Climate Smart Agriculture

FOREFRONT Program

Nature’s benefits in agro-forest frontiers: linking actor strategies, functional biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The FOREFRONT program focuses on agro-forest frontier areas, which are the particularly dynamic borders between forested and agricultural land. The research aim is to link the landscape-transforming strategies of the various actors with landscape changes and resulting ecosystem services. With a team of more than 25 researchers, 5 post-doctoral researchers, 11 PhD candidates and several MSc students from 4 institutions in the Netherlands, Brazil and Mexico, we aim to understand the landscape dynamics and ecosystem services provision in three rural landscapes in Mexico and Brazil. The interdisciplinary team includes specialists on soils, vegetation (forests, pastures, croplands), remote sensing, sociology, policy, participatory methods, etc. The program started in 2015 and will end January 1st, 2021.

Fig. 1. Framework for the interdisciplinary analysis of relationships between functional diversity, ecosystem services, and human actions within a dynamic social-ecological system at the landscape scale (dotted line). The system of interest is subject to external drivers at regional and global scales and, in turn, impacts on social and biophysical factors at larger spatial scales. The solid boxes represent the social (purple) and ecological (green) components within the system. Different layers within the ecological system (green) indicate different land use types of configurations with different (functional) biodiversity and associated ecological process, leading to different bundles of ecosystem services.  Layers within the social system (purple) represent heterogeneity of (groups of) actors with different values and needs, means and assets, resulting in different actor strategies and landscape management decisions. The orange arrows connect both component of the social-ecological system and represent the interdisciplinary nature of the framework. Bundles of ecosystem services (multi-coloured flower diagrams) are subject to synergies and trade-offs that can take different relationships.
Fig. 1. Framework for the interdisciplinary analysis of relationships between functional diversity, ecosystem services, and human actions within a dynamic social-ecological system at the landscape scale (dotted line). The system of interest is subject to external drivers at regional and global scales and, in turn, impacts on social and biophysical factors at larger spatial scales. The solid boxes represent the social (purple) and ecological (green) components within the system. Different layers within the ecological system (green) indicate different land use types of configurations with different (functional) biodiversity and associated ecological process, leading to different bundles of ecosystem services. Layers within the social system (purple) represent heterogeneity of (groups of) actors with different values and needs, means and assets, resulting in different actor strategies and landscape management decisions. The orange arrows connect both component of the social-ecological system and represent the interdisciplinary nature of the framework. Bundles of ecosystem services (multi-coloured flower diagrams) are subject to synergies and trade-offs that can take different relationships.