Mapping hotspots of multiple landscape functions: a case study on farmland afforestation in Scotland
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Many conservation and restoration efforts in developed countries are increasingly based on the premise of recognising and stimulating more ‘multi-functionality’ in agricultural landscapes. Public policy making is often a pragmatic process that involves efforts to negotiate trade-offs between the potentially conflicting demands of various stakeholders. Conservationists’ efforts to influence policy making, can therefore benefit from any tool that will help them to identify other socio-economic functions or values that coincide with good ecological conservation options. Various types of socio-economic objectives have in recent years been mapped across landscapes and so there are now important opportunities to explore the spatial heterogeneity of these diverse functions across the wider landscape in search of potential spatial synergies, i.e. ‘multiple win locations’ or multifunctional ‘hotspots’.
This paper explores the potential occurrence of such synergies within the agricultural landscape of northeast Scotland and evaluates an existing woodland planting policy using and combining three different policy objectives. Our results show that there are indeed broad areas of the studied landscape where multiple objectives (biodiversity, visual amenity and on-site recreation potential) could be achieved simultaneously (hotspots), and that the case study which we evaluate (the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme) could be much better spatially targeted with regards to each individual objective as well as with regards to these hotspots of multifunctionality.
KeywordsFarm woodlands GIS Spatial targeting Biodiversity Recreation Visual amenity Landscape Multifunctionality
We thank Dr. Gary Hill for providing reports and advice regarding the forest role in tourism, John de Groot for preliminary GIS work used in the production of the recreation benefits map and the UK Forestry Commission for providing the FWPS polygons. We also thank Prof. Paul Opdam for constructive criticism on previous versions of this manuscript. We acknowledge the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) for financial support.
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