Ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes: A study on farming and farmers in South Africa and Sweden
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Humanity is facing challenges of sustainably producing enough food for a growing population without further eroding the world’s ecosystems. Transformation of natural habitats into agriculture has resulted in opportunities for civilization, but has also led to land degradation and loss of biodiversity, threatening the generation of ecosystem services. A better understanding of interlinkages and trade-offs among ecosystem services, and the spatial scales at which services are generated, used and interact, is needed in order to successfully inform land use policies. This includes the need to develop transdisciplinary tools that can disentangle the relationships between the supply of and demand for ecosystem services. This thesis investigates agricultural landscapes as complex social-ecological systems, and uses a multi-method approach to assess ecosystem service generation from different types of agricultural landscapes and to examine the social-ecological nature of these services. More specifically, the thesis discusses the importance of appropriate spatial scales, explores landscape change, integrates stakeholder knowledge and develops tools to investigate supply and demand of multiple ecosystem services.
Paper I reviews the literature on ecosystem service mapping, revealing that services were mostly mapped at intermediate spatial scales (municipality and province), and rarely at local scales (farm/village). Although most of the reviewed studies used a resolution of 1 hectare or less, more case-specific local scale mapping is required to unravel the fine-scale dynamics of ecosystem service generation that are needed to inform landscape planning. To explore future uncertainties and identify relevant ecosystem services in a study area, paper II builds alternative scenarios using participatory scenario planning in the Upper Thukela region, South Africa. The paper compares methods to select services for an ecosystem service assessment showing that scenario planning added limited value for identifying ecosystem services, although it improved knowledge of the study area and availed useful discussions with stakeholders. Papers III and IV combines social and biophysical data to study the supply and demand of ecosystem services at farm- and landscape level, through participatory mapping and expert assessments in the Upper Thukela region, South Africa (paper III), and through in-depth interviews and biophysical surveys in Uppsala County, Sweden (paper IV), including small-scale and large-scale farmers. Both papers find apparent differences between the farmer groups in terms of the supply and the demand of services, and also the capacity of the farmers to influence the generation of services (paper III). Paper IV further establishes the importance of using multiple indicators combining social and biophysical data to quantify and investigate the complex social-ecological nature of ecosystem services. A cross-case comparison of ecosystem service bundles, using data from papers III and IV, finds similarities in bundles generated in the large-scale systems, while the small-scale agriculture bundles varied. This thesis provides new insights into the social-ecological generation of ecosystem services at fine scales such as farm and landscape levels, and shows the importance of including the knowledge of various stakeholders, combining different methods and tools to increase the understanding of supply and demand of ecosystem services.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , 2016. , 45 p.
ecosystem service bundles, multifunctional landscapes, ecosystem service supply and demand, spatial scales, trade-offs, sustainable agriculture, transdisciplinary, stakeholder participation
Research subject Sustainability Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133485ISBN: 978-91-7649-506-3ISBN: 978-91-7649-507-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-133485DiVA: diva2:966824
2016-11-04, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Plieninger, Tobias, Associate Professor
Lindborg, Regina, ProfessorGordon, Line, DocentElmqvist, Thomas, Professor
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.2016-10-122016-09-082016-10-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers