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Using Participatory Scenario Planning to Identify Ecosystem Services in Changing Landscapes
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2013 (English)In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 18, no 4, UNSP 10Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is a growing interest in assessing ecosystem services to improve ecosystem management in landscapes containing a mix of different ecosystems. While methodologies for assessing ecosystem services are constantly improving, only little attention has been given to the identification of which ecosystem services to assess. Service selection is mostly based on current state of the landscape although many landscapes are both inherently complex and rapidly changing. In this study we examine whether scenario development, a tool for dealing with uncertainties and complexities of the future, gives important insights into the selection of ecosystem services in changing landscapes. Using an agricultural landscape in South Africa we compared different sets of services selected for an assessment by four different groups: stakeholders making the scenarios, experts who have read the scenarios, experts who had not read the scenarios, and services derived from literature. We found significant differences among the services selected by different groups, especially between the literature services and the other groups. Cultural services were least common in literature and that list was also most dissimilar in terms of identity, ranking, and numbers of services compared to the other three groups. The services selected by experts and the scenario stakeholders were relatively similar indicating that knowledge of a study area gained through the scenario exercise is not very different from that of experts actively working in the area. Although our results show limited value in using scenario development for improved ecosystem service selection per se, the scenario development process triggers important discussions with local and regional stakeholders about key issues of today, helping to more correctly assess changes in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 18, no 4, UNSP 10
Keyword [en]
agriculture, complexity, ecosystem services, future, landscape, scenarios, social-ecological systems, South Africa, uncertainties
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100679DOI: 10.5751/ES-05494-180410ISI: 000329431700010OAI: diva2:695294
Swedish Research Council


Available from: 2014-02-10 Created: 2014-02-10 Last updated: 2016-09-16Bibliographically 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. 45 p.
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
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)

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: 2016-10-03Bibliographically approved

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Malinga, RebeckaGordon, Line J.Lindborg, Regina
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