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.

    We have a manual that explains all the features 

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    Heritability estimates for 361 blood metabolites across 40 genome-wide association studies
    Hagenbeek, Fiona A. ; Pool, René ; Dongen, Jenny van; Draisma, Harmen H.M. ; Hottenga, Jouke Jan ; Willemsen, Gonneke ; Abdellaoui, Abdel ; Fedko, Iryna O. ; Braber, Anouk den; Visser, Pieter Jelle ; Geus, Eco J.C.N. de; Willems van Dijk, Ko ; Verhoeven, Aswin ; Suchiman, H.E. ; Beekman, Marian ; Slagboom, Eline P. ; Duijn, Cornelia M. van; Barkey Wolf, J.J.H. ; Cats, D. ; Amin, N. ; Beulens, J.W. ; Bom, J.A. van der; Bomer, N. ; Demirkan, A. ; Hilten, J.A. van; Meessen, J.M.T.A. ; Moed, M.H. ; Fu, J. ; Onderwater, G.L.J. ; Rutters, F. ; So-Osman, C. ; Flier, W.M. van der; Heijden, A.A.W.A. van der; Spek, A. van der; Asselbergs, F.W. ; Boersma, E. ; Elders, P.M. ; Geleijnse, J.M. ; Ikram, M.A. ; Kloppenburg, M. ; Meulenbelt, I. ; Mooijaart, S.P. ; Nelissen, R.G.H.H. ; Netea, M.G. ; Penninx, B.W.J.H. ; Stehouwer, C.D.A. ; Teunissen, C.E. ; Terwindt, G.M. ; Jukema, J.W. ; Reinders, M.J.T. - \ 2020
    Nature Communications 11 (2020)1. - ISSN 2041-1723

    Metabolomics examines the small molecules involved in cellular metabolism. Approximately 50% of total phenotypic differences in metabolite levels is due to genetic variance, but heritability estimates differ across metabolite classes. We perform a review of all genome-wide association and (exome-) sequencing studies published between November 2008 and October 2018, and identify >800 class-specific metabolite loci associated with metabolite levels. In a twin-family cohort (N = 5117), these metabolite loci are leveraged to simultaneously estimate total heritability (h2 total), and the proportion of heritability captured by known metabolite loci (h2 Metabolite-hits) for 309 lipids and 52 organic acids. Our study reveals significant differences in h2 Metabolite-hits among different classes of lipids and organic acids. Furthermore, phosphatidylcholines with a high degree of unsaturation have higher h2 Metabolite-hits estimates than phosphatidylcholines with low degrees of unsaturation. This study highlights the importance of common genetic variants for metabolite levels, and elucidates the genetic architecture of metabolite classes.

    Metabolic improvement in obese patients after duodenal–jejunal exclusion is associated with intestinal microbiota composition changes
    Jonge, C. de; Fuentes, S. ; Zoetendal, E.G. ; Bouvy, N.D. ; Nelissen, R. ; Buurman, W.A. ; Greve, J.W. ; Vos, W.M. de; Rensen, S.S. - \ 2019
    International Journal of Obesity 43 (2019). - ISSN 0307-0565 - p. 2509 - 2517.

    Background: Intestinal microbiota have been suggested to play an important role in the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Bariatric surgery improves both conditions and has been associated with changes in intestinal microbiota composition. We investigated the effect of a nonsurgical bariatric technique on intestinal microbiota composition in relation to metabolic improvement. Methods: Seventeen patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes were treated with the nonsurgical duodenal–jejunal bypass liner, which excludes the proximal 60 cm small intestine from food. Fecal samples as well as metabolic parameters reflecting obesity and type 2 diabetes were obtained from the patients at baseline, after 6 months with the device in situ, and 6 months after explantation. Results: After 6 months of treatment, both obesity and type 2 diabetes had improved with a decrease in weight from 106.1 [99.4–123.5] to 97.4 [89.4–114.0] kg and a decrease in HbA 1c from 8.5% [7.6–9.2] to 7.2% [6.3–8.1] (both p < 0.05). This was paralleled by an increased abundance of typical small intestinal bacteria such as Proteobacteria, Veillonella, and Lactobacillus spp. in feces. After removal of the duodenal–jejunal bypass liner, fecal microbiota composition was similar to that observed at baseline, despite persistent weight loss. Conclusion: Improvement of obesity and type 2 diabetes after exclusion of the proximal 60 cm small intestine by treatment with a nonsurgical duodenal–jejunal bypass liner may be promoted by changes in fecal microbiota composition.

    Inter-laboratory comparison of nanoparticle size measurements using dynamic light scattering and differential centrifugal sedimentation
    Langevin, D. ; Lozano, O. ; Salvati, A. ; Kestens, V. ; Monopoli, M. ; Raspaud, E. ; Mariot, S. ; Salonen, A. ; Thomas, S. ; Driessen, M. ; Haase, A. ; Nelissen, I. ; Smisdom, N. ; Pompa, P.P. ; Maiorano, G. ; Puntes, V. ; Puchowicz, D. ; Stępnik, M. ; Suárez, G. ; Riediker, M. ; Benetti, F. ; Mičetić, I. ; Venturini, M. ; Kreyling, W.G. ; Zande, M. van der; Bouwmeester, H. ; Milani, S. ; Rädler, J.O. ; Mülhopt, S. ; Lynch, I. ; Dawson, K. - \ 2018
    NanoImpact 10 (2018). - ISSN 2452-0748 - p. 97 - 107.
    Nanoparticle in vitro toxicity studies often report contradictory results with one main reason being insufficient material characterization. In particular the characterization of nanoparticles in biological media remains challenging. Our aim was to provide robust protocols for two of the most commonly applied techniques for particle sizing, i.e. dynamic light scattering (DLS) and differential centrifugal sedimentation (DCS) that should be readily applicable also for users not specialized in nanoparticle physico-chemical characterization. A large number of participants (40, although not all participated in all rounds) were recruited for a series of inter-laboratory comparison (ILC) studies covering many different instrument types, commercial and custom-built, as another possible source of variation. ILCs were organized in a consecutive manner starting with dispersions in water employing well-characterized near-spherical silica nanoparticles (nominal 19 nm and 100 nm diameter) and two types of functionalized spherical polystyrene nanoparticles (nominal 50 nm diameter). At first each laboratory used their in-house established procedures. In particular for the 19 nm silica particles, the reproducibility of the methods was unacceptably high (reported results were between 10 nm and 50 nm). When comparing the results of the first ILC round it was observed that the DCS methods performed significantly worse than the DLS methods, thus emphasizing the need for standard operating procedures (SOPs). SOPs have been developed by four expert laboratories but were tested for robustness by a larger number of independent users in a second ILC (11 for DLS and 4 for DCS). In a similar approach another SOP for complex biological fluids, i.e. cell culture medium containing serum was developed, again confirmed via an ILC with 8 participating laboratories. Our study confirms that well-established and fit-for-purpose SOPs are indispensable for obtaining reliable and comparable particle size data. Our results also show that these SOPs must be optimized with respect to the intended measurement system (e.g. particle size technique, type of dispersant) and that they must be sufficiently detailed (e.g. avoiding ambiguity regarding measurand definition, etc.). SOPs may be developed by a small number of expert laboratories but for their widespread applicability they need to be verified by a larger number of laboratories.
    Field applications of pure biochar in the North Sea region and across Europe
    Ruysschaert, Greet ; Nelissen, Victoria ; Postma, Romke ; Bruun, Esben ; O'Toole, Adam ; Hammond, Jim ; Rödger, Jan Markus ; Hylander, Lars ; Kihlberg, Tor ; Zwart, Kor ; Hauggaard-Nielsen, Henrik ; Shackley, Simon - \ 2016
    In: Biochar in European Soils and Agriculture: Science and Practice / Shackley, Simon, Ruysschaert, Greet, Zwart, Kor, Glaser, Bruno, Taylor and Francis Inc. - ISBN 9780415711661 - p. 99 - 135.
    As demonstrated by several scientific studies there is no doubt that biochar in general is very recalcitrant compared to other organic matter additions and soil organic matter fractions and also that it is possible to sequester carbon at a climate change relevant time scale (~100 years or more) by soil application of biochar. However, the carbon stability of biochar in soil is strongly correlated with the degree of thermal alteration of the original feedstock (the lower the temperature, the larger the labile fraction) and in depth understanding of the technology used and its effect on the biochar quality is necessary in order to produce the most beneficial biochars for soil application. Beside carbon sequestration in soil biochar may improve the GHG balance by reducing N2O and CH4 soil emissions, although contrasting results are found in the literature. The mechanisms behind these reductions remain unclear and more research is required in order to investigate the various hypotheses in more detail, and to unravel the complex interaction between biochar, crop and soil, especially under field conditions. In conclusion, our current knowledge is largely based on short-term lab studies and pot experiments, which have provided detailed insight in certain processes and aspects of biochar application to soils, but suffer from large uncertainties when scaled-up to the farmers field level. In order to produce more realistic scenarios of the potential impact of biochar on C sequestration and soil GHG emissions there is a need to bring biochar research up to the field-scale, and to perform longer-term studies.
    Ain’t no mountain high enough? Setting high weight loss goals predicts effort and short-term weight loss
    Vet, E. de; Nelissen, R.M.A. ; Zeelenberg, M. ; Ridder, D.T.D. de - \ 2013
    Journal of Health Psychology 18 (2013)5. - ISSN 1359-1053 - p. 638 - 647.
    Although psychological theories outline that it might be beneficial to set more challenging goals, people attempting to lose weight are generally recommended to set modest weight loss goals. The present study explores whether the amount of weight loss individuals strive for is associated with more positive psychological and behavioral outcomes. Hereto, 447 overweight and obese participants trying to lose weight completed two questionnaires with a 2-month interval. Many participants set goals that could be considered unrealistically high. However, higher weight loss goals did not predict dissatisfaction but predicted more effort in the weight loss attempt, as well as more self-reported short-term weight loss when baseline commitment and motivation were controlled for.
    Anticipated emotions and effort allocation in weight goal striving
    Nelissen, Rob M.A. ; Vet, Emely De; Zeelenberg, Marcel - \ 2011
    British Journal of Health Psychology 16 (2011)1. - ISSN 1359-107X - p. 201 - 212.

    Objective. This study aimed to investigate the influence of anticipated emotions on preventive health behaviour if specified at the level of behavioural outcomes. Consistent with predictions from a recently developed model of goal pursuit, we hypothesized that the impact of emotions on effort levels depended on the perceived proximity to the goal. Design. Participants with weight-loss intentions were randomly selected from an Internet panel and completed questionnaires at three points in time, baseline (T1; N= 725), 2 weeks later at T2 (N= 582) and again 2 months later at T3 (N= 528). Methods. Questionnaires assessed anticipated emotions (at T1) and experienced emotions (at T2) towards goal attainment and non-attainment. Goal proximity, goal desirability, and effort levels in striving for weight loss were assessed at both T1 and T2. Current and target weights were reported at all three assessments. Results. In line with predictions, we found that negative anticipated emotions towards goal non-attainment resulted in increased effort but only if people perceived themselves in close proximity to their goal. Effort, in turn, predicted weight loss and goal achievement. Conclusion. The current data bear important practical implications as they identify anticipated emotions as targets of behaviour change interventions aimed to stimulate effort in striving for broad, health-related goals like weight loss.

    What is moral about guilt? Acting 'prosocially' at the disadvantage of others
    Hooge, I.E. de; Nelissen, R.M.A. ; Breugelmans, S.M. ; Zeelenberg, M. - \ 2011
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100 (2011)3. - ISSN 0022-3514 - p. 462 - 473.
    empathy-induced altruism - decision-making - shame - emotions - dilemma - anger - embarrassment - perspective - fairness - behavior
    For centuries economists and psychologists have argued that the morality of moral emotions lies in the fact that they stimulate prosocial behavior and benefit others in a person’s social environment. Many studies have shown that guilt, arguably the most exemplary moral emotion, indeed motivates prosocial behavior in dyadic social dilemma situations. When multiple persons are involved, however, the moral and prosocial nature of this emotion can be questioned. The present article shows how guilt can have beneficial effects for the victim of one’s actions but also disadvantageous effects for other people in the social environment. A series of experiments, with various emotion inductions and dependent measures, all reveal that guilt motivates prosocial behavior toward the victim at the expense of others around—but not at the expense of oneself. These findings illustrate that a thorough understanding of the functioning of emotions is necessary to understand their moral nature. Keywords: moral emotions, guilt, interpersonal relationships, prosocial behavior, social dilemmas
    What is moral about moral emotions? Guilt elicits prosocial behavior as well as antisocial behavior
    Hooge, I.E. de; Nelissen, R.M.A. ; Breugelmans, S.M. ; Zeelenberg, M. - \ 2010
    Advances in Consumer Research 37 (2010). - ISSN 0098-9258 - p. 715 - 715.
    EXTENDED ABSTRACT Moral emotions have been portrayed as the social mortar of human societies because these feelings encourage us to put the concerns of others above our own and to engage in prosocial behavior. The hallmark moral emotion is guilt, which is typically described as an “adaptive emotion, benefiting individuals and their relationships in a variety of ways” (Tangney, Stuewig, & Mashek, 2007, p. 26). However, is it really the case that moral emotions make the interest of others paramount, neglecting our self-interest? Guilt mostly arises from a moral transgression in which the actor has violated an important norm and has hurt another person. This elicits a preoccupation with the victim and the ensuing reparative action tendencies are aimed at restoring the relationship between transgressor and victim. This victim-oriented focus explains the often-replicated finding that guilty people contribute more of their endowments to others in comparison to non-guilty people. It is clear that in dyadic situations guilt produces behavior that benefits others. However, we have reason to believe that the very characteristics of guilt that make it beneficial to the victim in dyadic interactions have disadvantageous side effects for others in the social environment. In dyadic interactions the costs of acting prosocially come necessarily at the expense of oneself. But in daily life it is also possible to act prosocially at the cost of others. We think that the generosity towards the victim has disadvantageous consequences for the social environment. Precisely because guilt induces a preoccupation with restoring the harm to the victim, it simultaneously causes a neglect of others. Consequently, a guilty state may not evoke a disregard for personal concerns (as is often assumed) but rather a depreciation of the concerns of non-victimized others. We predict that when taking such a broader, more ecologically valid perspective, it will appear that people experiencing guilt are motivated to benefit the relationship with the victim, but at the best possible outcomes for themselves. Three experiments investigated if the experience of guilt induces prosocial behavior towards the victim at the expense of others rather than the self. In Experiment 1, participants reported a personal experience of feeling guilty (Guilt condition), or described a regular weekday (Control condition). They were asked to think of the person they felt guilty towards (guilt condition) or of a person they had met during the weekday (control condition). This person was labeled Person A. Participants then divided ¤50 between the birthday of Person A, the fundraising of the victims of a flood, and themselves. We found that Guilt participants offered more money to Person A than Control participants. At the same time, guilt participants offered less money to flood victims than Control participants. Guilt and Control participants did not differ in the amount they kept for themselves. Experiment 2 explored whether guilty people could also act disadvantageously towards known others. Participants were randomly assigned to the Guilt or Control condition and read a scenario. Next, they divided ¤50 between the birthday of the victim of the scenario, the birthday of another friend, and themselves. Results showed that Guilt participants offered more money to the victim than Control participants, and offered less money to the third party. Participants did not differ in the amount they kept for themselves. Thus, even when the social surrounding consists of family and friends, the costs of compensatory behavior befall those other people rather than oneself. Experiment 3 tested our assumption that the preoccupation with the victim that characterizes guilt causes disadvantageous side effects for the social environment. This entails that no effects should be found in situations where the victim is not present, which was tested by adding a condition where the victim was not present. Participants were randomly assigned to the conditions of a 2 (Emotion condition: Guilt vs. Control) × 2 (Victim Presence: Victim-present vs. Victim-not-present) design. They were told that during the lab-session they could earn lottery tickets for a lottery. The session started with two rounds of a performance task, ostensibly with another participant. In the first round they could earn 8 lottery tickets for themselves, in the second round 8 tickets for the other player. After the first round, all participants received feedback that they earned the bonus. After the second round, the other player in the Guilt condition did not receive the bonus due to the participant’s bad performance. In the Control condition, the other player received the bonus. Participants continued with a three persondictator game, either with the player from the performance task (Victim-present condition) or with a participant who knew nothing about the performance task (Victim-not-present condition). In all conditions the third player was a participant who knew nothing about the letter task. As the dependent variable, the participant divided twelve lottery tickets among the three players. We found that participants in the Victim-present Guilt condition offered significantly more to the victim than participants in the Victim-present Control condition, and than participants in the Victim-not-present Guilt condition. They also offered significantly less to the third player than participants in the Victim-present Control condition, and than participants in the Victim-not-present Guilt condition. Higher offers to the victim did not come at personal expense: all conditions did not differ in tickets kept for oneself. In summary, it appears that guilt, the hallmark moral emotion, can motivate behaviors that do not fit the predicate moral. When people experience guilt, they are preoccupied with repairing the harm done to the victim, leading to disadvantageous effects for others in their social environment. This suggests that the view of moral emotions as (unconditionally) beneficial for others should be rephrased. Moral emotions do not make the interest of others in general paramount, but rather motivate a selective focus on the interests of the wronged other while not forgetting self-interest. This indicates that a thorough understanding of functioning of moral emotions is necessary to fully understand their influence on consumer behavior.
    Wegspuiten van eikenprocessierups gaat ten koste van koolmeesjes (interview door Wim Nelissen)
    Moraal, Leen - \ 2010
    Benchmark Energiebelasting glastuinbouw : vergelijking energie-intensiteit met de industrie
    Blom, M.J. ; Nelissen, D. ; Schepers, B.L. ; Velden, N.J.A. van der - \ 2010
    Delft : CE Delft - 49
    tuinbouw - energie - energiegebruik - energiekosten - industrie - belastingen - onderzoek - economische evaluatie - nederland - glastuinbouw - horticulture - energy - energy consumption - energy expenditure - industry - taxes - research - economic evaluation - netherlands - greenhouse horticulture
    Onderzoek naar de energie-intensiteit en de lastendruk van de Energiebelasting voor de glastuinbouwsector in vergelijking tot andere energie-intensieve sectoren van de Nederlandse economie. Dit in het kader vanwege de aanvraag voor goedkeuring van tuinbouw-tarief voor 2011 en 2012 bij de Europese Commissie in Brussel.
    Learning effects of thematic peer-review: A qualitative analysis of reflective journals on spiritual care
    Leeuwen, L.J. van; Tiesinga, L.J. ; Jochemsen, H. - \ 2009
    Nurse Education Today 29 (2009)4. - ISSN 0260-6917 - p. 413 - 422.
    nursing-students - competences - nurses
    This study describes the learning effects of thematic peer-review discussion groups (Hendriksen, 2000. Begeleid intervisie model, Collegiale advisering en probleemoplossing, Nelissen, Baarn.) on developing nursing students’ competence in providing spiritual care. It also discusses the factors that might influence the learning process. The method of peer-review is a form of reflective learning based on the theory of experiential learning (Kolb, 1984. Experiential learning, Experience as the source of learning development. Englewoods Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hill). It was part of an educational programme on spiritual care in nursing for third-year undergraduate nursing students from two nursing schools in the Netherlands. Reflective journals (n = 203) kept by students throughout the peer-review process were analysed qualitatively The analysis shows that students reflect on spirituality in the context of personal experiences in nursing practice. In addition, they discuss the nursing process and organizational aspects of spiritual care. The results show that the first two phases in the experiential learning cycle appear prominently; these are ‘inclusion of actual experience’ and ‘reflecting on this experience’. The phases of ‘abstraction of experience’ and ‘experimenting with new behaviour’ are less evident. We will discuss possible explanations for these findings according to factors related to education, the students and the tutors and make recommendations for follow-up research.
    Egg protein hydrolysates
    Amerongen, A. van; Beelen, M.J.C. ; Wolbers, L.A.M. ; Gilst, W.H. van; Buikema, J.H. ; Nelissen, J.W.P.M. - \ 2009
    Octrooinummer: WO2009128713, gepubliceerd: 2009-10-22.
    The present invention provides egg-protein hydrolysates with DPP-IV inhibitory activity which are particularly suited for the treatment of diabetes. Particularly advantageous is to use hydrolysate of lysozyme for the treatment of diabetes.
    Schuld motiveert “prosociaal” gedrag ten nadele van derden
    Hooge, I.E. de; Nelissen, R.M.A. ; Breugelmans, S.M. ; Zeelenberg, M. - \ 2008
    Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie (2008). - ISSN 2211-9256 - p. 145 - 156.
    Anti-hypertensive functional food products
    Amerongen, A. van; Beelen, M.J.C. ; Bent, A. van der; Buikema, J.H. ; Gilst, W.H. van; Loonen, M.H.J. ; Merck, K.B. ; Nelissen, J. ; Thielen, W.J.G. ; Togtema, K.A. - \ 2006
    Octrooinummer: WO2006009448, gepubliceerd: 2006-01-26.
    The present invention provides novel protein hydrolysates with antihypertensive properties, as well as food products and food supplements comprising these.
    The P gene of Newcastle disease virus does not encode an accessory X protein
    Peeters, B.P.H. ; Verbruggen, P. ; Nelissen, F. ; Leeuw, O.S. de - \ 2004
    Journal of General Virology 85 (2004)8. - ISSN 0022-1317 - p. 2375 - 2378.
    v-protein - interferon-antagonist - messenger-rna - c-protein - expression - cells - pathogenicity
    Many paramyxoviruses encode non-essential accessory proteins that are involved in the regulation of virus replication and inhibition of cellular antiviral responses. It has been suggested that the P gene mRNA of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) encodes an accessory protein ¿ the so-called X protein ¿ by translation initiation at a conserved in-frame AUG codon at position 120. Using a monoclonal antibody that specifically detected the P and X proteins, it was shown that an accessory X protein was not expressed in NDV-infected cells. Recombinant NDV strains in which the AUG was changed into a GCC (Ala) or GUC (Val) codon were viable but showed a reduction in virulence, probably because the amino acid change affected the function of the P and/or V protein.
    Natural variation and QTL analysis for cation mineral content in seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana
    Vreugdenhil, D. ; Aarts, M.G.M. ; Koornneef, M. ; Nelissen, H. ; Ernst, W.H.O. - \ 2004
    Plant, Cell & Environment 27 (2004)7. - ISSN 0140-7791 - p. 828 - 839.
    silene-vulgaris - elemental distribution - endoplasmic-reticulum - resistant ecotype - iron-deficiency - plasma-membrane - metal-ions - genes - family - zinc
    Naturally occurring genetic variation for contents of cationic minerals in seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana was studied by screening a series of accessions (ecotypes) for Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Zn, and for total contents of P. Variation was observed for all minerals and correlations between contents of various minerals were present, most noticeably between Ca and Mg, P and Mg, and P and Mn. The genetic basis of this variation was further studied by QTL analysis, using the Landsberg erecta (Ler) x Cape Verde Islands (Cvi) recombinant inbred population. For all minerals, except Na, one or more QTL were detected, explaining up to 78% of the variation. The map positions of several QTL were confirmed by analysis of near isogenic lines, carrying small Cvi introgressions in Ler background. Interesting co-locations of QTL suggest pleiotropic effects, due to physiological coupling of the accumulation of certain minerals or to linkage of different genes. By comparing the map positions of QTL with the positions of genes expected to play a role in cation translocation, several candidate genes are suggested.
    Interactive policy-making and communication : Towards Transactional Policy-Making
    Woerkum, C. van - \ 2002
    In: Marketing for Sustainability / Gerard Bartels en Wil Nelissen - p. 31 - 38.
    Boeren en beleid voor de groene ruimte
    Volker, K. - \ 2002
    In: En plein public: 40 jaar tijd voor de overheid; ter gelegenheid van 40 jaar overheidsdienst van prof.dr. Nico Nelissen / Bogie, M., van de Ven, A., Verfürden, B., - p. 30 - 35.
    beleid - landbouw - landelijk gebied - landschapsbeheer
    Boeren in betwist landschap : strategische keuzes van boeren in een waardevol agrarisch landschap
    Volker, C.M. - \ 1999
    Agricultural University. Promotor(en): A.T.J. Nooij; N.J.M. Nelissen. - S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789058081322 - 201
    plattelandsontwikkeling - landbouw bedrijven - rurale sociologie - innovaties - besluitvorming - natuurbescherming - plattelandsplanning - nederland - rural development - farming - rural sociology - innovations - decision making - nature conservation - rural planning - netherlands

    Until recently, rural landscapes used to be largely the unintentional and self-evident by-products of agriculture, of farm-based labour. This situation has changed dramatically. Now recognized as public spaces, rural landscapes and the nature they include are expected to fulfil important functions for society as a whole. Farmers' management of such areas is increasingly being seen as necessary for non-agrarian functions such as recreation and tourism, the development of new nature areas and the preservation of the cultural heritage.

    In this dissertation, the transformation process is studied from a sociological perspective. Chapter 1 ascertains that the management of a landscape occurs in a very complex social environment. The various claims on rural landscapes mark them as contested areas. Valuable rural landscapes that combine several supralocal collective qualities depend on state intervention for their survival. At the same time, state intervention needs support, notably from farmers, who are the owners and users of agricultural land. Farmers are expected to incorporate politically expedient management measures in their social and agricultural practices. They have not yet done so. Taking care of the environment as a collective good in an affluent urban society is very different from controlling nature for the market-driven production of food and raw materials in advanced land-based agricultural systems.

    The aim of the study was to contribute to the debate on the future management of valuable rural landscapes, by achieving insights into the opportunities for sustainable management of landscapes by farmers. The study focused on management that accommodates the need for more features of nature in rural landscapes. Three facets are presented:

    A historical outline of the supralocal urban interest in nature-based rural landscapes in the Netherlands. This is followed by an outline of the modernization process in the agrarian domain paying particular attention to transformations in the system of agricultural production.Perceptions and practices in farm management, derived from a social survey of farmers in Northeast Twente, in Overijssel province, the Netherlands. In order to predict the strategic preferences of these farmers regarding the place of nature and landscape in their professional skills and market orientation, a model is developed and applied, using empirical data from the social survey.Finally, several strategies for achieving the support and participation of farmers are suggested, with the aim of increasing the likelihood that both valuable landscapes and farmers will survive.

    Chapter 2 discusses the views on nature and on landscape characteristics within three socio-political discourses. Rural landscapes in the Netherlands fit in a centuries-old tradition of planned land use, based on collective intervention in nature and in the physical environment. The discourses stress different opinions about functions of the countryside, nature and urban-rural interactions. Part of the growing public awareness of rural landscapes in the Netherlands is a new attitude to nature that is able to emerge in urban environments. This attitude is to do with admiring and enjoying nature rather than with taming and exploiting it. The rise of modern industrialized society brought with it a new function for rural areas: that of being a green and pleasant land. The twentieth century has seen the emergence of a new institutional field in which nature and landscape organizations have evolved to meet the growing demand for nature reserves and landscape parks. Late twentieth century Dutch public opinion is greatly in favour of nature, but less in favour of on-farm nature conservation and has a poor opinion of farmers as managers of nature.

    Chapter 3 discusses developments in Dutch agriculture, and state intervention in the conservation of valuable features of nature and landscape related to the agrarian domain. Parallel to the social movements that aimed to emancipate the urban working class, a process of emancipation of farmers emerged, followed by the modernization of the system of producing food by farming. Whereas small-scale farming assured a stable and rich semi-natural landscape that could be enjoyed by city dwellers, the agricultural production system developed in the opposite direction, of mechanization and industrialization. The post-war revolution in agriculture resulted in deruralization: that is, in agricultural production shifting from a territorial basis to a sectoral basis. Small-scale region-based mixed farms were replaced by modern specialized farms. This process was supported by land consolidation projects, that had enormous repercussions in terms of the loss of biodiversity, of valuable nature elements, of characteristic landscape features and of multiple land use.

    From the 1960s onwards, vehement conflicts emerged because of the claims articulated by the agriculture and nature conservation lobbies and the separated prospects for urban and rural development brought about by the distinctive planning systems. At the political level, a compromise was reached with the Policy Document on the Relationship between Nature and Agriculture (1975), which featured a zoning of agricultural land. Under this Policy Document, two types of valuable rural landscapes were to be protected against further optimalization of agricultural land use. The Nature Policy Plan of 1990 launched a more pro-active strategy for nature: a National Ecological Network was proposed, in which existing woodland, nature reserves and valuable rural landscapes were to be preserved and rehabilitated. In addition, transition zones and new areas designated for large-scale nature development were to be established on agricultural land. To meet these targets, the policy-making process had to be adjusted. Additional support was needed. In recent years therefore, policy making focusing on subsidizing the traditional state and non-governmental organizations for nature management has been replaced or complemented with result-oriented measures, open to more land users in rural areas.

    Meanwhile, Dutch agriculture has reached a cross-roads. The choice is between the transformation process continuing towards knowledge-based, capital-intensive, technologically advanced food production systems that have a narrow perspective on the sustainability of farms and the environment ('traditional modernization'), and the features of an impending second wave of modernization, comprising agrarian and structural diversification of rural areas ('rural renewal'). The result is the occurrence of two different and partly contradictory development patterns, making the future of Dutch rural landscapes more unpredictable.

    Chapter 4 outlines the prospects for Dutch farmers. Three processes of integration have entered their domain. In agriculture, farmers face a process of increased regulation and techno-economic commercialization of the production system. In nature and landscape conservation, they face the claims made by the social movement industries advocating the development of 'new nature' as a new mission and a new market. Finally, a process of increased state intervention and state support entails taking the environment into account as a collective good (the quality of nature, soil, water and landscape). This latter process is accompanied by new style regulation, in which farmers are challenged to assume more responsibility and to achieve more self-regulation to bring about rural development.

    The consequence of this is that the world of farmers has become much more complex. Now farmers have to learn how to deal with their shrinking freedom of action in conventional agriculture and how to manage the diversity of new claims made on their land. Large areas of the Dutch countryside have already been designated for de-intensified agricultural production. But how likely and inspiring do recent developments seem to Dutch farmers? Dutch farmers seem to be facing difficult choices and much uncertainty.

    Chapter 5 outlines to what extent Dutch farmers are willing to choose in favour of modified, sustainable practices to benefit nature and landscape in their farm management. It includes the results of a social survey conducted in Northeast Twente, covering 81 randomly selected respondents farming 5 ha land or more. These farmers contend that there are still considerable amounts of nature and landscape elements on their farms. With few exceptions, the perceived annoyance caused by such elements is low. In most cases the protective measures are restricted to promoting the conservation of meadow birds and small animals. The farmers are familiar with most initiatives for protecting and promoting the development of nature and landscape elements, but their interest in participating in such initiatives varies. It turns out that their stewardship of nature and landscape elements as part of their farm labour is modest. They prefer the skills needed for optimizing agricultural production. When questioned about preferred combinations of income, they give priority to income from conventional agricultural production. Many farmers are unimpressed by the incentives offered to steward nature and landscape. Questioned about the level of farm management, half of the respondents replied that they prefer the tasks of the skilled labourer, followed by organizational tasks. Only a few favour the true entrepreneur, capable of responding adequately to off-farm developments. Their plans for future development focus on enlarging the farm rather than on specializing or diversifying the farm business. They display considerable enthusiasm for new captial investments and personal improvement of knowledge and skills in agricultural production. Many respondents voice concrete objections to having more nature and landscape elements on the farm, basing their motives on economics and loss of freedom. When asked to range the actors in the networks important to ensure that their plans would be achieved, the respondents reported that stakeholders in the production network and the family were the most essential. Stakeholders for the management of nature and landscape occupy a marginal position in their networks.

    In order to construct a predictive model, chapter 6 explores some theoretical insights relating to farmers' preferences. Theories in rural sociology and the literature on strategic management yielded elements for this model. Chapter 7 discusses the entire model and its constituents, both conceptually and operationally. Strategic preferences, operationalized as a two-dimensional construct covering the interest of farmers in nature and landscape in their professional skills and in their market orientation, result in three groups of farmers. One group has no interest in nature and landscape (33%), the second group prefers the current balance (status quo) between production and nature on the farm (44%) and the smallest group (23%) shows interest in having more features of nature and landscape value on the farm. As a consequence, change-oriented farmers dominate over continuity-oriented farmers, but opinions about the likely prospects vary. The first group opts for traditional modernization paying attention to environmental problems rather than to nature and landscape. The smallest group prefers nature and landscape-included rural renewal.

    Regression analysis was used to determine predictive variables for these preferences. The number of variables with statistically significant influence on preferences is found to be limited. Perception variables prove to be much more important than structure and farm characteristics in agriculture, including the presence of nature and landscape elements. The external orientation of farmers, that is their interests in external initiatives and economic activities in nature and landscape, has by far the most predictive value. The internal orientation, covering the preferred level of farm management and the hindrance experienced from stewarding nature and landscape elements, is not decisive at all. The predictive value of the internal orientation, the farm characteristics and the presence of elements of nature and landscape are overshadowed by the external orientation of farmers.

    Chapter 8 focuses on how the contribution of Dutch farmers to the management of nature and landscape can be improved, making both the quality of the environment and the livelihood of farmers more sustainable. It is concluded that there is still a considerable cultural gap between the persons who have interests in one and the same valuable rural landscape. To the urban population, nature is part of a hedonistic value orientation. To farmers, nature is part of a rural way of life. As a consequence, state policy measures intended to do justice to dominant visions of nature in a highly urbanized society meet considerable resistence in local rural situations. This is particularly striking if measures are placed in the perspective of creating new nature ('nature development') in that situation. Though some Dutch farmers display interest in urban visions on nature and landscape, little of this interest is incorporated into modified farming systems and practices. For most farmers these urban visions are a 'narrow' farm target.

    It is recommended to integrate the communication and participation of farmers into an innovative policy-making process. So far, Dutch farmers have not provided the landscape that urban people desire. The latter would like to have a more natural landscape. The strategy for achieving a more sustainable future for valuable rural landscapes in which farmers perform as knowledgeable participants in the social process has four strategic elements:

    First, a break-through of the status quo can be achieved by retaining external actors as innovators in the region.Second, the relationship between demand and supply of valuable rural landscapes should be established. There are three feasible options. One option excludes farmers as future managers, devolving their contributions to a variety of other actors involved in the landscape. The two other options include opportunities for farmers, provided they are ready to adapt a more open and flexible attitude to the products and services urban people want. The first deals with the preservation and reproduction of traditional valuable features of nature and landscape. It implies development in favour of the cultural heritage. However, this option does not offer a structural solution for each valuable rural landscape and all farmers (the landscape as open-air museum). In the alternative option, the stewardship of landscapes should be based on 'normal' economic activities and services. In contrast to conventional agriculture, however, the alternative option means a wider and more flexible orientation to the environment as a natural resource and a more demand-driven economy (the landscape as part of rural renewal). The best prospect is offered by organic farming, if possible with profitable side-activities. In addition, stewardship continues to be necessary for non-marketable qualities such as the preservation of features of nature and landscape in the light of the cultural heritage and biodiversity. These stewardship activities are dependent on political decisions and government commitment rather than the mechanism of the market competition.The third element is improved network management. At present, Dutch farmers qualify themselves as a group of outsiders in the network for nature and landscape management. Additional networks at the local and regional level could achieve the connection of the networks for agricultural production and nature conservation, featuring intermediary functions. Better network management should also improve the coherence of the conditioning, stimulative and challenging measures in the policy-making process.Finally, more attention should be paid to incorporating measures in farm management. Dutch farmers do not lack information but they do lack instrumental knowledge about initiatives for nature and landscape management. This could be remedied by setting up regional centres for communication and innovation that bridge the gap between a programme of action at the institutional level and the implementation of measures at farm level.
    Barendrechtse zakken: over de risico's van een gesloten beleidsvormingsproces.
    Meegeren, P. van - \ 1998
    In: De transactionele overheid: communicatie als instrument: zes thema's in de overheidsvoorlichting / Bartels, G., Nelissen, W., Ruelle, H., - p. 76 - 84.
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