Revisiting production and ecosystem services for evaluating land use alternatives in a rural landscape

Land is a scarce resource and should be used in such a way that the increasing global demand for food and feed can be fulfilled, ensuring sufficient levels of ecosystem services. While the demand on open space to deliver a multitude of services is increasing, drivers like global change and urbanization are undermining these services. Decision makers and other stakeholders are in need of appropriate diagnostic tools to estimate trade-offs and synergies associated with land allocation and land use intensity decisions. This often implies trade-offs between food and biomass production and other non-provisioning ecosystem services. This paper presents an analytical framework to evaluate land use strategies. An integrated approach that combines spatial and economic analyses and that relies on the ecosystem services concept is used to evaluate land use in a rural area under urban pressure. A preliminary application of this framework to a case study area demonstrates the relevance of this approach, and highlights current challenges. The results suggest that the optimal land use scenario in consideration of ecosystem services depends on the biophysical and spatial context as well as on the socio-economic context.

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Working or Discussion Paper
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An updated version of this working paper is published as: Lerouge, F., Sannen, K., Gulinck, H., Vranken, L. (2016). Revisiting production and ecosystem services on the farm scale for evaluating land use alternatives, Environmental Science & Policy, 57, 50-59
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Bioeconomics Working Paper Series

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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