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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    An exploration of scenarios to support sustainable land management using integrated environmental socio-economic models
    Fleskens, L. ; Nainggolan, D. ; Stringer, L.C. - \ 2014
    Environmental Management 54 (2014)5. - ISSN 0364-152X - p. 1005 - 1021.
    water conservation practices - west usambara highlands - cost-benefit-analysis - ex-ante assessment - olive orchards - sloping land - soil - agriculture - ethiopia - spain
    Scenario analysis constitutes a valuable deployment method for scientific models to inform environmental decision-making, particularly for evaluating land degradation mitigation options, which are rarely based on formal analysis. In this paper we demonstrate such an assessment using the PESERA–DESMICE modeling framework with various scenarios for 13 global land degradation hotspots. Starting with an initial assessment representing land degradation and productivity under current conditions, options to combat instances of land degradation are explored by determining: (1) Which technologies are most biophysically appropriate and most financially viable in which locations; we term these the “technology scenarios”; (2) how policy instruments such as subsidies influence upfront investment requirements and financial viability and how they lead to reduced levels of land degradation; we term these the “policy scenarios”; and (3) how technology adoption affects development issues such as food production and livelihoods; we term these the “global scenarios”. Technology scenarios help choose the best technology for a given area in biophysical and financial terms, thereby outlining where policy support may be needed to promote adoption; policy scenarios assess whether a policy alternative leads to a greater extent of technology adoption; while global scenarios demonstrate how implementing technologies may serve wider sustainable development goals. Scenarios are applied to assess spatial variation within study sites as well as to compare across different sites. Our results show significant scope to combat land degradation and raise agricultural productivity at moderate cost. We conclude that scenario assessment can provide informative input to multi-level land management decision-making processes.
    What does the future hold for semi-arid Mediterranean agro-ecosystems? - Exploring cellular automata and agent-based trajectories of future land use change
    Nainggolan, D. ; Termansen, M. ; Fleskens, L. ; Hubacek, K. ; Reed, M.S. ; Vente, J. de; Boix-Fayos, C. - \ 2012
    Applied Geography 35 (2012)1-2. - ISSN 0143-6228 - p. 474 - 490.
    cover change - spatially explicit - sloping land - models - typology - systems - policy - agriculture - environment - landscape
    Exploring how land use and the management of agro-ecosystems may evolve in the future is important for advancing scientific understanding and for informing policy makers and land managers of ways to respond and adapt sustainably to future change. In this paper, we investigate the future land-use trajectories of a semi-arid Mediterranean agro-ecosystem in south-eastern Spain using two different approaches: Markovian cellular automata and an agent-based approach. Methodologically, the paper offers a systematic method for agent parameterization to facilitate the development of an empirical agent-based scenario analysis. This approach is achieved by integrating information from cadastral and recent land-use maps, agricultural statistics, and sampled survey data. Through this integration, an effective approach is provided for up-scaling an agent typology from the sampled survey to the landscape scale. The output of the up-scaling provides a basis for modeling the aggregate effect of the responses of different types of farmers to environmental and policy changes across the study region. Empirically, the paper highlights the contrasting futures that the studied agro-ecosystem could have depending on the direction and intensity of the changes in environmental and policy conditions. The Markovian-CA land-use projection indicates further decline of rain-fed agriculture and describes the scope of the expansion of irrigated agriculture. The agent-based scenario analysis shows that the future of irrigated agriculture is highly sensitive to the expected future water scarcity. The analysis also reveals that the way that the future environmental and policy changes are conceptualized and presented to farmers and the range of different farmers in the agro-ecosystem determine the extent of the resulting aggregate effects of individual farmer reactions to future changes at the landscape scale. The empirical evidence of this research emphasizes the need for policy makers to consider multiple and interacting factors, including the design of interventions and likely farmer responses, which shape future agricultural land-use trajectories.
    Historical review of land use changes in Portugal (before and after EU integration on 1986) and their implications for land degradation and conservation, with a focus on Centro and Alentejo regions
    Jones, N.M. ; Graaff, J. de; Rodrigo, I. ; Duarte, F. - \ 2011
    Applied Geography 31 (2011)3. - ISSN 0143-6228 - p. 1036 - 1048.
    soil-erosion - mediterranean landscape - sloping land - abandonment - pattern - future - cover - fire - food
    Changes in land use and production systems are to a large extent responsible for land degradation. In Portugal this process has been triggered mainly by socioeconomic drivers, such as agricultural technology, demography and policy changes. In this article land use changes in Portugal are discussed in terms of their main drivers and impacts, focussing on land degradation and conservation. The discussion includes a brief outline of historical land use changes in Portugal and a more detailed account of the changes in the period after 1986, when Portugal joined the European Union. An assessment of recent (1986–2006) land use changes and their impact was conducted for two selected research areas in the Centro and Alentejo regions. This assessment was based on information from the CORINE Land Cover programme (1985 and 2006) and the National Agricultural Census (1989 and 1999). In the Centro research area the land under forest declined from 52% to only 22% of the area, mainly as a result of forest fires. In the Alentejo research area the major change was the decline of miscellaneous shrub, declining from 23% to 11%, to open forest land, increasing as a result of afforestation measures from 1% to 22%. These land use changes resulted in a significant increase of soil loss estimates through RUSLE. In the Centro research area soil losses greater than 10 t ha-1 yr-1 were estimated to occur in 57% of the area in 1990, increasing as a result of land use change to 64% in 2006. In the Alentejo research area this change was from 65% in 1990 to 72% in 2006. The research raises questions regarding land use management, in relation to the Common Agriculture Policy support during the 1986–2006 period. Despite the increase in forest and permanent grassland areas, soil loss rates remain very high in the two research areas
    Conservation scenarios for olive farming on sloping land in de Mediterranean
    Fleskens, L. - \ 2007
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Leo Stroosnijder, co-promotor(en): Jan de Graaff. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085047179 - 219
    olea europaea - olijven - productie - glooiend land - middellandse-zeegebied - conservering - erosie - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - agro-ecosystemen - olea europaea - olives - production - sloping land - mediterranean region - conservation - erosion - sustainability - agroecosystems
    The future of olive farming on sloping land in the Mediterranean is uncertain. Sloping and Mountainous Olive Production Systems (SMOPS) that have been sustainable for ages have in a relatively short time frame witnessed major changes. Although remnants of many of these traditional landscapes still exist today, the general trend is different. Demographic changes of the rural population, integration in the market economy with its competitive character, and technological innovation have drastically changed both the local economy, its agricultural production systems and – as a consequence – its environment. As a result of differential developments, there is now a stratification of SMOPS. While some production systems can continue to compete on global markets, other mostly traditional olive groves will need to rely on other than productive functions only. Of an increasing number of functions, the importance is recognised by stakeholder groups at various levels or by society as a whole. This awareness also extends to those systems that continue to be economical, but which need special attention to conserve functions that could get lost in the process of intensification. The present research project searches to develop an integrated methodology addressing these problems and to assess its performance for different scenarios of SMOPS. It addresses the following objectives: 1. Making an inventory of SMOPS and their natural resource conservation issues; 2. Developing a function assessment methodology and analyzing the various functions of SMOPS; 3. Taking soil conservation as an example function, exploring the importance of soil erosion in SMOPS and assess how it can be controlled; 4. Developing scenarios based on a set of core functions identified by stakeholders; 5. Optimizing environmental and social performance of SMOPS in conservation scenarios The first objective is embarked upon in Chapters 2 and 3. While olive production is an important agricultural activity throughout the Mediterranean, soil erosion is one of the environmental key problems in this zone. Due to their location on sloping land, erosive rainfall patterns, erodible soils and deficient ground cover, erosion risk in olive production areas is high. Chapter 2 identifies those areas where olive cultivation can be considered to be SMOPS, and inventories soil and water conservation options for olive orchards with particular reference to five important production areas: Eastern Andalusia (Spain), North-eastern Portugal, Southern Italy, Crete (Greece) and Central-West Tunisia. Chapter 3 analyses the link between SMOPS and natural resource management issues in more detail. It starts off with the notion that a wide variety of olive plantation systems exists throughout the Mediterranean, especially in sloping and mountainous areas. Recent drivers of change, including the widespread introduction of mechanisation, increased use of (chemical) inputs and (drip-)irrigation have still augmented this variety. It is postulated that the various systems have very different resource use patterns and environmental and social performances. Based on a comprehensive case study in six study areas: Trás-os-Montes (Portugal), Córdoba and Granada/Jaén (both in Spain), Haffouz (Tunisia), Basilicata/Salerno (Italy) and West-Crete (Greece), a cluster analysis is applied to classify 28 SMOPS distinguished regionally. This analysis resulted in the classification of 6 types of SMOPS along an intensity of production gradient: 1) very extensive, 2) traditional extensive, 3) semi-intensive low input, 4) semi-intensive high input, 5) intensive, and 6) organic. Natural resources management options to address soil erosion, low biodiversity, wildfire risk and excessive water use are explored for each of these systems. Chapter 4 presents one of the distinguished SMOPS types in detail: traditional extensive (or simply: traditional) olive orchards account for a large share of the area under olives in the Mediterranean, particularly in marginal areas. Traditional SMOPS are characterised as a low-intensity production system, associated with old (sometimes very old) trees, grown at a low density, giving small yields and receiving low inputs of labour and materials. During the OLIVERO project, traditional olive production systems were identified and described in five target areas: Trás-os-Montes (Portugal), Córdoba and Granada/Jaén (Spain), Basilicata/Salerno (Italy), and West-Crete (Greece); the latter of which was in a supra-regional classification later reclassified as a semi-intensive low input SMOPS (Chapter 3). Though traditional SMOPS provide multiple environmental services, their economic viability has become an issue, especially in southern Europe where EU policies favour more intensive and competitive systems. Orchards that have not been intensified seem to be threatened by the recent reform of the EU olive and olive oil policy, as income support, now decoupled from production, is based on past production in a four-year reference period. As a consequence, traditional olive growing is at risk of abandonment. Chapter 4 concludes that the viability of these systems is only assured if reduced opportunity costs for family labour are accepted and the olive growing is part-time, and recommends some private and public interventions to prevent its abandonment. While Chapter 4 anticipates on the functions of traditional olive groves, a framework for the analysis of the multiple functions of SMOPS (Objective 2) is presented in Chapter 5. Multifunctionality in agriculture has in the last decade received a lot of attention from researchers and policy-makers. Focusing on a case study about SMOPS in north-eastern Portugal, methods are discussed on how to deal with studying multiple functions of agro-ecosystems. The “House of Functions” is presented as a function assessment method. By depicting performance of ecological, productive, economic, social and cultural functions on axes together forming the silhouette of a house, the method could supposedly appeal to a wide range of actors. In the case study, we conclude that regional SMOPS particularly fall short in supplying ecological functions. They do however contribute significantly to the local economy, generate employment and perform an important cultural role in maintaining the landscape, and are thus a key to regional development and to stop outmigration of the population. Policy-makers could use the function assessment tool to design effective cross-compliance rules and relevant agri-environmental measures (AEM) to enhance ecological and social functions, and to communicate ideas to other stakeholders. As such, it can reinforce decision-making by visualizing trends, development alternatives or scenarios. The role of research in this method is facilitating dialogue between stakeholder groups and feeding the process with relevant indicators. Chapter 6 subsequently focuses on a single function: soil conservation, and explores how well olive groves perform this function (Objective 3). A literature review provides a pessimistic view of the capacity of SMOPS to conserve the soil, with some average regional soil loss values supposedly as high as 40 – 100 ton ha-1 y-1. These figures are based on empirical models that apply a simple multiplication of adverse environmental factors such as steep slopes, erodible soils and low vegetation cover. We present experimental data from rainfall simulations, runoff plot studies and field assessment of erosion symptoms that challenge this view. We point at the effects of surface roughness from tillage, rock fragment cover on steep slopes, orchard undergrowth, slope irregularities, vegetative strips, and of erosion resulting mainly from infrequent high intensity rainfall events, and (erroneous) upscaling of experimental results. Although these factors act and/or interact at different scales, taken together they provide an argument for indicating more precisely when, where and for whom erosion constitutes a problem. Combining the findings from our individual experiments, Chapter 6 concludes that tillage applied judiciously in selected locations of an orchard might reduce erosion. Localised erosion may still be controlled at field level by vegetative strips. Our results suggest that average soil erosion rates are unlikely to surpass 10 ton ha-1 y-1, which is nevertheless still more than the soil renewal by weathering (about 1 ton ha-1 y-1). Any recommendations for improved soil management should ideally be tested at the appropriate scale and should capture the climatic (rainfall) conditions under which they are intended to mitigate soil erosion problems. This brings us to Chapter 7, which concentrates on scenario development with stakeholders for olive orchards in the five Olivero target areas (Objective 4). The first step in scenario development is in fact the establishment of a typology of SMOPS (Chapter 3), as their future perspectives differ. The next step is to perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Departing from the SWOT, a general overview is given of the medium- and long-term prospects. These have been validated by experts from the olive sector and foresee changes towards abandonment, intensification and organic production. On balance, the changes could lead to lower production of some target areas in future. An analysis of major external factors affecting the future development of SMOPS indicates there will be labour shortages and increased wage rates, reduced subsidies and constant or rising olive oil prices. On the basis of these assumptions, four future scenarios are developed for the five target areas, with the help of a Linear Programming (LP) simulation model. The results are presented for two target areas. For the Trás-os-Montes target area in Portugal, three of the four tested scenarios point to a high level of abandonment, while in the most positive scenario the areas under semi-intensive low input and organic SMOPS increase. In the Granada/Jaén target area in Spain, all scenarios hint at intensification, and only the orchards on the steepest slopes are likely to be abandoned. The direction and extent of environmental effects (erosion, fire risk, pollution, water use and biodiversity) differ per scenario, as do the extent of cross-compliance and AEM. In Chapter 8, the LP model and scenarios of Chapter 7 are taken as a point of departure for a further methodological development and optimization of environmental and social performance of SMOPS (Objective 5). It presents alternative (multiple) goal programming (GP) models that take into account two perspectives: a farmer’s and that of the society at large. The two perspectives represent hierarchical levels mutually dependent on each other to achieve best performance of the SMOPS from their perspective. A weighted GP model from a farmer’s perspective – in short WGP (F), in which income represents half of the total weight of criteria, scored best on income and environmental and social objectives under all scenarios. Further analysis using the WGP (F) model showed that the scenarios have an important effect on SMOPS performance from a farmer’s, but not from a societal perspective. Current cross-compliance conditions and AEM give more incentives to reduce the negative environmental impact of (intensive) farming than to enhance the positive functions of traditional agriculture or reduce the negative effects of abandonment. SMOPS under more constrained and disadvantaged positions are burdened with additional policy requirements, while those with intensification potential (under favourable conditions) are not and may opt to participate in attractive AEM schemes. The effectiveness of cross-compliance and AEM can be improved by: a) removing substantial overlap between them; b) shifting focus of cross-compliance conditions more to intensive SMOPS, e.g. by the inclusion of IPM, or design additional conditions for them; c) shifting focus of AEM more to extensive SMOPS or design additional measures for them, e.g. by inclusion of biodiversity aims; and d) increase incentives for farmers to adhere to or comply with the policies, for example by giving awards to ‘good’ farmers. Chapter 9 recapitalizes the findings from previous chapters. It argues that with the full integration of the olive sector in the single farm payment scheme, an opportunity has been missed to promote low intensity olive farming. What functions are valued is context-dependent and science plays a facilitating role. The concept of conservation scenario is coined as an iterative learning process to facilitate adaptation to factors beyond decision-makers’ control. After all, we better build a house on a solid foundation of knowledge…
    The hillslope-storage Boussinesq model for variable bedrock slope
    Hilberts, A.G.J. ; Troch, P.A.A. ; Loon, E.E. van; Paniconi, C. - \ 2004
    regen - oppervlakkige afvoer - relaties - infiltratie - glooiend land - modellen - rain - runoff - relationships - infiltration - sloping land - models
    Soil, hillslope and network structure as an opportunity for smart catchment scale hydrological models
    Bogaart, P.W. ; Troch, P.A.A. - \ 2004
    hydrologie - hydrologie van stroomgebieden - glooiend land - geomorfologie - bodemvorming - modellen - hydrology - catchment hydrology - sloping land - geomorphology - soil formation - models
    The researchers aim at understanding the spatio-temporal structure of hydrological relevant landscape properties by means of landscape evolution modelling. In this contribution the geomorphological parameters are discussed
    Linked from below: The impact of shallow groundwater dynamics on the spatial variability of soil moisture along hillslopes
    Bogaart, P.W. ; Teuling, A.J. ; Troch, P.A.A. - \ 2004
    In: Book of Abstracts. International workshop on the terrestrial water cycle: Modeling and data assimilation across catchment scales, workshop, Princeton, 25-27 October 2004. - Wageningen : Sub-department Water Resources - p. 131 - 131.
    bodemwater - ruimtelijke variatie - modellen - glooiend land - soil water - spatial variation - models - sloping land
    Soil conservation options for olive orchards on sloping land
    Fleskens, L. ; Graaff, J. de - \ 2003
    In: Conservation agriculture : environment, farmers experiences, innovations, socio-economy, policy / García-Torres, L., Benites, J., Dordrecht : Kluwer Academic Publishers - ISBN 9781402011061 - p. 381 - 385.
    olijven - boomgaarden - bodembescherming - erosie - glooiend land - middellandse-zeegebied - olives - orchards - soil conservation - erosion - sloping land - mediterranean region
    Olive production is an important and growing agricultural activity throughout the Meditteranean zone. At the same time, soil erosion is one of the environmental key problems in this zone. Actual erosion in olive production areas is high, in particular on sloping land. Several erosion risk factors are present here: rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility, steep slopes and poor ground cover. In this paper an inventory is made of the actual situation and trends of olive production and erosion hazards, subsequently soil conservation options are briefly described
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