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Schulp C.J.E.,VU University Amsterdam | Van Teeffelen A.J.A.,VU University Amsterdam | Tucker G.,Institute for European Environmental Policy IEEP | Verburg P.H.,VU University Amsterdam
Land Use Policy

The Biodiversity Strategy of the European Union includes a target to "ensure no-net-loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2020". Many policy options can be envisioned to achieve such a no-net-loss target, mainly acting on land use and land management. To assess the effectiveness of such policies at a European Union (EU) scale, we simulated land use changes and their impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services indicators. We analysed a Business-as-Usual scenario, and three no-net-loss scenarios. The no-net-loss scenarios included measures that aim to reduce negative impacts of land use change on biodiversity and ecosystem services, by better implementation of existing biodiversity conservation measures (Scenario 1); and enhancement of existing measures (Scenario 2); and offsetting residual impacts on areas of high biodiversity and ecosystem service value (Scenario 3).Results show that none of the scenarios achieved overall no-net-loss. Compared to a Business-as-Usual scenario, the no-net-loss scenarios reduced the overall degree of land cover change at EU level, hence reducing impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services in large parts of the EU. The more comprehensive no-net-loss scenarios resulted in a gain of natural land cover. Moreover, natural areas became better connected, especially in peri-urban areas as a result of impact avoidance and offsetting. Richness of farmland bird species was projected to increase. Measures included in the no-net-loss scenarios had net positive effects on pollination and carbon sequestration, neutral effects on crop production, erosion prevention and flood regulation, and negative effects on nature-based recreation, compared to Business-as-Usual. In particular circumstances policy measures invoked displacement effects in land use allocation, reducing the effectiveness of the measures. This was primarily the case for flood regulation services throughout the EU.This study differentiates the potential effectiveness of a no-net-loss policy framework in three manners: (i) considering biodiversity and ecosystem services simultaneously; (ii) in the light of existing policies and land use pressures; and (iii) in different land use contexts across the EU. Taken together, we conclude that achieving no-net-loss for biodiversity and ecosystem services throughout the EU remains challenging given high land use demands. Nevertheless, in large parts of Europe there appears room for improvement for certain kinds of biodiversity and ecosystem services compared to Business-as-Usual, while still meeting other land use demands. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Terres J.-M.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Scacchiafichi L.N.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Wania A.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Ambar M.,EIP AGRI Service Point | And 10 more authors.
Land Use Policy

Accounting for more than half of the European Union's (EU) territory, agriculture ensures food production, manages important natural resources and supports socio-economic development of rural areas. Moreover, it is estimated that 50% of all plant and animal species (including some of that are listed in the EU Habitat Directive) depend on agricultural practices. The continuation of appropriate agricultural land management is essential to ensure these primary functions. Avoidance of farmland abandonment is therefore an important rationale for the EU's Common Agricultural Policy which requires improved knowledge of this phenomenon at the European level. This study assesses the risk of farmland abandonment in the 27 EU Member States. It summarizes the work performed by an expert panel of European scientists and national representatives which aimed to identify the main drivers of farmland abandonment in Europe, to define indicators for assessing its risk of occurrence and to test the value of European-wide data sources to achieve these aims. Drivers were identified under two rationales: low farm stability and viability, and negative regional context. Indicators were defined using recent socio-economic farm data and geospatial datasets. Some indicators were then combined to make a composite risk indicator. Regions with higher risk of farmland abandonment are located in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Ireland. This paper demonstrates the challenges of performing a European-wide assessment of a phenomenon influenced by drivers whose effects vary at local levels. Other problems encountered are data heterogeneity in terms of spatial resolution and quality, as well as access to micro-data (local level data). High spatial resolution European datasets measuring farmland abandonment are needed to validate the defined indicators as well as to benchmark the methodology. Furthermore, such data could be used to establish a weighting system for the drivers. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Brunsting S.,Energy Research Center of the Netherlands | Upham P.,Finnish Environment Institute | Upham P.,University of Manchester | Upham P.,University of Leeds | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control

Although prior studies provide some insight into the effects of communication factors such as source credibility and argument strength on public perceptions of CCS, comparisons and integration of insights from these studies is complicated by the multitude of different and interdependent factors that influence communication outcomes. Here we provide an overview of these factors, structured in terms of a communications matrix and drawing on experience with CCS projects and studies to date. Using the matrix we organize empirical findings of the effects of four major communication input factors (source, message, channel, receiver) on communication output factors such as, attention, interest, understanding, and attitudes. The resulting 'map' of opinion shapers may guide development of public communication, engagement, and participation in CCS projects. The key message to communicators is that by knowing how input factors influence output factors, it can be decided which features are useful to achieve an intended communication outcome. Obtaining knowledge of input-output interactions requires early public engagement to explore public needs and concerns. Critical to the communication outcome is the extent to which CCS communication is an informed, open and objective public discussion process in which different views on the technology are acknowledged. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Russi D.,Institute for European Environmental Policy IEEP | Margue H.,Institute for European Environmental Policy IEEP | Oppermann R.,Institute For Agrarokologie Und Biodiversitat Ifab | Keenleyside C.,Institute for European Environmental Policy IEEP
Land Use Policy

Result-based agri-environment measures are increasingly seen as an interesting way to improve the conditionality and efficiency of the use of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding for environmental land management. They differ from classical action-based measures in that they remunerate farmers to achieve a desired outcome, and not for complying with a set of rules. We have analysed MEKA-B4, the result-based agrienvironment measure in place in Baden-Württemberg (Germany) between 2000 and 2014, which aimed to preserve species-rich grassland. In order to do so, we carried out semi-structured face-to-face interviews with participating and non-participating farmers and key institutional actors. We argue that MEKA-B4 could be considered a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), but only if a broad definition is adopted, as the payment appeared to cover the opportunity costs of only some categories of farmers (e.g., part-time farmers, less productive fields, hay producers), but it was too low to cover those of intensive cattle raisers and biogas producers, partly due to the changing market conditions (e.g., fluctuating and decreasing price of hay; incentives to produce biogas). In fact, in general most farmers were motivated to join the scheme by a combination of extrinsic motivations (i.e., the monetary incentive) and intrinsic motivations (i.e., ethical reasons). Increasing the payment, as has been done in the new version of the scheme (FAKT-B3), may help to ensure a wider enrolment in the measure in the long term. However, the interaction with biogas subsidies and other measures of the FAKT programme may hamper the farmers' enrolment. This shows the need to improve the integration and coherence of environmental policies that have different objectives. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Keegan D.,Institute for European Environmental Policy IEEP | Kretschmer B.,Institute for European Environmental Policy IEEP | Elbersen B.,Wageningen University | Panoutsou C.,Imperial College London
Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining

Growing demand for biomass for energy in Europe and beyond, alongside growing interest in the use of biomass to replace petroleum and other conventional materials in the production of industrial products and chemicals, necessitates consideration of how the limited supplies of biomass can be used most efficiently. This paper presents the concept of cascading the use of biomass (i.e. a mechanism for prioritizing its use for socially preferable products, notably materials over its use for energy). Such a mechanism would be an opportunity to maximize the efficiency of biomass use. Currently, barriers to the wider adoption of cascading persist in the form of underdeveloped supply chains to facilitate the reuse of biomass resources and a regulatory framework that focuses support on the energy use of biomass. This paper discusses policy mechanisms and instruments that could help lift these barriers, including measures under the EU Renewable Energy Directive to introduce more encompassing sustainability criteria and incentives for the use of end-of-life biomass. We further argue for more research to better understand the environmental and economic impacts of increased industrial biomass uses and to link any support for biomaterials closely to the outcome of such research. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

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