sustainably (i.e., avoiding soil nutrient losses).

This thesis focuses on the Machakos Region in Kenya. Machakos has been the center of many studies looking at soil fertility issues and its implications for poverty and food security, including the well-known study by Tiffen et al. (1994). Recently, the Government of Kenya developed the Kenya Vision 2030, a long-term development strategy designed to guide the country to meet the 2015 MDGs and beyond. The agricultural sector is recognized as one of the economic actors that can lead to reduce poverty if appropriate policies are in place. For the Vision 2030, the key is to improve smallholder productivity and promote non-farm opportunities. The Vision 2030 was used to assess if the implementation of some of the proposed plans and policies can lead to a sustainable agriculture for smallholders in the Machakos region.

This thesis describes and uses the Tradeoff Analysis Model (TOA), an integrated modeling approach designed to deal with the complexities associated to production systems such as the CLS and at the same time, quantify economic and sustainability indicators for policy tradeoff analysis (e.g., poverty indexes and measures of sustainability). The TOA was linked to Representative Agricultural Pathways and Scenarios to represent different future socio-economic scenarios (based on the Vision 2030) to assess the impacts of policy interventions aimed to move agricultural systems towards meeting sustainable development goals.

One important finding is that the complex behavior of CLS has important implications for the effectiveness of policy interventions. The Machakos analysis provides important findings regarding the implementation and effectiveness of policy interventions addressing poverty and sustainability in Africa and other parts of the developing world. The analysis shows that policy interventions tend to result in much larger benefits for better-endowed farms, implying that farm heterogeneity results in differential policy impacts and that resilience of agricultural systems is likely to be highly variable and strongly associated with heterogeneity in bio-physical and economic conditions. The results shows that a combination of these interventions and strategies, based on the GoK Vision 2030 and the Machakos County plans, could solve the poverty-productivity-sustainability puzzle in this region. The pathway from tradeoffs to synergies (win-win) seems to be feasible if these interventions and strategies are well implemented, however the analysis also shows that some villages may respond better to these strategies than others. The analysis suggests that these interventions may actually benefit most the areas with better initial endowments of soils and climate.

The analysis also suggested that prices (e.g., maize price) play a key role in the assessment of policy interventions. There is an increasing recognition that analysis of economic and environmental outcomes of agricultural production systems requires a bottom-up linkage from the farm to market, as well as top-down linkage from market to farm. Hence, a two-way linkage between the TOA model and a partial equilibrium market model (ME) was developed. The TOA model links site-specific bio-physical process models and economic decision models, and aggregate economic and environmental outcomes to a regional scale, but treats prices as exogenous. The resulting TOA-ME allows the effects of site-specific interactions at the farm scale to be aggregated and used to determine market equilibrium. This in turn, can be linked back to the underlying spatial distribution of economic and environmental outcomes at market equilibrium quantities and prices. The results suggest that market equilibrium is likely to be important in the analysis of agricultural systems in developing countries where product and input markets are not well integrated, and therefore, local supply determines local prices (e.g., high transport costs may cause farm-gate prices be set locally) or where market supply schedules are driven not only by prices but also by changes in farm characteristics in response to policy changes, environmental conditions or socio-economic conditions. The results suggest that the market equilibrium price associated to a policy intervention could be substantially different than the prices observed without the market equilibrium analysis, and consequently could play an important role in evaluating the impacts of policy or technology interventions.

As mentioned above, climate change poses a long-term threat for rural households in vulnerable regions like Sub-Saharan Africa. Policy and technology interventions can have different impacts under climate change conditions. In this thesis the likely economic and environmental impacts of climate change and adaptations on the agricultural production systems of Machakos are analyzed.

Climate change impact assessment studies have moved towards the use of more integrated approaches and the use of scenarios to deal with the uncertainty of future condition. However, several studies fall short of adequately incorporating adaptation in the analysis, they also fall short of adequately assessing distributional economic and environmental impacts. Similarly, climate change is likely to change patterns of supply and demand of commodities with a consequent change in prices that could play an important role in designing policies at regional, national and international levels. Therefore, a market equilibrium model should also be incorporated in the analysis to assess how markets react to changing prices due to shifts in supply and demand of commodities. The TOA-ME was used to incorporate the elements mentioned above to assess the impacts of climate change. Using data from 5 Global Circulation Models (GCMs) with three emission scenarios (SRES, 2000) to estimate the climate change projections, these projections were used to perturb weather data used by a crop simulation model to estimate the productivity effects of climate change. Land use change and impacts on poverty and nutrient depletion at the market equilibrium were then assessed using the TOA-ME model.

The simulation was carried out for three scenarios, which are a combination of socio-economic and climate change scenarios: a baseline scenario that represents current socio-economic conditions and climate conditions, a climate change and current socio-economic scenarios (i.e., future climate change with no policy or technology intervention), and a climate change and future socio economic conditions which are a consequence of rural development policies.

Our findings show that in this particular case, the changes on precipitation, temperature and solar radiation do not show a significant difference among the selected emission scenarios. However, the variability is significant across GCMs. The effects of climate change on crop productivity are negative on average. These results show that policy and technology interventions are needed to reduce this region’s vulnerability. Furthermore, the socio-economic scenarios based on policy and technology interventions presented in the case study would be effective to offset the negative effect of climate change on the sustainability (economical and environmental) of the system across a range of possible climate outcomes represented by different GCMs. Finally, the results show that ignoring market equilibrium analysis can lead to biased results and incorrect information for policy making, in particular for the scenario based on policy and technology interventions.

One of the major conclusions of the thesis are that policy interventions aimed to deal with poverty and sustainability can have unintended consequences if they are not accompanied by a set of policy strategies and investments. For example, increasing the maize price can result in substitution from subsistence crops to maize, without much increase in nutrient inputs, thus increasing soil nutrient losses. The analysis shows that improving soil nutrient balances by increasing fertilizer and manure use is critically important, but is not enough to move the system to a sustainable path.

There is no one factor that can reverse the negative nutrient balances and move the system towards sustainability. Rather, a broad-based strategy is required that stimulates rural development, increases farm size to a sustainable level, and also reduces distortions and inefficiencies in input and output markets that tend to discourage the use of sustainable practices. The Machakos case shows that a combination of these interventions and strategies, based on the GoK Vision 2030 and the Machakos County plans, could solve the poverty-productivity-sustainability puzzle in this region.

The tree under which you sit : district-level management and leadership in maternal and newborn health policy implementation in the Greater Accra Region, Ghana
Kwamie, A. - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Han van Dijk; I.A. Agyepong. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462576742 - 158 p.
health policy - birth - pregnancy - policy - management - administration - ghana - west africa - gezondheidsbeleid - geboorte - zwangerschap - beleid - bedrijfsvoering - bestuur - west-afrika

Health system governance has to do with decision-making – who makes decisions, when, where, how and why. At the district level – the level of care which operationalises health policies – governance is critical, yet remains little understood. Governance has the ability to influence health system performance, and this is essential in maternal and newborn health, where timely decisions are required to support policy implementation. In this regard, district managers are particularly important. They are the link in the middle of the health system, connecting top-end policy formulation to bottom-end implementation. Their abilities to interpret, translate, support and challenge policy will have an effect on what gets operationalised. However, capacity weaknesses in district management and leadership are often cited as a factor in poor health system performance.

This thesis seeks to deepen understandings of district-level management, leadership and decision-making for policy and programme management and implementation for maternal and newborn health. Within this, the thesis also seeks to understand the scope for change that an intervention to strengthen management and leadership capacities can bring.

This thesis contributes to the applied field of health policy and systems research by drawing on policy implementation theory, organisational management theory and complexity theory as its theoretical basis. A realist approach methodology was undertaken to understand the contexts in which district managers are embedded, how this influences their decision-making, and what the effects of a managerial intervention are, given these contexts. The thesis followed an embedded case study flexible design. The first case study was an exploratory qualitative case study to understand how and why district managers make decisions in maternal and newborn health policy implementation. The second case study was an historical case study of district manager decision-space over time. The third case study was an explanatory qualitative case study of the management and leadership intervention. The final validation of our theorising throughout the cases was achieved through the administration of a questionnaire across all district health management teams of the Great Accra Region.

This thesis demonstrates that district managers find themselves in contexts of strong hierarchical authority and resource uncertainty – in particular, lacking financial transparency. This promotes a management and leadership typology which attunes managers towards serving the health system bureaucracy, resulting in reduced district-level responsiveness to maternal and newborn health challenges. The outcome is that district manager decision-space is narrow surrounding resource allocation decisions, and this in turn affects local planning programming and management.

The thesis further demonstrates that broader patterns of centralised governmental decision-making have affected the development of the district health system over time. Particularly, the sequencing of decentralisation processes has ensured that national-level decision-making has remained empowered in contrast to district-level decision-making. System fragmentation – through reduced Government of Ghana funds and increasingly verticalised donor funds – has also been a contributor. This accounts for the observed hierarchical authority and resource uncertainty which affects district managers. As a result of these contexts, this thesis also showed that an intervention to strengthen management and leadership capacities was limited in its sustainability.

This thesis raises the issues of health system organisation as critical to the potential of district management and leadership effectiveness. It provides evidence that weaknesses in district management and leadership arise out of the organisational governance mismatches in autonomy and responsibility. It suggests that in strengthening management and leadership, approaches which seek to address organisational capacities, not only individual capacities, are needed to convey sustainable change. Advancements in this regard have the scope to improve district manager decision-making for maternal and newborn health policy and programme implementation in the future.

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