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Schouten M.A.H.,Wageningen University | van der Heide C.M.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI | van der Heide C.M.,Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences | Heijman W.J.M.,Wageningen University | Opdam P.F.M.,Wageningen University
Ecological Economics | Year: 2012

Given the major changes that rural areas have undergone, and are continuing to undergo, serious problems of achieving sustainable development are being experienced. These changes have multiple characters, varying from changes in ecosystem conditions to changes in socio-economic impacts, due to, for example, food- and financial crises. Nowadays, there is an increasing awareness of the need to develop rural policies that support adaptive strategies of stakeholders in response to a disturbance. We propose that resilience thinking offers a framework that could be helpful in the governance of rural changes. This framework is based on the complexity of the social-ecological system and takes into account the unpredictable future, as it emphasizes adaptive approaches to management. As such, it helps evaluate to what extent rural development policies contribute to the resilience of rural areas. Nine criteria were developed including thirteen specifications. In order to evaluate the usability and usefulness of the proposed framework, a case study has been performed that specifically investigated the degree of resilience of a European rural development policy (i.e. the spending of extra funds generated through compulsory modulation under the 2009 Health Check in the Netherlands). © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Knierim A.,Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research | Nowicki P.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI
Outlook on Agriculture | Year: 2010

Strategic policy making for rural regions has gained increasing importance during the last few decades in the European Union. A coherent framework for the development of agricultural and rural policy measures has been made available (Council Decision 2006/144/EC), which integrates Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis as an essential step in regional stocktaking and ex ante appraisal. The authors start with an outline of the SWOT tool as part of the EU's overall strategic approach and follow this with an overview of the conceptual backgrounds in management theory and organizational development. Then, on the basis of two examples, the tool's recent use in agriculture and rural development is demonstrated and discussed. Conclusions are drawn for the instrument's future application.


Batsleer J.,Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies | Batsleer J.,Wageningen University | Rijnsdorp A.D.,Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies | Rijnsdorp A.D.,Wageningen University | And 3 more authors.
Fisheries Research | Year: 2016

We model the potential effects of a discard ban on the annual fishing strategy of individual fishers in a mixed fishery under individual quota management. The North Sea beam trawl fishery, which catches large amounts of undersized plaice, is used as a model system. Under a discard ban, fishing is restricted to the fishing grounds and weeks where the maximum revenue can be realised with other species while catching the quota of the restricted species with a reduced bycatch of undersized fish. Model results suggest that, if properly enforced, a discard ban provides an incentive to implement more selective fishing gears that catch fewer small fish and are more fuel efficient (pulse trawl). If a discard ban is not properly enforced, restrictive quota do not necessarily result in the intended decrease in discarding as the fishery continues to fish while discarding the over-quota catch and least valuable size classes caught. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Soma K.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Soma K.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI
Environmental Policy and Governance | Year: 2010

A repeated statement observed in the literature is that stakeholder participation can contribute to improve complex environmental management decisions. However, transparent and legitimate decision-making processes cannot be ensured without suitable involvement strategies and information treatments throughout the processes. The main goal in this study is to frame participatory processes with multicriterion evaluations to increase transparency of the decision support. The developed approach applies clearly defi ned roles of interest groups, experts and citizens, as well as alternatives presented on maps, criteria arranged in a hierarchy of decision elements and weights obtained by conducting deliberative processes with citizens. The approach is applied in a case study at municipal level in Norway to support coastal zone management decisions. Relevant interests and social values are systematically represented by the multicriterion evaluation framework utilized in the approach presented. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.


Soma K.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Soma K.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI | Vatn A.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Environmental Policy and Governance | Year: 2010

Environmental policy-making can be challenging because of lobbying by strong private interests. This results in less consideration about what is best for the wider community. The main goal of this study is to evaluate to what extent it is possible to institutionalize a citizen's role in decision-support processes. While the literature makes a clear distinction between private and social values, very little research is undertaken on how the framing of the instituted process influences which types of value become legitimate. Two deliberative meetings with local inhabitants were conducted in a municipality in Norway focusing on land use policy in coastal areas. The meetings were framed to facilitate dialogue and to emphasize the most important values to protect, given the interests of the wider municipality in the longer run. A large majority of the participants found the framing appropriate. Analyses of the dialogues, letters written by participants before the meetings and individual interviews undertaken afterwards document that the format of the meetings influenced strongly which arguments were found legitimate. The setting favoured the identification and specification of social values for inhabitants of the involved municipality such as public accessibility in conserved nature areas along the coast. The data moreover give insights about how the framing influenced the process. Arguments in favour of private construction interests were present, but were found to be weak in legitimacy. The framing might, however, also have influenced which social values were emphasized the most strongly. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.


Benard M.,VU University Amsterdam | de Vriend H.,LIS Consult | van Haperen P.,Wageningen University | Beekman V.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics | Year: 2010

Analysis of a European Union funded biotechnology project on plant genomics and marker assisted selection in Solanaceous crops shows that the organization of a dialogue between science and society to accompany technological innovations in plant breeding faces practical challenges. Semi-structured interviews with project participants and a survey among representatives of consumer and other non-governmental organizations show that the professed commitment to dialogue on science and biotechnology is rather shallow and has had limited application for all involved. Ultimately, other priorities tend to prevail because of high workload. The paper recommends including results from previous debates and input from societal groups in the research design phase (prior to communication), to use appropriate media to disseminate information and to make explicit how societal feedback is used in research, in order to facilitate true dialogue between science and society on biotechnology. © 2009 The Author(s).


Samson G.S.,Wageningen University | Gardebroek C.,Wageningen University | Jongeneel R.A.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI
NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences | Year: 2016

The abolition of dairy quotas in Europe in 2015 has been accompanied by uncertainty on expansion of the European dairy sector. Whereas the total amount of quotas was limited and the value of quotas was falling before 2015, a significant part of active Dutch dairy farmers followed an expansion strategy in the recent past. Therefore, it was expected that the overall milk production in the Netherlands will substantially increase after abolishment of the quota. The objective of this study is to analyse which factors determine milk production expansion by Dutch dairy farmers. A conceptual model is developed that shows how policies, market conditions, and farmers' values and goals affect their expansion decisions. This conceptual model shows that not only economic, but also social and environmental variables are important factors in expansion decisions of Dutch dairy farmers. Zooming in on the dynamic decision making process itself, we combine three investment theories to explain investment decisions. This framework is the basis for a dynamic random effects probit model that is used to estimate the effects of various economic, environmental and farm structural factors on farmers' expansion behaviour. Data is obtained from the Dutch Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) covering the period 2001 through 2010, with 1390 observations on 354 dairy farms included in the sample. The results show that production intensity matters when analysing production expansion behaviour of Dutch dairy farms. Compared to extensive farms, intensive farms have a higher probability for milk production expansion. The availability of land however is an important precondition. Production diversification, which is usually found at extensive farms, decreases the probability for milk production expansion. Although the findings do not directly show an increase in milk production during the sample period (farmers still respected their quota limits), the results indicate that Dutch dairy farms can potentially increase milk production in the future. In 2010 farms underutilized their stable space, as the occupancy of stable space was 71%. After milk quota abolishment farms can therefore increase livestock herd and milk production with limited investments. © 2015 Royal Netherlands Society for Agricultural Sciences.


Schouten M.,Wageningen University | Opdam P.,Wageningen University | Polman N.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI | Westerhof E.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI
Land Use Policy | Year: 2013

In this paper we apply an agent-based modelling approach to improve our understanding of how government payments to enhance public values in social-ecological systems can contribute to the resilience of the system. As a system we take a rural area with high quality nature including farmers managing this area. These farmers make the decision either to produce milk for the world market or bring their land under the agri-environment scheme, which is supposed to enhance biodiversity at landscape level. We explore how farmers respond to introducing a flexible compensatory payment related to the degree to which AES parcels contribute to the spatial coherence of the local network of nature areas. We use this characteristic of the location of AES parcels as a proxy for higher species diversity. We also explore how farmers respond to increased volatility in output prices, which we consider as an example of a large scale disturbance with a potentially major implication on the spatial conditions of the network of nature areas. We find that if payments are spatially conditioned, farmers bring fewer parcels under the AES, but with a higher contribution to the spatial conditions for species diversity. We also find that if the payments are spatially restricted, the AES parcels are less sensitive to fluctuations in output prices. Assuming that it takes several years for a parcel with conventional farming to increase biodiversity, we conclude that if the government introduces a spatial condition into the AES payment system, the social-ecological system that we have considered would increase in resilience, because the condition for biodiversity would become less sensitive to large scale disturbances due to increased price fluctuation on the world market. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Gebrezgabher S.A.,Wageningen University | Meuwissen M.P.M.,Wageningen University | Prins B.A.M.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI | Lansink A.G.J.M.O.,Wageningen University
NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences | Year: 2010

One of the key concerns of biogas plants is the disposal of comparatively large amounts of digestates in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. This paper analyses the economic performance of anaerobic digestion of a given biogas plant based on net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR) concepts. A scenario analysis is carried out based on a linear programming model to identify feedstocks that optimize electricity production and to determine the optimal application of digestate. In addition to a default scenario, management and policy scenarios were investigated. Economic evaluations of all scenarios, except no subsidy scenario, show positive NPV. The highest NPV and IRR values are observed under reverse osmosis (RO) as a green fertilizer scenario. Our findings show that treating RO as a green fertilizer, as opposed to manure (default scenario), is not only lucrative for the plant but also lessens environmental burden of long distance transportation of concentrates. This paper also concludes that given the uncertainty of regulations concerning RO and the currently low values of digestate and heat, high investment and operating costs limit feasibility of anaerobic digestion of wastes of farm origin and other co-substrates unless subsidies are provided. © 2009 Royal Netherlands Society for Agricultural Sciences.


Schouten M.,VU University Amsterdam | Schouten M.,Wageningen University | Verwaart T.,Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI | Heijman W.,Wageningen University
Environmental Modelling and Software | Year: 2014

In this paper two sensitivity analysis approaches are applied for scenario analysis in a spatially explicit rural agent-based simulation. The simulation aims to assess the socioeconomic and ecological impacts of agricultural policy interventions, market dynamics and environmental change on a regional scale. Two different methods of sensitivity analysis are investigated: i) a one-at-a-time approach where each parameter is varied one after the other, while all other parameters are kept at their nominal values; and ii) a procedure based on Monte Carlo sampling where random sets of input parameter values are related to outputs of the simulation. The complementarity of both approaches and their contribution to the overall interpretation of the model is shown in two scenarios simulating alternative European policy instruments for biodiversity conservation. Results show that a mixed approach of sensitivity analysis leads to a better understanding of the model's behaviour, and further enhances the description of the simulation's response to changes in inputs and parameter settings. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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