Landscape governance for ecosystem services, biodiversity and agriculture

Natural and human-modified ecosystems provide important ecosystem services (ES) supporting biodiversity and human well-being, and social systems establish the policies that govern these ecosystems. Established governance models have impacts on the natural systems and in consequence, on ES provision. Hence, the big challenge arises from making the established governance models a good fit to the spatial and temporal scales of ES provision and ecosystem functioning. CP3 (Civil-Public-Private Partnerships) aims to analyse and improve governance of European landscapes for ecosystem services, biodiversity and agriculture.

Key assumptions and objectives

The main hypothesis of the CP3 project is that collaborative approaches in governance exist that help in providing a better institutional fit between agro-ecosystem management and the required spatial and temporal scales necessary to reach specific ecosystem services (ES), food production and biodiversity targets in rural landscapes. We further hypothesize that from such collaborative approaches valuable lessons can be learned to inform stakeholders in governance and policy who are confronted with similar challenges.

Thus, cp³ will explore governance models for agro-ecosystem management in rural landscapes that go beyond command and control or market-based approaches and will focus on collaborative governance approaches involving actors from all spheres of society, including the state, market and civil society sector. Such collaborative approaches draw on a multitude of different governance models which include partnerships where social entrepreneurs or technological innovators from the market sector are involved or where citizens take on the role of evaluators or scheme monitors as lay experts through honorary work.

The cp³ project will address the following four research questions:

  1. Identify, describe, and analyze such collaborative governance models that are successful in providing an institutional fit between the level of governance and the required spatial and temporal scales necessary to reach specific ES, food production and biodiversity targets
  2. Identify, describe and analyze agricultural production practices linked to the different governance models and explore their relations to ES, food production and biodiversity targets, including existing trade-offs and synergies
  3. Develop an inventory of ES provided by and needed to sustain agro-ecosystems, including spatial and temporal scales of delivery, and ES flows
  4. Derive recommendations for stakeholders, i.e. policy makers, market actors, civil society initiatives, farming community, how development of such collaborative governance models can be supported by specific policies and administrative conduct.

Main research topics

Governance models

The main objective of the governance models work package is to identify, describe, and analyze existing governance models linked to the management of agro-ecosystems in the case studies with regard to their institutional fit (or misfit). A particular focus will be on collaborative and participatory governance approaches (in contrast to market-based or state-induced command and control approaches). A specific task of this work package is the production of participatory movies for one (two) case study (studies) (provided there is interest in the case study to do such a movie). The idea behind participatory movies is to actively involve the local stakeholders in the movie production to capture their perspectives on the issue of institutional misfit.

Production practices

The focus of the production practices work package is on the identification, description and analysis of currently applied land use related production practices in agro-ecosystem management. The production practices will be described at farm level involving information on the types of produced goods and production intensities in relation to site conditions. Described production practices will be used for the analysis of their impacts on ecosystem service provisioning and biodiversity (which includes the analysis of existing synergies and trade-offs) in cooperation with the ecosystem services work package.

Ecosystem services

The main objective of the ecosystem services work package is to develop a comprehensive overview of ecosystem services provided by and needed to sustain different agro-ecosystems in rural landscapes. For each ecosystem service, the relevant spatial and temporal scales are assessed, as well as their directional flows across the landscape, including the identification of respective providers and beneficiaries. In this regard, this work package will investigate the connection between farm level production practices and ecosystem service provisioning and biodiversity at the landscape level.

Case study areas

The CP3 project operates in three core case study areas: Ooijpolder-Groesbeek (the Netherlands), Spreewald (Germany) and Jauerling-Wachau (Austria). In addition, several desktop case studies will be assessed in other European countries.