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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    Bedrijven en hun impact op en afhankelijkheid van natuurlijk kapitaal
    Smits, M.J.W. ; Bos, E.J. ; Heide, C.M. van der; Selnes, T. ; Vogelzang, T.A. - \ 2016
    Wageningen : LEI Wageningen UR (Rapport / LEI Wageningen UR 2016-060) - ISBN 9789462578395 - 27
    natuurlijke hulpbronnen - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - ecosystemen - dienstensector - bedrijven - organisaties - natural resources - sustainability - ecosystems - services - businesses - organizations
    What tools and data do companies use to measure their impact on natural capital, and what are the gaps in terms of instruments ? The main findings, based on interviews are: i) companies mainly work with LCA ii) companies with many products prefer to work with labels, iii) there is a need for standardisation at the sector level, iv) availability of data at field level is a bottleneck, v) nonfrontrunners could be more involved in natural capital.
    Landscape diversity enhances the resilience of populations, ecosystems and local economy in rural areas
    Schippers, P. ; Heide, C.M. van der; Koelewijn, H.P. ; Schouten, M.A.H. ; Smulders, M.J.M. ; Cobben, M.M.P. ; Sterk, M. ; Vos, C.C. ; Verboom, J. - \ 2015
    Landscape Ecology 30 (2015)2. - ISSN 0921-2973 - p. 193 - 202.
    climate-change - genetic diversity - patch size - habitat fragmentation - ecological resilience - response diversity - biodiversity - conservation - reserves - services
    Context In today’s world, rapid environmental and economic developments and changes pose major threats to ecosystems and economic systems. Objective In this context we explore if resilience can be increased by the spatial configuration of the rural landscape in an integrated ecological-genetic-economic way. Methods We study the concept of landscape diversity from genetic, ecological and economic perspectives. Results We show that small-scale landscapes are potentially more resilient than large-scale landscapes, provided that ecosystem patch sizes are sufficiently large to support genetic diversity and ecosystem and economic functions. The basic premise underlying this finding is that more variation in a landscape generally leads to greater genetic and species diversity. This, in turn, stabilizes populations and strengthens the different ecosystem elements in the landscape. Greater variation in ecosystem elements provides for more varied ecosystem services, which may enhance the resilience of the local economy. Conclusion We conclude that a resilient landscape is shaped within the context of economic and ecological possibilities and constraints, and is determined by landscape diversity and spatial organisation.
    Social actors and unsustainability of agriculture
    Bernard, F. ; Noordwijk, M. van; Luedeling, E. ; Villamor, G.B. ; Sileshi, G.W. ; Namirembe, S. - \ 2014
    Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 6 (2014). - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 155 - 161.
    sustainability - management - food - services - systems - africa
    Social actors can strongly affect the sustainability of agricultural operations by influencing farmers’ decisions and choices. Such actors include: (1) loss-making investors who abandon farms due to low returns, (2) angry neighbours negatively affected by farming operations and engaging in silent or active conflict, (3) dissatisfied customers at the end of the value chain who reject the products and shift to alternative providers, and (4) overacting regulators who over-regulate farm activities. A higher order sustainability concept considers the ability of farms to adapt and learn from early signs of threats. A number of response paths based on policies, incentives and information supply have been developed to support learning and adjustments. Emphasis on the nested-scales relations of incremental sustainability and sustainagility, in addition to the more commonly articulated ecological threshold perspective, helps identify key indicators that characterize unsustainability processes across countries and contexts. A dynamic systems understanding also assists selection of process indicators focused on response paths that complement result-oriented approaches in current sustainability assessment frameworks.
    Gender differences in land-use decisions: shaping multifunctional landscapes?
    Villamor, G.B. ; Noordwijk, M. van; Djanibekov, U. ; Chiong-Javier, E. ; Catacutan, D. - \ 2014
    Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 6 (2014). - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 128 - 133.
    models - challenges - management - services - behavior - farmers - systems - matter
    While decision-making processes of land managers drive land-use change and affect the provision of ecosystems services, there is no concrete understanding of whether gender specificity in decision-making influences the multifunctionality of landscapes. We distinguish eleven elements in a typical management cycle. In reviewing the literature, we found apparent gaps on gendered knowledge, preferences, risk taking and access to innovation in land-use decision making. Male and female responses in the adoption of agroforestry practices and other investment opportunities reflect differing exposure to and perceptions of risk. Innovative approaches such as agent-based models and role-playing games are currently applied to study gendered behavior in land-use decisions. These approaches can assist researchers to explicitly and empirically compare potentially self-reinforcing behaviors or feedback loops with local impacts on ecosystem services.
    Consequences of biodiversity loss for litter decomposition across biomes
    Handa, I.T. ; Aerts, R. ; Berendse, F. ; Berg, M.P. ; Butenschoen, O. ; Bruder, A. ; Chauvet, E. ; Gessner, M.O. ; Jabiol, J. ; Makkonen, M. ; McKie, B.G. ; Malmqvist, B. ; Peeters, E.T.H.M. ; Scheu, S. ; Schmid, B. ; Ruijven, J. van; Vos, V.C.A. ; Hattenschwiler, S. - \ 2014
    Nature 509 (2014). - ISSN 0028-0836 - p. 218 - 221.
    species functional diversity - leaf-litter - ecosystems - patterns - services - climate - traits
    The decomposition of dead organic matter is a major determinant of carbon and nutrient cycling in ecosystems, and of carbon fluxes between the biosphere and the atmosphere1, 2, 3. Decomposition is driven by a vast diversity of organisms that are structured in complex food webs2, 4. Identifying the mechanisms underlying the effects of biodiversity on decomposition is critical4, 5, 6 given the rapid loss of species worldwide and the effects of this loss on human well-being7, 8, 9. Yet despite comprehensive syntheses of studies on how biodiversity affects litter decomposition4, 5, 6, 10, key questions remain, including when, where and how biodiversity has a role and whether general patterns and mechanisms occur across ecosystems and different functional types of organism4, 9, 10, 11, 12. Here, in field experiments across five terrestrial and aquatic locations, ranging from the subarctic to the tropics, we show that reducing the functional diversity of decomposer organisms and plant litter types slowed the cycling of litter carbon and nitrogen. Moreover, we found evidence of nitrogen transfer from the litter of nitrogen-fixing plants to that of rapidly decomposing plants, but not between other plant functional types, highlighting that specific interactions in litter mixtures control carbon and nitrogen cycling during decomposition. The emergence of this general mechanism and the coherence of patterns across contrasting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems suggest that biodiversity loss has consistent consequences for litter decomposition and the cycling of major elements on broad spatial scales.
    Climate change and deforestation: the evolution of an intersecting policy domain
    Buizer, I.M. ; Humphreys, D. ; Jong, W. de - \ 2014
    Environmental Science & Policy 35 (2014). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 1 - 11.
    forest governance - redd plus - land-use - biodiversity - emissions - countries - services - regime
    Forests and climate change are increasingly dealt with as interconnected policy issues. Both the potential synergies and policy conflicts between forest conservation and restoration and climate change mitigation now receive sustained and high level attention from academic, policy analysis and practitioner communities across the globe. Arguably the most pronounced contemporary policy manifestation of this is the debate on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (or REDD+) by which governments and private investors from developed countries may compensate actors in tropical forest countries for reducing forest loss beneath an agreed baseline. Problems of climate–forest policies implementation and governance, however, can also be found in countries such as Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia. The future of instruments like REDD+ is uncertain with growing critiques on payment and performance-based mechanisms and unresolved issues of governance, government and accountability. This paper, and the special issue it introduces, illustrates that in the REDD+ debate many contentious issues have resurfaced from past debates. These issues include the participation and rights of local communities in forest policy and management; the relationship between internationally agreed payment and performance-based programmes and formal democratic decision-making processes and structures; the complexities of rights to carbon versus tenure rights; and the ways in which – in spite of the high expectations of both developing and developed countries to combat carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through the REDD+ mechanism – effective climate-focused forestry policies are seldom found in most tropical forest-rich countries. REDD+ is now very much the dominant discourse at the forest–climate interface, and one with a primary focus on measurability to communicate carbon mitigation results across various levels. However, this serves to disperse and displace, rather than resolve, policy-making on non-carbon values.
    Application of an integrated systemic framework for analysing agricultural innovation systems and informing innovation policies: Comparing the Dutch and Scottish agrifood sectors
    Lamprinopoulou, C. ; Renwick, A. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Hermans, F. ; Roep, D. - \ 2014
    Agricultural Systems 129 (2014). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 40 - 54.
    knowledge - management - networks - technology - sustainability - fragmentation - instruments - extension - services - ethiopia
    Innovation is receiving increased attention among policymakers as a means of addressing sustainable economic development challenges. However, a range of factors such as inappropriate physical and knowledge infrastructures, incoherence of institutional frameworks, or lack of specific capabilities may have a negative impact on the functioning of the agricultural innovation system. The purpose of this paper is to apply a comprehensive innovation systems analytical framework, reconciling analyses of systemic structures, functions, failures and merits of innovation systems to assess and compare the performance of the agricultural innovation systems of Scotland and the Netherlands. To achieve this an analytical framework was drawn up based on the available literature, and through a process that included document analysis and a series of semi-structured interviews and workshops with experts in the two countries the agrifood sectors were empirically assessed. In both countries, systemic failures in terms of actors’ interactions and competencies as well as market and incentive structures were revealed. However, differences emerge between the two countries that appear to relate more to social and cultural (soft institutions) differences rather than the formal legal and regulatory frameworks (hard institutions)
    Defining, researching and struggling for water justice: some conceptual building blocks for research and action
    Zwarteveen, M.Z. ; Boelens, R.A. - \ 2014
    Water International 39 (2014)2. - ISSN 0250-8060 - p. 143 - 158.
    political ecology - irrigation - scale - governance - efficiency - services - strategy - complex
    This article provides a framework for understanding water problems as problems of justice. Drawing on wider (environmental) justice approaches, informed by interdisciplinary ontologies that define water as simultaneously natural (material) and social, and based on an explicit acceptance of water problems as always contested, the article posits that water justice is embedded and specific to historical and socio-cultural contexts. Water justice includes but transcends questions of distribution to include those of cultural recognition and political participation, and is intimately linked to the integrity of ecosystems. Justice requires the creative building of bridges and alliances across differences.
    A practice based approach to forest governance
    Arts, B.J.M. ; Behagel, J.H. ; Turnhout, E. ; Koning, J. de; Bommel, S. van - \ 2014
    Forest Policy and Economics 49 (2014). - ISSN 1389-9341 - p. 4 - 11.
    biodiversity - management - economics - services - science
    Forest governance’ refers to new modes of regulation in the forest sector, such as decentralized, communitybased and market-oriented policy instruments and management approaches. Its main theoretical basis consists of two mainstream models: rational choice and neo-institutionalism. Since these models rest upon problematic conceptualisations of ‘the social’, this paper proposes a so-called ‘practice based approach’, which offers a comprehensive understanding of social dynamics related to trees, forests and biodiversity. It tries to go beyond someof the old dualisms in social theory, such as subject and object, human and nature and agency and structure. Three sensitising concepts – situated agency, logic of practice and performativity – are introduced and their application is illustrated by a number of examples from forest governance practices: joint forest management in India, decentralized forest management in Bolivia and the construction of biodiversity datasets in Europe. The paper also addresses some of the criticisms the approach has received.
    Decision making under the tree: gender perspectives on decentralization reforms in service delivery in rural Tanzania
    Masanyiwa, Z.S. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Anke Niehof; Katrien Termeer. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789461738998 - 195
    decentralisatie - overheidssector - dienstensector - plattelandsgemeenschappen - geslacht (gender) - man-vrouwrelaties - tanzania - afrika - decentralization - public sector - services - rural communities - gender - gender relations - tanzania - africa

    In recent decades, decentralization has been upheld by governments, donors and policy makers in many developing countries as a means of improving people’s participation and public services delivery. In 1996, the government of Tanzania embarked on major local government reforms reflecting the global trends and as part of the wider public sector reforms. The reforms aim at improving the access, quality and equitable delivery of public services through a policy of ‘decentralization by devolution’. Since then, many studies have examined the fiscal, administra­tive, legal and political aspects of the reforms. However, the gender dimensions of both the process and outcomes of the reforms have been less examined. In Tanzania, like in other sub-Saharan African countries, little is documented about decentrali­zation and gender, especially at the village level. This study, therefore, examines the impact of decentralization reforms on service delivery in rural Tanzania using a gender perspective.The study addresses the question of how decentralization affects the user-provider interactions and gender-sensitivity of water and health services in the rural villages. Specifically, it focuses on the institu­tional characte­ristics for decentralized service delivery, the impact of the reforms on service users’ participation in decision-making processes, on access to gender-sensitive water and health services, and on cooperation and trust at the village level.

    To investigate this, the study draws on governance theory and sociological theory, including an institutional, principal-agent, an actor and a gender perspective. In this study, gender is seen as a cross-cutting perspective taking in account the wider socio-cultural and political structures that influence the process and outcomes of decentralization in a specific context. The study is based on quantitative and qualitative data obtained at district, village and household levels in the districts of Kondoa and Kongwa in the Dodoma Region in Tanzania. The fieldwork consisted of three overlapping phases: an exploratory phase, house­hold survey and in-depth qualitative study. Mixed data collection methods were used because they enrich our understanding of the topic and contribute to the validity and reliability of findings. A house­hold survey was used to collect quantitative data, whereas semi-structured and unstruc­tured interviews, focus group discussions, observations, case studies and life histories were used to collect qualitative data. Overall, 513 respondents (236 men and 277 women) were involved in the study: 332 in the survey (115 men and 227 women), 69 in the focus group discussions (44 men and 25 women), 107 in the interviews (77 men and 30 women) and five women in life histories. In addition, review and analysis of available data at district and village levels provided secondary data to complement the primary data.

    The study found that the reforms have resulted in a number of institutional changes by restructuring the district and village councils, and by establishing service boards and commi­ttees at each administrative level or service delivery point. These changes have incre­ased local govern­ments’ autonomy to plan and imple­ment service delivery functions, and service users’ participation in planning and managing public services. However, the existing central-local relations limit local governments’ autonomy to fully exercise their decentralized mandates and to address local service delivery needs. Local govern­ments have limited financial and technical capacity, and the central government controls their functions through intergovernmental trans­fers, guidelines and national priorities. At the village level, conflicting roles and responsi­bi­lities of village councils and service committees limit the latter to fun­ction effectively. Thus, decent­ralized service delivery in Tanzania takes on different forms where the nature of sector is an important factor in the kind of institutional arrangements.

    It was revealed that decentralization reforms have created spaces for service users’ participation in planning and decision-making processes. Men and women participate in these spaces through attending meetings, contributing labour, cash or both, in construction of service infrastructures, membership in committees, speaking up and influencing decisions in meetings. The majority of women participate passively by attending meetings, consultation or through activity-specific spaces. Although the proportion of women in village councils and committees has increased because of the quota-based representation, local decision-making processes conti­nue to be largely male dominated. Women’s participation contributes to meeting practical gender needs, but to a lesser extent addresses their strategic gender needs because of the gende­red power rela­tions which have been largely untouched by the reforms. The main const­raints to effective women’s participation include patriarchy, household respo­nsibilities, compli­cated elec­tion proce­dures, lack of self-confidence and less experience in public affairs. Gender also inter­sects with religion, ethnicity, age and marital status, and may compound women’s disadva­ntaged position in local decision-making structures. While dece­nt­ralization is expected to address gender inequalities, instead it repro­duces them, because it does not address the socio-cultural barriers that inhibit women’s effec­tive participation in local structures.

    The study shows that the impact of reforms on water and health services delivery is mixed. Access to the services has improved for some users but decentralization has also led to marginalization of other users. The number of water and health services infrastructure has increased, thereby raising the service coverage. However, there is still inade­quate infrastructure to provide full service coverage, and the situation is more critical in the health sector because most villages do not have their own health facilities. Despite improvements in coverage, less has been achieved in other respects, such as adequate staffing and availability of drugs and other essential supplies. Comparatively, more users are satisfied with water services than with health services. For both services, there are overlaps and differences between the users’ and the gender perspectives. Men and women hold similar opinions on some aspects, but there are also marked differences. This confirms the fact that men and women are actually different users because they have different needs, and are positioned differently regarding their access to basic services. Understanding these simi­larities and differences is, thus, an important step in making basic services ‘gender-sensitive’.

    It was shown that the reforms have strengthened formal cooperation aimed at improving public services and the informal mechanisms of social networks and groups. Decentralization outcomes in terms of increased citizen’s participation in decision-making processes and improved services influence political trust, and also here gender relations proved to play an important role. There is a two-way interface between trust and decentra­lization reforms: trust enhances participation in local institutions and ‘good’ decentrali­zation outcomes can generate trust. Conversely, ‘bad’ decentralization outcomes decrease trust. The study further revealed that political trust is a multi-layered concept where citizens judge local leaders and service providers at different administrative levels differently. These levels are crucial in analysing political trust and the impact of gender on political trust at different levels.

    The general conclusion of this study is that the current decentralization reforms in Tanzania present both opportunities and challenges for increasing service users’ participation, cooperation and trust, addressing gender equality issues and, for improving service delivery. In order to improve the user-provider interactions and service delivery, a number of design and implementation issues should be addressed. At the national level, policy makers need to address the existing imbalance in central-local relations by redefining the relationship, functions and roles of central and local governments. District councils need to clarify the roles and responsibi­lities of service committees in relation to those of village councils, provide regular gender-sensitive training to service committees, and integrate local needs into district plans. Village leaders should consider holding meetings at times and in locations that are convenient for women, announce meetings and agenda in advance, and address village concerns adequately and transparently in the meeti­ngs. Actors at all levels need to explore effective strategies for transforming the socio-cultural norms that underlie women’s subordinate position in decision-making processes, and in their access to basic services.

    Low-cost housing developments in South Africa miss the opportunities for household level urban greening
    Chackleton, C. ; Hebinck, P.G.M. ; Kaoma, M. ; Chishaleshale, M. ; Shackleton, S. ; Gambiza, J. ; Gumbo, D. - \ 2014
    Land Use Policy 36 (2014). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 500 - 509.
    small towns - open space - city - tree - inequality - services - policies - america - ecology - access
    Most developing countries of the world are experiencing large-scale migration from rural to urban areas. Many new migrants end up in low-cost or informal areas and slums with attendant environmental concerns. One dimension of improved urban sustainability is the provision of green spaces and trees. Whilst many countries have urban greening programmes for public spaces and streets, few have considered the status and potential contribution of trees from resident's own gardens. This paper reports firstly on the policy environment for urban forestry and greening in South Africa and secondly on the maintenance, use and appreciation of trees on private homesteads of residents of new and older low-income suburbs as well as informal housing areas from three small towns in South Africa. In particular we examine if the most recent centrally planned and built low-income housing schemes (called RDP suburbs in South Africa) have considered and incorporated plans or spaces for urban greenery in peoples’ homesteads. We found that broad environmental and sustainability concerns and statements are common in urban development and housing policies, but specific guidelines for implementation are generally absent. More specifically, urban forestry and tree planting are rarely mentioned in the broader land use and environmental policies other than the national forest act and subsequent regulations, but even there it is relatively superficial. In the study towns the prevalence, density and number of species of trees was lowest in the new RDP suburbs relative to the township and informal areas. Consequently, the contribution of tree products to local livelihoods was also lower in the RDP areas. Yet there were no differences in the level of appreciation of the value and intangible benefits of trees between residents from the three different suburbs. This shows that the failure to plan for and accommodate trees in new low-cost housing developments is missing an opportunity to improve overall urban sustainability and liveability and constraining the potential flows of tangible and intangible benefits to urban residents. Making opportunities for such in older suburbs is challenging because of space limitations and cost implications of retrospective provisions, but incorporation into plans for new low-cost housing development should be possible.
    Women's autonomy and husbands' involvement in maternal health care in Nepal
    Thapa, D.K. ; Niehof, Anke - \ 2013
    Social Science and Medicine 93 (2013). - ISSN 0277-9536 - p. 1 - 10.
    reproductive health - decision-making - antenatal care - fertility - men - services - fathers - india - perspectives - household
    Both increasing women’s autonomy and increasing husbands’ involvement in maternal health care are promising strategies to enhance maternal health care utilization. However, these two may be at odds with each other insofar as autonomouswomenmay not seek their husband’s involvement, and involved husbands may limit women’s autonomy. This study assessed the relationship between women’s autonomy and husbands’ involvement in maternal health care. Field work for this study was carried out during SeptembereNovember 2011 in the Kailali district of Nepal. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used to investigate the extent of husbands’ involvement in maternal health care. A survey was carried out among 341 randomly selectedwomenwho delivered a live baby within one year prior to the survey. The results showthat husbandswere involved in giving advice, supporting to reduce the householdwork burden, and makingfinancial and transportation arrangements for the delivery. After adjustment for other covariates, economic autonomy was associated with lower likelihood of discussion with husband during pregnancy, while domestic decision-making autonomy was associated with both lower likelihood of discussion with husband during pregnancy and the husband’s presence at antenatal care (ANC) visits. Movement autonomy was associated with lower likelihood of the husband’s presence at ANC visits. Intra-spousal communication was associated with higher likelihood of discussing health with the husband during pregnancy, birth preparedness, and the husbands’ presence at the health facility delivery. The magnitude and direction of association varied per autonomy dimension. These findings suggest that programs to improve the women’s autonomy and at the sametimeincrease the husband’s involvement should be carefully planned. Despite the traditional cultural beliefs that go against the involvement of husbands, Nepalese husbands are increasingly entering into the area of maternal health which was traditionally considered ‘women’s business’.
    A novel comparative research platform designed to determine the functional significance of tree species diversity in European forests
    Baeten, L. ; Verheyen, K. ; Wirth, C. ; Bruelheide, H. ; Bussotti, F. ; Finer, L. ; Jaroszewicz, B. ; Selvi, F. ; Vries, W. de - \ 2013
    Perspectives in plant ecology, evolution and systematics 15 (2013)5. - ISSN 1433-8319 - p. 281 - 291.
    ecosystem function - biodiversity loss - productivity - evenness - temperate - consequences - richness - services - stands
    One of the current advances in functional biodiversity research is the move away from short-lived test systems towards the exploration of diversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in structurally more complex ecosystems. In forests, assumptions about the functional significance of tree species diversity have only recently produced a new generation of research on ecosystem processes and services. Novel experimental designs have now replaced traditional forestry trials, but these comparatively young experimental plots suffer from specific difficulties that are mainly related to the tree size and longevity. Tree species diversity experiments therefore need to be complemented with comparative observational studies in existing forests. Here we present the design and implementation of a new network of forest plots along tree species diversity gradients in six major European forest types: the FunDivEUROPE Exploratory Platform. Based on a review of the deficiencies of existing observational approaches and of unresolved research questions and hypotheses, we discuss the fundamental criteria that shaped the design of our platform. Key features include the extent of the species diversity gradient with mixtures up to five species, strict avoidance of a dilution gradient, special attention to community evenness and minimal covariation with other environmental factors. The new European research platform permits the most comprehensive assessment of tree species diversity effects on forest ecosystem functioning to date since it offers a common set of research plots to groups of researchers from very different disciplines and uses the same methodological approach in contrasting forest types along an extensive environmental gradient. Keywords FunDivEUROPE; Biodiversity; Ecosystem functioning; Tree species diversity; Multifunctionality; Multidiversity
    Towards a consistent approach for ecosystem accounting
    Edens, B. ; Hein, L.G. - \ 2013
    Ecological Economics 90 (2013). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 41 - 52.
    developing-countries - land-use - services - valuation - framework - forest - biodiversity - environment - resilience - limits
    In spite of an increasing interest in environmental economic accounting, there is still very limited experience with the integration of ecosystem services and ecosystem capital in national accounts. This paper identifies four key methodological challenges in developing ecosystem accounts: the definition of ecosystem services in the context of accounting, their allocation to institutional sectors; the treatment of degradation and rehabilitation, and valuing ecosystem services consistent with SNA principles. We analyze the different perspectives taken on these challenges and present a number of proposals to deal with the challenges in developing ecosystem accounts. These proposals comprise several novel aspects, including (i) presenting an accounting approach that recognizes that most ecosystems are strongly influenced by people and that ecosystem services depend on natural processes as well as human ecosystem management; and, (ii) recording ecosystem services as either contributions of a private land owner or as generated by a sector ’Ecosystems’ depending on the type of ecosystem service. We also present a consistent approach for recording degradation, and for applying monetary valuation approaches in the context of accounting.
    Challenges for crop production research in improving land use, productivity and sustainability
    Spiertz, J.H.J. - \ 2013
    Sustainability 5 (2013)4. - ISSN 2071-1050 - p. 1632 - 1644.
    food security - resource use - bioenergy production - trade-offs - energy - yield - agriculture - adaptation - management - services
    The demand for food, feed, and feedstocks for bioenergy and biofactory plants will increase proportionally due to population growth, prosperity, and bioeconomic growth. Securing food supply and meeting demand for biomass will involve many biological and agro-ecological aspects such as genetic plant improvement, sustainable land use, water-saving irrigation, and integrated nutrient management as well as control of pests, diseases and weeds. It will be necessary to raise biomass production and economic yield per unit of land—not only under optimum growing conditions, but even more under conditions constrained by climate, water availability, and soil quality. Most of the advanced agronomic research by national and international research institutes is dedicated to the major food crops: maize, rice, wheat, and potato. However, research on crops grown as feedstock, for bio-energy and industrial use under conditions with biophysical constraints, is lagging behind. Global and regional assessments of the potential for growing crops are mostly based on model and explorative studies under optimum conditions, or with either water or nitrogen deficiencies. More investments in combined experimental and modeling research are needed to develop and evaluate new crops and cropping systems under a wide range of agro-ecological conditions. An integral assessment of the biophysical production capacity and the impact on resource use, biodiversity and socio-economic factors should be carried out before launching large-scale crop production systems in marginal environments.
    Participation of Italian farmers in rural development policy
    Pascucci, S. ; Magistris, T. de; Dries, L.K.E. - \ 2013
    European Review of Agricultural Economics 40 (2013)4. - ISSN 0165-1587 - p. 605 - 631.
    agri-environmental contracts - transaction costs - european-union - design - conservation - perspective - information - services - schemes - choice
    The aim of this paper is to study farmers' participation in rural development policy (RDP) measures. We investigate to what extent regional RDP priorities are driven by regional characteristics and moreover, whether regional-level policy priorities help to explain farmers' participation in RDP measures. We estimate a multilevel binary choice model that includes both farm-level and regional-level explanatory variables. We conclude that regional governments select RDP priorities based on the specific features of their region. Regional policy priorities play an important role in explaining farmers' participation in agri-environmental schemes but not in measures aimed at improving farmer competitiveness.
    The 3rd DBCLS BioHackathon: improving life science data integration with Semantic Web technologies
    Katayama, T. ; Wilkinson, D.W. ; Micklem, G. ; Kawashima, S. ; Yamaguchi, A. ; Nakao, M. ; Yamamoto, T. ; Okamoto, S. ; Oouchida, K. ; Chung, H. ; Aerts, J. ; Afzal, H. ; Antezana, E. ; Arakawa, K. ; Aranda, B. ; Belleau, F. ; Bolleman, J. ; Bonnal, R.J.P. ; Chapman, B. ; Cock, P.J.A. ; Eriksson, T. ; Gordon, P.M.K. ; Goto, N. ; Hayashida, K. ; Horn, H. ; Ishiwata, R. ; Kaminuma, E. ; Kasprzyk, A. ; Kawaji, H. ; Kido, N. ; Kim, Y. ; Kinjo, A.R. ; Konishi, F. ; Kwon, K.H. ; Labarga, A. ; Lamprecht, A. ; Lin, Y. ; Lindenbaum, P. ; McCarthy, L. ; Morita, H. ; Murakami, K. ; Nagao, K. ; Nishida, K. ; Nishimura, K. ; Nishizawa, T. ; Ogishima, S. ; Ono, K. ; Oshita, K. ; Park, K. ; Prins, J.C.P. ; Saito, T. ; Samwald, M. ; Satagopam, V.P. ; Shigemoto, Y. ; Smith, R. ; Splendiani, A. ; Sugawara, H. ; Taylor, J. ; Vos, R.A. ; Withers, D. ; Yamasaki, C. ; Zmasek, C.M. ; Kawamoto, S. ; Okubo, K. ; Asai, K. ; Takagi, T. - \ 2013
    Journal of Biomedical Semantics 4 (2013). - ISSN 2041-1480
    protein-interaction database - systems biology - ontology - bioinformatics - tool - representation - services - language - framework - networks
    Background: BioHackathon 2010 was the third in a series of meetings hosted by the Database Center for Life Sciences (DBCLS) in Tokyo, Japan. The overall goal of the BioHackathon series is to improve the quality and accessibility of life science research data on the Web by bringing together representatives from public databases, analytical tool providers, and cyber-infrastructure researchers to jointly tackle important challenges in the area of in silico biological research. Results: The theme of BioHackathon 2010 was the 'Semantic Web', and all attendees gathered with the shared goal of producing Semantic Web data from their respective resources, and/or consuming or interacting those data using their tools and interfaces. We discussed on topics including guidelines for designing semantic data and interoperability of resources. We consequently developed tools and clients for analysis and visualization. Conclusion: We provide a meeting report from BioHackathon 2010, in which we describe the discussions, decisions, and breakthroughs made as we moved towards compliance with Semantic Web technologies - from source provider, through middleware, to the end-consumer. source provider, through middleware, to the end-consumer.
    Benefits of investing in ecosystem restoration
    Groot, R.S. de; Blignaut, J. ; Ploeg, S. van der; Aronson, J. ; Elmqvist, T. ; Farley, J. - \ 2013
    Conservation Biology 27 (2013)6. - ISSN 0888-8892 - p. 1286 - 1293.
    ecological restoration - south-africa - biodiversity - payments - services - opportunities - conservation - metaanalysis - indonesia - working
    Measures aimed at conservation or restoration of ecosystems are often seen as net-cost projects by governments and businesses because they are based on incomplete and often faulty cost-benefit analyses. After screening over 200 studies, we examined the costs (94 studies) and benefits (225 studies) of ecosystem restoration projects that had sufficient reliable data in 9 different biomes ranging from coral reefs to tropical forests. Costs included capital investment and maintenance of the restoration project, and benefits were based on the monetary value of the total bundle of ecosystem services provided by the restored ecosystem. Assuming restoration is always imperfect and benefits attain only 75% of the maximum value of the reference systems over 20 years, we calculated the net present value at the social discount rates of 2% and 8%. We also conducted 2 threshold cum sensitivity analyses. Benefit-cost ratios ranged from about 0.05:1 (coral reefs and coastal systems, worst-case scenario) to as much as 35:1 (grasslands, best-case scenario). Our results provide only partial estimates of benefits at one point in time and reflect the lower limit of the welfare benefits of ecosystem restoration because both scarcity of and demand for ecosystem services is increasing and new benefits of natural ecosystems and biological diversity are being discovered. Nonetheless, when accounting for even the incomplete range of known benefits through the use of static estimates that fail to capture rising values, the majority of the restoration projects we analyzed provided net benefits and should be considered not only as profitable but also as high-yielding investments.
    The System Nobody Sees: Irrigated Wetland Management and Alpaca Herding in the Peruvian Andes
    Verzijl, A. ; Guerrero Quispe, S. - \ 2013
    Mountain Research and Development 33 (2013)3. - ISSN 0276-4741 - p. 280 - 293.
    high-altitude wetlands - climate-change - water - resources - services - region
    Increasingly, attention in regional, national, and international water governance arenas has focused on high-altitude wetlands. However, existing local water management practices in these wetlands are often overlooked. This article looks at the irrigation activities of alpaca herders in the community of Ccarhuancho in the Central Andes of Peru. For more than two centuries, they have been constructing small-scale irrigation canals to maintain and expand the local wetlands, called bofedales. The seminomadic character of alpaca herders complicates irrigated wetland activities, such as operation and maintenance. Climate change and human and animal population pressure have increased not only the importance of these irrigation systems but also of local conflicts and communal decision making. Local irrigation activities in Ccarhuancho go unnoticed in broader water governance arenas because of its remoteness, limits to what popular new analytical tools can measure, a general undervaluation of wetlands, and a tendency of the canals to merge over time with the surrounding bofedales, making them less visible. Nevertheless, these man-made systems account for 40% of the wetlands in the study area and risk being seriously degraded or destroyed without local water management. With climatic changes affecting existing natural wetlands, the local herders were the first to recognize and respond to these changes and to defend the wetlands against degradation. Their efforts are, however, largely overlooked, even though such local water governance practices are crucial for the success of regional and national water governance in the Andes and other mountain areas. (Note: The title of this paper is an adaptation of Netting's [1974] paper “The system nobody knows” about small-scale irrigation in the Swiss Alps.)
    Assess ecosystem resilience: Linking response and effect traits to environmental variability
    Sterk, M. ; Gort, G. ; Klimkowska, A. ; Ruijven, J. van; Teeffelen, A.J.A. van; Wamelink, G.W.W. - \ 2013
    Ecological Indicators 30 (2013). - ISSN 1470-160X - p. 21 - 27.
    plant functional traits - european flora - species traits - climate-change - biodiversity - diversity - database - conservation - landscape - services
    Disturbances, nature as well as human, are putting constant pressure on ecosystems. These include small scale disturbances like a falling tree, but also large scale disturbances like eutrophication and climate change. Resilience is a useful indicator to assess whether an ecosystem has the capacity to maintain functioning with environmental variability. In this study we tested whether plant functional traits can be distinguished to develop a response-and-effect framework for general predictions concerning resilience. We defined response traits to assess the system's resistance to disturbance, and effect traits to assess its recovery after disturbance. We used a dataset with 932 vegetation plots containing 104 species from a selected wetland area in The Netherlands. The environmental variability was related to response traits and the response traits to effect traits with RLQ analysis, fourth-corner analysis and Spearman's rank correlation. As a result, combinations of traits that specify effects of environmental change on ecosystem resilience were found. A strong resistance to environmental variability was shown, and consequently, a positive effect on resilience. Due to correlations between response and effect traits, combinations of traits were identified having a variable effect on the resilience of the system. In this way this study argues to further develop a response-and-effect framework to understand and assess ecosystem resilience. The selection of traits is system-specific, and therefore, one should only select those response and effect traits that differentiate between response to environmental variability and effects on ecosystem functioning.
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