Publications

Wetlands and agriculture - Relevance of good agricultural practice and wetland management guidelines for harmonizing the wise use of wetlands and agriculture

Bos, J.; Hengsdijk, H.; Zingstra, H.L.

Summary

The Conference of Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention meeting in 2002 in Valencia adopted Resolution VIII calling for guidelines to enhance the interaction between agriculture, wetlands and water resources management. Resolution VIII.34 requests among others to establish a framework for identifying, documenting and disseminating good agriculture-related practice and to use that framework for the possible development of wetland type specific management guidelines to: - enhance the positive role that sustainable agricultural practices may have vis-à-vis the conservation and wise use of wetlands; - minimize the adverse impacts of agricultural practices on wetland conservation and sustainable use goals; and - include examples based on wetland-type specific needs and priorities that take into account the variety of agricultural systems. As a first step towards the development of these guidelines a scoping document on agriculture-wetland interactions was produced and published. This scoping document explores the nature of wetland-agriculture interactions through the application of the drivers, impacts, pressures, state changes, impacts and responses (DPSIR) framework. The main conclusions of the scoping document are: · Ecosystem services tend to be skewed towards provisioning services at the expense of regulating, supporting and cultural services. · Main drivers operating towards the over-exploitation of ecosystem services are natural resource dynamics, market demands and government policies. · To design response strategies aimed at balancing ecosystem services the DPSIR analyses need to be conducted in detail for each site and case. The scoping document further concludes that site specific guidance is needed to address the loss of ecosystem services through over-exploitation of provisioning services. In view of this the scoping document proposes the following response strategies: · Reduce pressures from agriculture and negative state changes and impacts by diversifying provisioning services. · Diversify demands on wetlands so that different ecosystem services can generate income especially through Payment for Environmental Services (PES). · Manage basin level land use to facilitate the maintaining of ecosystem services. · Make agricultural services more sensitive to ecosystems and their requirements. · Redirect the drivers of change to meet specific needs in ways that do not create negative state changes. · Any combination of these strategies.