Agricultural landscapes, ecosystem services and regional competitiveness—Assessing drivers and mechanisms in nine European case study areas

Lena Schaller*, Stefano Targetti, Anastasio J. Villanueva, Ingo Zasada, Jochen Kantelhardt, Manuel Arriaza, Tufan Bal, Valérie Bossi Fedrigotti, F. Handan Giray, Kati Häfner, Edward Majewski, Agata Malak-Rawlikowska, Dimitre Nikolov, Jean Christophe Paoli, Annette Piorr, Macario Rodríguez-Entrena, Fabrizio Ungaro, Peter H. Verburg, Boris van Zanten, Davide Viaggi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Agricultural landscapes affect regional development and competitiveness in a way far beyond the production of agricultural commodities. However, comprehensive assessments of the relevant cause-effects between agricultural landscape and regional competitiveness are complex and they require a range of ecological, economic and social aspects to be considered. This study proposes an stakeholder-based ‘Analytic Network Process’ applied in nine European case-study areas in order to assess the role of economic actors, ecosystem services, socio-economic benefits and regional competitiveness in the agricultural landscape system. The results reveal that agricultural food production is still perceived as a major element for creating value from landscapes. However in some case studies, the importance of non-marketable, socio-cultural and environmental public good-type ecosystem services outweighs the importance of agricultural production. Region-specific variations of cause-effect relationships are discussed and a range of drivers, related to biophysical conditions, land-use patterns, agricultural management and remoteness are identified. Our study reveals the perception of non-monetary services and their impact on regional competitiveness and provides considerations on entry points for rural policies promoting landscape valorisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-745
Number of pages11
JournalLand Use Policy
Volume76
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Analytic Network Process
  • Common Agricultural Policy
  • Landscape valorisation
  • Participatory approach
  • Rural competitiveness
  • Stakeholders

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