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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    Agriculture intensification reduces plant taxonomic and functional diversity across European arable systems
    Carmona, Carlos P. ; Guerrero, Irene ; Peco, Begoña ; Morales, Manuel B. ; Oñate, Juan J. ; Pärt, Tomas ; Tscharntke, Teja ; Liira, Jaan ; Aavik, Tsipe ; Emmerson, Mark ; Berendse, Frank ; Ceryngier, Piotr ; Bretagnolle, Vincent ; Weisser, Wolfgang W. ; Bengtsson, Jan - \ 2020
    Functional Ecology 34 (2020)7. - ISSN 0269-8463 - p. 1448 - 1460.
    agricultural intensification - arable plants - dispersal - functional diversity - landscape - species richness - weeds

    Agricultural intensification is one of the main drivers of species loss worldwide, but there is still a lack of information about its effect on functional diversity of arable weed communities. Using a large-scale pan European study including 786 fields within 261 farms from eight countries, we analysed differences in the taxonomic and functional diversity of arable weeds assemblages across different levels of agricultural intensification. We estimated weed species frequency in each field, and collected species' traits (vegetative height, SLA and seed mass) from the TRY plant trait database. With this information, we estimated taxonomic (species richness), functional composition (community weighted means) and functional diversity (functional richness, evenness, divergence and redundancy). We used indicators of agricultural management intensity at the individual field scale (e.g. yield, inputs of nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides, frequency of mechanical weed control practices) and at the landscape scale surrounding the field (i.e. number of crop types, mean field size and proportion of arable land cover within a radius of 500 m from the sampling points). The effects of agricultural intensification on species and functional richness at the field scale were stronger than those of intensification at the landscape scale, and we did not observe evidence of interacting effects between the two scales. Overall, assemblages in more intensified areas had fewer species, a higher prevalence of species with ruderal strategies (low stature, high leaf area, light seeds), and lower functional redundancy. Maintaining the diversity of Europe's arable weed communities requires some simple management interventions, for example, reducing the high intensity of field-level agricultural management across Europe, which could be complemented by interventions that increase landscape complexity. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.

    Dimensions of biodiversity loss : Spatial mismatch in land-use impacts on species, functional and phylogenetic diversity of European bees
    Palma, Adriana De; Kuhlmann, Michael ; Bugter, Rob ; Ferrier, Simon ; Hoskins, Andrew J. ; Potts, Simon G. ; Roberts, Stuart P.M. ; Schweiger, Oliver ; Purvis, Andy - \ 2017
    Diversity and Distributions 23 (2017)12. - ISSN 1366-9516 - p. 1435 - 1446.
    agricultural intensification - land-use conversion - non-random species loss - pollinator diversity
    Aim: Agricultural intensification and urbanization are important drivers of biodiversity change in Europe. Different aspects of bee community diversity vary in their sensitivity to these pressures, as well as independently influencing ecosystem service provision (pollination). To obtain a more comprehensive understanding of human impacts on bee diversity across Europe, we assess multiple, complementary indices of diversity. Location: One Thousand four hundred and forty six sites across Europe. Methods: We collated data on bee occurrence and abundance from the published literature and supplemented them with the PREDICTS database. Using Rao's Quadratic Entropy, we assessed how species, functional and phylogenetic diversity of 1,446 bee communities respond to land-use characteristics including land-use class, cropland intensity, human population density and distance to roads. We combined these models with statistically downscaled estimates of land use in 2005 to estimate and map—at a scale of approximately 1 km2—the losses in diversity relative to semi-natural/natural baseline (the predicted diversity of an uninhabited grid square, consisting only of semi-natural/natural vegetation). Results: We show that—relative to the predicted local diversity in uninhabited semi-natural/natural habitat—half of all EU27 countries have lost over 10% of their average local species diversity and two-thirds of countries have lost over 5% of their average local functional and phylogenetic diversity. All diversity measures were generally lower in pasture and higher-intensity cropland than in semi-natural/natural vegetation, but facets of diversity showed less consistent responses to human population density. These differences have led to marked spatial mismatches in losses: losses in phylogenetic diversity were in some areas almost 20 percentage points (pp.) more severe than losses in species diversity, but in other areas losses were almost 40 pp. less severe. Main conclusions: These results highlight the importance of exploring multiple measures of diversity when prioritizing and evaluating conservation actions, as species-diverse assemblages may be phylogenetically and functionally impoverished, potentially threatening pollination service provision.
    Data from: Mass-flowering crops dilute pollinator abundance in agricultural landscapes across Europe
    Holzschuh, A. ; Dainese, Matteo ; González-Varo, Juan P. ; Riedinger, V. ; Mudri-Stojnić, Sonja ; Rundlöf, M. ; Scheper, J.A. ; Wickens, J.B. ; Wickens, V.J. ; Bommarco, R. ; Kleijn, D. ; Potts, S.G. ; Roberts, Stuart P.M. ; Smith, H.G. ; Vilà, Montserrat ; Vujic, A. ; Steffan-Dewenter, I. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University & Research
    agricultural intensification
    Mass-flowering crops (MFCs) are increasingly cultivated and might influence pollinator communities in MFC fields and nearby semi-natural habitats (SNHs). Across six European regions and 2 years, we assessed how landscape-scale cover of MFCs affected pollinator densities in 408 MFC fields and adjacent SNHs. In MFC fields, densities of bumblebees, solitary bees, managed honeybees and hoverflies were negatively related to the cover of MFCs in the landscape. In SNHs, densities of bumblebees declined with increasing cover of MFCs but densities of honeybees increased. The densities of all pollinators were generally unrelated to the cover of SNHs in the landscape. Although MFC fields apparently attracted pollinators from SNHs, in landscapes with large areas of MFCs they became diluted. The resulting lower densities might negatively affect yields of pollinator-dependent crops and the reproductive success of wild plants. An expansion of MFCs needs to be accompanied by pollinator-supporting practices in agricultural landscapes.
    Combining a weed traits database with a population dynamics model predicts shifts in weed communities
    Storkey, J. ; Holst, N. ; Bøjer, Q. ; Bigongiali, F. ; Bocci, G. ; Colbach, N. ; Dorner, Z. ; Riemens, M.M. ; Sartorato, I. ; Sønderskov, M. ; Verschwele, A. - \ 2015
    Weed Research 55 (2015)2. - ISSN 0043-1737 - p. 206 - 218.
    agricultural intensification - invertebrate abundance - functional diversity - assembly theory - climate-change - winter-wheat - plant - flora - management - competition
    A functional approach to predicting shifts in weed floras in response to management or environmental change requires the combination of data on weed traits with analytical frameworks that capture the filtering effect of selection pressures on traits. A weed traits database (WTDB) was designed, populated and analysed, initially using data for 19 common European weeds, to begin to consolidate trait data in a single repository. The initial choice of traits was driven by the requirements of empirical models of weed population dynamics to identify correlations between traits and model parameters. These relationships were used to build a generic model, operating at the level of functional traits, to simulate the impact of increasing herbicide and fertiliser use on virtual weeds along gradients of seed weight and maximum height. The model generated ‘fitness contours’ (defined as population growth rates) within this trait space in different scenarios, onto which two sets of weed species, defined as common or declining in the UK, were mapped. The effect of increasing inputs on the weed flora was successfully simulated; 77% of common species were predicted to have stable or increasing populations under high fertiliser and herbicide use, in contrast with only 29% of the species that have declined. Future development of the WTDB will aim to increase the number of species covered, incorporate a wider range of traits and analyse intraspecific variability under contrasting management and environments.
    Ecological contrasts drive responses of wintering farmland birds to conservation management
    Hammers, M. ; Muskens, G.J.D.M. ; Kats, R.J.M. van; Teunissen, W.A. ; Kleijn, D. - \ 2015
    Ecography 38 (2015)8. - ISSN 0906-7590 - p. 813 - 821.
    agri-environment schemes - agricultural intensification - biodiversity - populations - grassland - food - metaanalysis - communities - diversity - declines
    In the past decades, large-scale conservation programs have been implemented to halt the decline of farmland species. The mechanisms explaining the effectiveness of these programs remain poorly understood. Here we test the recent hypothesis that the effects of conservation management are determined by the ecological contrasts in limiting resources they create relative to the baseline situation. We examine responses of wintering seed-eating farmland birds to the experimental establishment of winter food plots in areas with contrasting food availability. We found that farmland bird abundance and species richness were strongly positively related to seed availability, regardless of compositional differences between agricultural landscapes. In line with the ecological contrast hypothesis, the responses of wintering farmland birds increased with increasing conservation induced contrast in a key limiting resource. Both contrasts and relative responses were negatively related to baseline food availability, but the absolute bird density in food plots was unrelated to baseline food availability. This indicates that both relative and absolute effects of conservation management need to be considered to properly evaluate the effectiveness of conservation management.
    Implementing REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation): evidence on governance, evaluation and impacts from the REDD-ALERT project
    Matthews, R.B. ; Noordwijk, M. van; Lambin, E. ; Meyfroidt, P. ; Gupta, J. ; Verschot, L. ; Hergoualc'h, K. ; Veldkamp, E. - \ 2014
    Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 19 (2014)6. - ISSN 1381-2386 - p. 907 - 925.
    land-use - agricultural intensification - environmental services - avoided deforestation - shifting cultivation - developing-world - food security - carbon - payments - costs
    Abstract The REDD-ALERT (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation from Alternative Land Uses in the Rainforests of the Tropics) project started in 2009 and finished in 2012, and had the aim of evaluating mechanisms that translate international-level agreements into instruments that would help change the behaviour of land users while minimising adverse repercussions on their livelihoods. Findings showed that some developing tropical countries have recently been through a forest transition, thus shifting from declining to expanding forests at a national scale. However, in most of these (e.g. Vietnam), a significant part of the recent increase in national forest cover is associated with an increase in importation of food and timber products from abroad, representing leakage of carbon stocks across international borders. Avoiding deforestation and restoring forests will require a mixture of regulatory approaches, emerging market-based instruments, suasive options, and hybrid management measures. Policy analysis and modelling work showed the high degree of complexity at local levels and highlighted the need to take this heterogeneity into account—it is unlikely that there will be a one size fits all approach to make Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) work. Significant progress was made in the quantification of carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes following land-use change in the tropics, contributing to narrower confidence intervals on peat-based emissions and their reporting standards. There are indications that there is only a short and relatively small window of opportunity of making REDD+ work—these included the fact that forest-related emissions as a fraction of total global GHG emissions have been decreasing over time due to the increase in fossil fuel emissions, and that the cost efficiency of REDD+ may be much less than originally thought due to the need to factor in safeguard costs, transaction costs and monitoring costs. Nevertheless, REDD+ has raised global awareness of the world’s forests and the factors affecting them, and future developments should contribute to the emergence of new landscape-based approaches to protecting a wider range of ecosystem services. Keywords Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation . REDD+ . Indonesia . Vietnam. Cameroon . Peru . Peatlands . Carbon stocks .Greenhouse gases . GHGs
    Do field margins enrich the diet of the Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis on intensive farmland?
    Ottens, H.J. ; Kuiper, M.W. ; Flinks, H. ; Ruijven, J. van; Siepel, H. ; Koks, B.J. ; Berendse, F. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2014
    Ardea 102 (2014)2. - ISSN 0373-2266 - p. 161 - 174.
    false discovery rate - sown weed strips - food resources - nestling diet - agricultural intensification - bird populations - breeding-season - adjacent fields - perdix-perdix - prey quality
    To help restore food availability for birds, arable field margins (extensively managed strips of land sown with grasses and forbs) have been established on European farmland. In this study we describe the effect of field margins on the diet of Eurasian Skylark nestlings and adults living on intensively managed Dutch farmland. We tested the hypotheses that field margins offer a higher diversity of invertebrate prey than intensively managed crops, and that the diet of nestlings receiving food from field margins will therefore be more diverse than that of other nestlings. Field margins had a greater variety of invertebrate prey groups to offer than the intensively managed crops. Coleoptera were the most frequently and most abundantly eaten prey group by both adults and nestlings. Together, Coleoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and Araneae accounted for 91% of the nestling diet. Nestlings ate larger prey items and a larger proportion of larvae than adults. Almost 75% of both adults and nestlings consumed plant material, perhaps indicating a scarcity of invertebrate resources. When provided with food from field margins, the mean number of invertebrate orders in the nestling diet increased significantly from 4.7 to 5.5 and the number of families from 4.2 to 5.8 per sample. Thus, birds that used field margins for foraging could indeed provide their young with more invertebrate prey groups than birds only foraging in crops and grassland.
    Modelling population dynamics of the Common hamster (Cricetus cricetus): Timing of harvest as a critical aspect in the conservation of a highly endangered rodent
    Haye, M.J.J. la; Swinnen, K.R.R. ; Kuiters, A.T. ; Leirs, H. ; Siepel, H. - \ 2014
    Biological Conservation 180 (2014). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 53 - 61.
    farmland bird populations - agricultural intensification - persistence - calandra
    The Common hamster Cricetus cricetus was an agricultural pest in large parts of Europe less than 50 years ago. Currently the species is highly threatened or locally extinct and acknowledged as an important and even iconic species for nature conservation in farmland areas in Western Europe. The species was listed in the European habitats directive in 1992 to prevent a further decline, but the Common hamster is still declining in most parts of its European range despite large conservation efforts. Only a few local conservation successes have been reported so far. These disappointing conservation results raise the question: why is it so difficult to conserve this former pest species? Farming practices have been intensified in Europe and this has resulted in a more efficient way of harvesting cereals in combination with a strong reduction of spring sown cereals in favour of winter sown cereals. It is possible that these changes have become an important threat for survival of populations of this species. We developed both a deterministic and a stochastic population model for a better understanding of the current way of harvesting on the population ecology of this species and evaluated the effects of using different litter sizes on population growth and persistence. Our results suggest that under the current efficient harvest of cereals in Europe, it is highly unlikely that females of the Common hamster produce enough offspring for a sustainable population. Conservation projects for this species should focus on creating cereal fields which are not harvested until the end of August, as lack of cover is a major cause of high predation rates.
    Epilogue: global food security, rhetoric, and the sustainable intensification debate
    Kuijper, T.W.M. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2014
    Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 8 (2014). - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 71 - 79.
    green-revolution - agricultural intensification - ecological intensification - 9 billion - systems - agroecology - challenges - opportunities - perspective - agronomy
    The need to feed nine billion people in 2050 has given rise to widespread debate in science and policy circles. The debate is largely framed in neo-Malthusian terms, and elements of global food security (resilience of the food system, food quantity and quality, right to and access to food) demand equal attention. High-intensive agriculture, which enabled population growth and food for a large proportion of the global population, is often regarded as incompatible with current environmental (and social) sustainability. Because of the often problematic nature of high-intensive industrialized agriculture, sustainable agricultural intensification has been called an oxymoron. Pathways to sustainably intensify agriculture vary from business-as-usual to claims that a radical rethinking of our agricultural production is imperative. Three terms have been coined to differentiate such pathways. Whereas conventional intensification, that is business-as-usual, is uncontroversial (but often considered unlikely to be able to achieve environmental sustainability), the phrases sustainable intensification and ecological intensification both have a complex history. Although one could think that they have similar meanings, the phrases represent very different perspectives in discourses in science and policy circles. The terms Utopians and Arcadians are introduced for adherents of those perspectives. We observe that they both devote insufficient attention to inevitable trade-offs. Agricultural intensification in developing countries was greatly accelerated by the Green Revolution, which largely bypassed sub-Saharan Africa. Discontent with that outcome has led to a plethora of new terms to indicate more successful next steps for sub-Saharan agriculture. Industrialized agriculture as currently practised in developed countries will not provide a universal solution. This epilogue of the special issue and the literature herein show that intense debates on sustainable agricultural intensification are needed. Such debates on intensification demand reflection on the role of scientists with regard to their uses of current and the generation of novel knowledge.
    Water for forests to restore environmental services and alleviate poverty in Vietnam: a farm modeling approach to analyze alternative PES programs
    Damien, J. ; Boere, E.J.M. ; Berg, M.M. van den; Dang, D. ; Cu, T.P. ; Affholder, F. ; Pandey, S. - \ 2014
    Land Use Policy 41 (2014). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 423 - 437.
    sustainable land-use - ecosystem services - southeast-asia - agricultural intensification - payments - impact - issues - deforestation - technologies - population
    Most forested areas in South East Asia are located in mountainous areas, where they are reservoirs of biodiversity and have important watershed regulating functions. However, the continuing provision of these environmental services may be jeopardized by land use changes. To re-establish natural or productive forests, programs are being proposed in which participating farmers can set aside some of their cultivated sloping land and receive payment for maintaining the newly forested land. This paper compares two types of payments for ecosystems services (or PES)-type programs designed to favor reforestation by farming households: “Payments for forests” (PFF) and “Terraces for forests” (TFF). Both programs involve setting aside sloping land for reforestation but differ in the type and amount of compensation offered. PFF offers annual payments per area of retired land. TFF offers to cover the cost of converting a certain amount of a farm's sloping land into terraces, combined with annual payments per unit area of retired land. The main objective of the paper is to compare the two types of programs in terms of cost-efficiency – can we get the same amount of forest at lower cost? – and equity – will the poorest farmers participate? Using mathematical programming, we developed a set of farm models corresponding to typical farms in a mountainous district in Northern Vietnam. We simulated participation rates of different types of farms in the two types of PES programs. For each PES, we assessed the amount of land converted into forest, the cost of the program, and its impacts on land use and household revenues, at individual farm and village level. Results of our simulations showed that increasing access to irrigated terraces as a way of compensating for converting land to forest increased the participation of the poorest farmers and was more cost efficient than pure cash payments. This suggests that existing PFF programs are biased against the smallest landholders in the region whereas they could be transformed into win–win programs likely to increase forested areas and reduce inequalities among farm households. Our paper demonstrates that PES schemes, when fine-tuned to the South East Asian context, could not only be used to restore ecosystem services, but also to alleviate poverty.
    Ecological intensification: harnessing ecosystem services for food security
    Bommarco, R. ; Kleijn, D. ; Potts, S.G. - \ 2013
    Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28 (2013)4. - ISSN 0169-5347 - p. 230 - 238.
    bee species responses - biological-control - agricultural intensification - natural enemies - landscape scale - biodiversity conservation - terrestrial ecosystems - biotic interactions - soil biodiversity - plant-communities
    Rising demands for agricultural products will increase pressure to further intensify crop production, while negative environmental impacts have to be minimized. Ecological intensification entails the environmentally friendly replacement of anthropogenic inputs and/or enhancement of crop productivity, by including regulating and supporting ecosystem services management in agricultural practices. Effective ecological intensification requires an understanding of the relations between land use at different scales and the community composition of ecosystem service-providing organisms above and below ground, and the flow, stability, contribution to yield, and management costs of the multiple services delivered by these organisms. Research efforts and investments are particularly needed to reduce existing yield gaps by integrating context-appropriate bundles of ecosystem services into crop production systems
    Field margins as foraging habitat for skylarks (Alauda arvensis) in the breeding season
    Kuiper, M.W. ; Ottens, H.J. ; Cenin, L. ; Schaffers, A.P. ; Ruijven, J. van; Koks, B.J. ; Berendse, F. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2013
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 170 (2013). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 10 - 15.
    agri-environment schemes - farmland birds - agricultural intensification - food resources - ecological effectiveness - population trends - landscape context - biodiversity - management - invertebrates
    Agri-environment schemes have been established in many European countries to counteract the ongoing decline of farmland birds. In this study, the selection of foraging habitat by breeding skylarks was examined in relation to agri-environmental management on Dutch farmland. Field margin use was quantified and, based on the observed flight distances, the appropriateness of the current spatial arrangement of field margins in the study landscape was evaluated. Skylarks preferred field margins for foraging over all other habitat types relative to their surface area within the territories. The visiting rate of field margins decreased with increasing distance to the nest, and especially dropped markedly when the distance between the nest and a field margin exceeded 100 m. Analysis of the current spatial arrangement of field margins in the landscape suggested that the area of skylark breeding habitat within 100 m of a field margin could be increased by 46%. This was due to the placement of field margins alongside unsuitable breeding habitat and to the positioning of field margins at short distances from each other. The efficiency of agri-environmental management for skylarks can likely be improved by a more careful spatial arrangement of field margins in the landscape.
    Greenhouse-gas emissions from soils increased by earthworms
    Lubbers, I.M. ; Groenigen, K.J. van; Fonte, S.J. ; Six, J. ; Brussaard, L. ; Groenigen, J.W. van - \ 2013
    Nature Climate Change 3 (2013). - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 187 - 194.
    nitrous-oxide fluxes - organic-matter dynamics - carbon-dioxide - ecosystem engineers - agricultural intensification - nitrifier denitrification - endogeic earthworms - microbial activity - n2o emission - crop residue
    Earthworms play an essential part in determining the greenhouse-gas balance of soils worldwide, and their influence is expected to grow over the next decades. They are thought to stimulate carbon sequestration in soil aggregates, but also to increase emissions of the main greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Hence, it remains highly controversial whether earthworms predominantly affect soils to act as a net source or sink of greenhouse gases. Here, we provide a quantitative review of the overall effect of earthworms on the soil greenhouse-gas balance. Our results suggest that although earthworms are largely beneficial to soil fertility, they increase net soil greenhouse-gas emissions
    Revealing the contributions of reproduction and survival to the Europe-wide decline in meadow birds: review and meta-analysis
    Roodbergen, M. ; Werf, D.C. van der; Hotker, H. - \ 2012
    Journal of Ornithology 153 (2012)1. - ISSN 2193-7192 - p. 53 - 74.
    redshank tringa-totanus - oystercatchers haematopus-ostralegus - lapwings vanellus-vanellus - godwits limosa-limosa - farmland birds - agricultural intensification - breeding population - adult survival - nest success - demographic parameters
    In this review, we summarize available data on nest success, chick survival and reproductive output, and adult and juvenile survival of five meadow breeding waders in Europe: Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata), and Common Redshank (Tringa totanus). The survival data from the assembled studies did not show an overall decline in adult survival in any of these species. However, our meta-analyses on reproduction data show that chick survival declined strongly in the last 40 years in western Europe and that nest success declined in eastern Europe in the period 1995-2005, in Scandinavia in the period 1985-2005, and in western Europe in the period 1950-1980. Predation of nests has increased by c. +40% in all five species in western Europe during the last four decades. Results on reproductive output, the number of fledglings produced per breeding pair, were less clear. A decline was apparent in Eurasian Oystercatcher in the period 1963-2005; an initial decline in 1953-1990, but slight recent (1990-2006) recovery in Northern Lapwing; an initial decline in Black-tailed Godwit in the period 1985-1995, but again slight increase from 1995 onwards; no trend in Common Redshank (1992-2006) nor in Eurasian Curlew (1961-2006). In all five species the results indicate that present population declines are caused by a decrease in reproduction, not in adult survival, and that reproductive output is presently too low to compensate for adult mortality.
    Challenges for land system science
    Rounsevell, M.D.A. ; Pedroli, G.B.M. ; Erb, K.H. ; Perez-Soba, M. - \ 2012
    Land Use Policy 29 (2012)4. - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 899 - 910.
    ecosystem services - cover change - spatially explicit - global change - agricultural intensification - environmental-change - landscape functions - human appropriation - united-states - use scenarios
    While considerable progress has been made in understanding land use change, land system science continues to face a number of grand challenges. This paper discusses these challenges with a focus on empirical land system studies, land system modelling and the analysis of future visions of land system change. Contemporary landscapes are contingent outcomes of past and present patterns, processes and decisions. Thus, empirical analysis of past and present land-use change has an important role in providing insights into the socio-economic and ecological processes that shape land use transitions. This is especially important with respect to gradual versus rapid land system dynamics and in understanding changes in land use intensity. Combining the strengths of empirical analysis with multi-scale modelling will lead to new insights into the processes driving land system change. New modelling methods that combine complex systems thinking at a local level with macro-level economic analysis of the land system would reconcile the multi-scale dynamics currently encapsulated in bottom-up and top-down modelling approaches. Developments in land use futures analysis could focus on integrating explorative scenarios that reflect possible outcomes with normative visions that identify desired outcomes. Such an approach would benefit from the broad and in-depth involvement of stakeholders in order to link scientific findings to political and societal decision-making culminating in a set of key choices and consequences. Land system models have an important role in supporting future land use policy, but model outputs require scientific interpretation rather than being presented as predictions. The future of land system science is strongly dependent on the research community's capacity to bring together the elements of research discussed in the paper, via empirical data collection and analysis of observed processes, computer simulation across scale levels and futures analysis of alternative, normative visions through stakeholder engagement.
    Forests and trees for social adaptation to climate variability and change
    Pramova, E. ; Locatelli, B. ; Djoudi, H. ; Somorin, O.A. - \ 2012
    Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 3 (2012)6. - ISSN 1757-7780 - p. 581 - 596.
    ecosystem-based adaptation - environmental services - adaptive capacity - tropical forests - mangrove forests - agricultural intensification - coastal vegetation - natural insurance - coping strategies - food security
    Ecosystems provide important services that can help people adapt to climate variability and change. Recognizing this role of ecosystems, several international and nongovernmental organizations have promoted an ecosystem-based approach to adaptation. We review the scientific literature related to ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) with forests and trees, and highlight five cases in which forests and trees can support adaptation: (1) forests and trees providing goods to local communities facing climatic threats; (2) trees in agricultural fields regulating water, soil, and microclimate for more resilient production; (3) forested watersheds regulating water and protecting soils for reduced climate impacts; (4) forests protecting coastal areas from climate-related threats; and (5) urban forests and trees regulating temperature and water for resilient cities. The literature provides evidence that EBA with forests and trees can reduce social vulnerability to climate hazards; however, uncertainties and knowledge gaps remain, particularly for regulating services in watersheds and coastal areas. Few studies have been undertaken on EBA specifically, but the abundant literature on ecosystem services can be used to fill knowledge gaps. Many studies assess the multiple benefits of ecosystems for human adaptation or well-being, but also recognize trade-offs between ecosystem services. Better understanding is needed of the efficiency, costs, and benefits, and trade-offs of EBA with forests and trees. Pilot projects under implementation could serve as learning sites and existing information could be systematized and revisited with a climate change adaptation lens.
    Social-ecological and regional adaption of agrobiodiversity management across a global set of research regions
    Jackson, L.E. ; Pulleman, M.M. ; Brussaard, L. ; Bawa, K. ; Brown, G.G. ; Cardoso, I.M. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Garcia-Barrios, L.E. ; Hollander, A.D. ; Lavelle, P. ; Ouedraogo, E. ; Pascual, U. ; Setty, S. ; Smukler, S.M. ; Tscharntke, T. ; Noordwijk, M. van - \ 2012
    Global environmental change : human and policy dimensions 22 (2012)3. - ISSN 0959-3780 - p. 623 - 639.
    atlantic rain-forest - agricultural intensification - biodiversity conservation - ecosystem services - environmental services - commodity production - production systems - central plateau - burkina-faso - landscape
    To examine management options for biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, eight research regions were classified into social-ecological domains, using a dataset of indicators of livelihood resources, i.e., capital assets. Potential interventions for biodiversity-based agriculture were then compared among landscapes and domains. The approach combined literature review with expert judgment by researchers working in each landscape. Each landscape was described for land use, rural livelihoods and attitudes of social actors toward biodiversity and intensification of agriculture. Principal components analysis of 40 indicators of natural, human, social, financial and physical capital for the eight landscapes showed a loss of biodiversity associated with high-input agricultural intensification. High levels of natural capital (e.g. indicators of wildland biodiversity conservation and agrobiodiversity for human needs) were positively associated with indicators of human capital, including knowledge of the flora and fauna and knowledge sharing among farmers. Three social-ecological domains were identified across the eight landscapes (Tropical Agriculture-Forest Matrix, Tropical Degrading Agroecosystem, and Temperate High-Input Commodity Agriculture) using hierarchical clustering of the indicator values. Each domain shared a set of interventions for biodiversity-based agriculture and ecological intensification that could also increase food security in the impoverished landscapes. Implementation of interventions differed greatly among the landscapes, e.g. financial capital for new farming practices in the Intensive Agriculture domain vs. developing market value chains in the other domains. This exploratory study suggests that indicators of knowledge systems should receive greater emphasis in the monitoring of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and that inventories of assets at the landscape level can inform adaptive management of agrobiodiversity-based interventions
    Multicriteria performance and sustainability in livestock farming systems: Functional diversity matters
    Tichit, M. ; Puillet, L. ; Sabatier, R. ; Teillard, F. - \ 2011
    Livestock Science 139 (2011)1-2. - ISSN 1871-1413 - p. 161 - 171.
    agricultural intensification - floristic diversity - breeding waders - viability model - food resources - trade-offs - management - biodiversity - grassland - birds
    Agricultural intensification drastically reduces diversity at different scales of livestock farming systems (LFS). This homogenization process leads to environmental degradation and ignores the fact that multiple performance criterions often come in conflict. Taking advantage of diversity at different scales of LFS is a new challenge to improve sustainability. The diversity is considered here on a functional viewpoint, i.e. a variety of functions played by individual production entities involved in overall performance. The objective of this study was to examine how the diversity of individual production entities shapes the relationship between different performance criterions at the upper scale. We used two types of dynamic models representing contrasting LFS: extensive grassland suckling farms and intensive dairy herds. Both models include a certain level of functional diversity with production entities corresponding to different types of management practices (grassland farm model) or different types of females (herd model). With the grassland farm model, we studied how the biodiversity/production relationship was influenced by the functional diversity of management practices. With the herd model, we explored how production/efficiency relationship was influenced by the functional diversity of females. At the farm scale, we showed that interactions between the diverse management practices shaped the relationship between ecological and productive performance from a convex to a concave trade-off. Complementary effects resulting from the diversity of management practices thus improved the trade-off. Trade-off shape also depended on the level of farm intensity and it was less costly for the extensive farms to achieve viable levels of ecological performance. Increasing the complementary effect through increased diversity in management practices is likely to improve the conciliation between productive and ecological performance. At the herd scale, we observed a win–win situation between production and efficiency. However, at the highest levels of production, there was a production/efficiency trade-off; increases in either production or efficiency corresponded to distinct functional groups of females. Managing the functional groups of females with targeted practices is likely to improve the production/efficiency trade-off. We concluded from both case studies that functional diversity plays a key role in the relationship between multiple performance criterions. The next steps on the research agenda include exploring new spatial and temporal scales and accounting for environmental variability. A better understanding of the role of functional diversity can benefit from multi-criterions and multi-scale modelling approaches.
    Abundance of invertebrate prey for birds on organic and conventional arable farms in the Netherlands
    Kragten, S. ; Tamis, W.L.M. ; Gentenaar, E. ; Midcap Ramiro, S.M. ; Poll, R.J. van der; Wang, J. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2011
    Bird Conservation International 21 (2011)1. - ISSN 0959-2709 - p. 1 - 11.
    skylarks alauda-arvensis - agricultural intensification - farmland birds - vanellus-vanellus - breeding success - northern europe - hirundo-rustica - populations - landscape - diversity
    As a result of agricultural intensification, populations of farmland birds have been in steep decline for several decades. Reduction in food abundance has been mentioned as one factor behind these declines. Extensive farm management, such as use of organic methods, is expected to provide more food for birds. In this study we compared invertebrate prey abundance for birds during the breeding season between organic and conventional arable farms. We made comparisons for three different groups of birds: (1) birds feeding on soil-living invertebrates (earthworms), (2) birds feeding on ground-dwelling invertebrates and (3) birds feeding on aerial invertebrates. Invertebrate abundance was compared between organic and conventional farms, crop and non-crop habitats, and between crop and non-crop habitats under the same farm management. On organic sites, earthworm abundance was 2–4 times higher than on conventional sites, but no differences were found between crop types. Total abundance of ground-dwelling invertebrates did not differ between organic and conventional sites, but positive effects were found for several individual taxonomic groups, such as carabid beetles and spiders. On organic farms, invertebrate abundance was higher in carrots, cereals and onions compared to other crops; on conventional farms this was true for onions. When compared with most crops, ground-dwelling invertebrate abundance was low in uncropped field margins and on ditch banks. On organic farms, aerial invertebrate abundance was approximately 70% higher than on conventional farms. On cereal fields, aerial invertebrates were especially abundant
    Termite and earthworm abundance and taxonomic richness under long-term conservation soil management in Saria, Burkina Faso, West Africa
    Zida, Z. ; Ouedraogo, E. ; Mando, A. ; Stroosnijder, L. - \ 2011
    Applied Soil Ecology 51 (2011)11. - ISSN 0929-1393 - p. 122 - 129.
    organic-matter - agricultural intensification - agroecosystem function - population-dynamics - tropical forests - carbon dynamics - feeding termite - land-use - biodiversity - diversity
    Unsustainable crop and soil management practices are major causes of soil degradation and declining soil biodiversity in West Africa. Identifying soil management practices that favor macrofauna abundance is highly desirable for long-term soil health. This study investigates the effects of long-term conservation soil management on termite and earthworm abundance and taxonomic richness in the central plateau of Burkina Faso. Trials included rotations with 5 Mg ha-1 yr-2 of organic matter added (established in 1960), application of 10 Mg ha-1 yr-1applied with additional organic (manure or straw) and mineral inputs (established in 1980) and different tillage systems (established in 1990) where 10 Mg ha-1 yr-1 of organic matter was also applied. Soil macrofauna was surveyed at the soil surface and in the upper 30 cm using transect and monolith sampling methods, eight weeks after sorghum crop planting. A total of five termite taxa: Trinervitermes sp., Microtermes sp., Odontotermes magdalenae, Macrotermes sp. and Amitermes stephensoni; belonging to the family of Termitidae, and two earthworm taxa: Dichogaster affinis, Millsonia inermis; from the family of Acanthodrilidae were found. Termite taxonomic richness per treatment ranged between 1 and 4, while earthworm taxa ranged from 0 to 2. Under rotation, one termite taxa and no earthworm taxa were identified. In the organic amendment plots, three termite and two earthworm taxa were found. And light tillage (animal or hand) resulted in four termite taxa and one earthworm taxa. The two types of fauna clearly responded differently to the different conservation soil management practices. Under rotation lower recorded macrofauna population was attributed to the lower rate of applied organic matter compared to levels applied in the organic amendment and tillage trials and where more macrofauna were found. Location of food stock (rooting depth of different crops in the rotation) also had a significant effect on termite presence. Effect of rooting depth on earthworms was not observable due to the absence of earthworms in the rotation trials (possibly due to insecticide application. Manure treatments favored earthworms, while sorghum straw treatments favored termites likely due to respective preference for easy versus difficult to digest organic sources. Animal plowing and hand hoeing had similar and significantly positive effects and both termite and earthworm biological components compared to tractor tillage. We conclude that termite and earthworm abundance and taxonomic richness are most significantly affected by the type and amount of organic matter applied and tillage regimes, with rooting depth of rotations crops also playing a significant role. To promote macrofauna abundance and taxonomic richness in soils, integrated conservation soil management practices with attention to the particular needs and preferences of termites and earthworms is needed.
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