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Open Access TALE - Towards multifunctional agricultural landscapes in Europe: Assessing and governing synergies between biodiversity and ecosystem services

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The increasing demand for agricultural products calls for an improved understanding of synergies between biodiversity, food and energy production and ecosystem services as well as for the development of policy measures to support these synergies. The BiodivERsA funded project TALE contributes to such an improved understanding by identifying and quantifying the trade-offs and synergies between food production, biodiversity and selected ecosystem services, developing scenarios on how future land use can look like under different policy priorities (land sharing, land sparing and balanced), identifying optimal land use strategies and analyzing existing policy measures to assess their effectiveness to support such strategies. The studies were carried out in a set of representative agricultural landscapes in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands and Spain. The methodological steps of the project consist of i) designing and implementing a systematic stakeholder integration process (incorporation of expert knowledge) in all project phases to ensure practical relevance, ii) developing a set of land use scenarios and land use policies and iii) developing a framework that links biophysical and statistical models with optimization algorithms. Moreover, TALE provides an innovative online learning environment that is accessible both for experts, students and the general public.

Stakeholder guidelines were developed to initiate a bottom-up process for ensuring co-design of knowledge within the project. The stakeholder involvement played a fundamental role in the project. By using the stakeholder-defined scenarios as model input, we received information on their impact on selected ecosystem services and biodiversity. In addition, explorative modelling was carried out to explore limits but also further potential of providing several ecosystem services of a region. Combining the scenario simulations with the results of the explorative modelling indicates where, for instance, agro-environmental measures can be implemented most efficiently to approach the 'optimum'.

By analyzing policy instruments and combining stakeholder integration with scenario and explorative modelling the project helps to identify priority areas for land use systems, specific areas suitable for intensification or find the best locations for environmental measures. Thus, TALE contributes to solve multi-criteria problems to support landscape multifunctionality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2018

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