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On the other side of the ditch: exploring contrasting ecosystem service coproduction between smallholder and commercial agriculture
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
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Number of Authors: 52018 (English)In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 23, no 4, article id 9Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Managing for increased multifunctionality of agricultural landscapes is a crucial step toward a sustainable global agriculture. We studied two contrasting agricultural landscapes that exist in parallel on two sides of a ditch in the South African Drakensberg Mountains. The large-scale commercial and smallholder farmers operate within a similar biophysical context but have different farming intensities, management practices, socioeconomic positions, ethnic identities, cultural contexts, and land tenure systems. To assess multifunctionality, we examined the ecosystem services coproduced within these two social-ecological systems, by applying a mixed-method approach combining in-depth interviews, participatory mapping, and expert assessments. The results indicate clear differences between the two farming systems and farmer groups in terms of supply, demand, and the capacity of the farmers to influence ecosystem service production within their landscapes. Commercial farmers can generally produce agricultural products to meet their demand and have the capacity to mitigate land degradation and erosion. Smallholder food production is low, and the demand for ecosystem services is high. Since the smallholders lack the resources to mitigate unsustainable use, this leads to overuse and land degradation. Both landscape types manifest aspects of multifunctionality but vary in the outcomes. Unequal access to land; skills; and natural, financial, and technical resources can hamper multifunctionality and the development toward an equitable and sustainable agriculture in South Africa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 23, no 4, article id 9
Keywords [en]
agricultural landscapes, inequity, multifunctionality, participatory mapping, poverty traps
National Category
Biological Sciences Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-164653DOI: 10.5751/ES-10380-230409ISI: 000454653700009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-164653DiVA, id: diva2:1279897
Available from: 2019-01-17 Created: 2019-01-17 Last updated: 2019-01-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes: A study on farming and farmers in South Africa and Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes: A study on farming and farmers in South Africa and Sweden
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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. p. 45
Keywords
ecosystem service bundles, multifunctional landscapes, ecosystem service supply and demand, spatial scales, trade-offs, sustainable agriculture, transdisciplinary, stakeholder participation
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-133485 (URN)978-91-7649-506-3 (ISBN)978-91-7649-507-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-11-04, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-10-12 Created: 2016-09-08 Last updated: 2019-01-17Bibliographically approved

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Henriksson Malinga, RebeckaLindborg, ReginaAndersson, ErikGordon, Line J.
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