Agriculture is the major land use at a global scale. In addition to food production, multifunctionality of landscapes, including values and ecosystem services like biodiversity, recreation and culture, is now focus for management. This study explores how a scenario approach, involving different stakeholders, may help to improve landscape management for biodiversity conservation. Local farmers and executives at the County Administrative Board were invited to discuss rural development and conditions for farmland biodiversity in two Swedish landscapes. The potential biodiversity for three future land use scenarios for the two landscapes was discussed: nature conservation, outdoor recreation and energy production, and compared with current and historical landscapes in each region.
Analyses of habitat areas, connectedness and landscape diversity suggested that the energy and recreation scenarios had a negative impact on farmland biodiversity, whereas the nature conservation scenario, the current and historically reconstructed landscapes had a higher potential for biodiversity. The farmers appreciated the nature conservation scenario, but also the energy production scenario and they highlighted the need of increased subsidies for management of biodiversity. The farmers in the high production area were less interested in nature quality per se. The executives had similar opinions as the farmers, but disagreed on the advantages with energy production, as this would be in conflict with the high biodiversity and recreational values. The local physical and socio-economical conditions differ between landscapes and potentially shaped the stakeholders emotional attachment to the local environment, their opinions and decisions on how to manage the land. We stress the importance of incorporating local knowledge, visions and regional prerequisites for different land uses in conservation, since site and landscape specific planning for biodiversity together with a flexible subsidy system are necessary to reach the conservation goals within EU.
2009. Vol. 91, 499-508 p.