Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

An Exploration of Scenarios to Support Sustainable Land Management Using Integrated Environmental Socio-economic Models

  • Published:
Environmental Management Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Scenario analysis constitutes a valuable deployment method for scientific models to inform environmental decision-making, particularly for evaluating land degradation mitigation options, which are rarely based on formal analysis. In this paper we demonstrate such an assessment using the PESERA–DESMICE modeling framework with various scenarios for 13 global land degradation hotspots. Starting with an initial assessment representing land degradation and productivity under current conditions, options to combat instances of land degradation are explored by determining: (1) Which technologies are most biophysically appropriate and most financially viable in which locations; we term these the “technology scenarios”; (2) how policy instruments such as subsidies influence upfront investment requirements and financial viability and how they lead to reduced levels of land degradation; we term these the “policy scenarios”; and (3) how technology adoption affects development issues such as food production and livelihoods; we term these the “global scenarios”. Technology scenarios help choose the best technology for a given area in biophysical and financial terms, thereby outlining where policy support may be needed to promote adoption; policy scenarios assess whether a policy alternative leads to a greater extent of technology adoption; while global scenarios demonstrate how implementing technologies may serve wider sustainable development goals. Scenarios are applied to assess spatial variation within study sites as well as to compare across different sites. Our results show significant scope to combat land degradation and raise agricultural productivity at moderate cost. We conclude that scenario assessment can provide informative input to multi-level land management decision-making processes.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Abu Hammad A, Borresen T (2006) Socioeconomic factors affecting farmers’ perceptions of land degradation and stonewall terraces in Central Palestine. Environ Manag 37:380–394

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Balana BB, Muys B, Haregeweyn N, Descheemaeker K, Deckers J, Poesen J, Nyssen J, Mathijs E (2012) Cost-benefit analysis of soil and water conservation measure: the case of exclosures in northern Ethiopia. For Policy Econ 15:27–36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Balmford A, Rodrigues AS, Walpole M, ten Brink P, Kettunen M, Braat L, de Groot RS (2008) The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity: scoping the science. European Commission, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Bekele W, Drake L (2003) Soil and water conservation decision behavior of subsistence farmers in the Eastern Highlands of Ethiopia: a case study of the Hunde-Lafto area. Ecol Econ 46:437–451

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bellin N, van Wesemael B, Meerkerk A, Vanacker V, Barbera GG (2009) Abandonment of soil and water conservation structures in Mediterranean ecosystems: a case study from south east Spain. Catena 76:114–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bizoza AR, de Graaff J (2012) Financial cost- benefit analysis of bench terraces in Rwanda. Land Deg Dev 23:103–115

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blazy JM, Tixier P, Thomas A, Ozier-Lafontaine H, Salmon F, Wery J (2010) BANAD: a farm model for ex ante assessment of agro-ecological innovations and its application to banana farms in Guadeloupe. Agric Syst 103:221–232

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Borselli L, Salvador Sanchis P, Bartolini D, Cassi P, Lollino P (2011, March 11) PESERA L model: an addendum to the PESERA model for sediment yield due to shallow mass movement in a watershed. DESIRE Report 82

  • Buenemann M, Martius C, Jones JW, Herrmann SM, Klein D, Mulligan M, Reed MS, Winslow M, Washington-Allen RA, Lal R, Ojima D (2011) Integrative geospatial approaches for the comprehensive monitoring and assessment of land management sustainability: rationale, potentials, and characteristics. Land Deg Dev 22:226–239

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burney JA, Davis SJ, Lobell DB (2010) Greenhouse gas mitigation by agricultural intensification. Proc Natl Acad Sci 107:12052–12057

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Calatrava J, Franco JA (2011) Using pruning residues as mulch: analysis of its adoption and process of diffusion in Southern Spain olive orchards. J Environ Manag 92:620–629

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Graaff J, Duarte F, Fleskens L, de Figueiredo T (2010) The future of olive groves on sloping land and ex ante assessment of cross-compliance for erosion control. Land Use Policy 27:33–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duarte F, Jones N, Fleskens L (2008) Traditional olive orchards on sloping land: sustainability or abandonment? J Environ Manag 89:86–98

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Esteves TJC, Kirkby MJ, Shakesby RA, Ferreira AJD, Soares JAA, Irvine BJ, Ferreira CSS, Coelho COA, Bento CPM, Carreiras MA (2012) Mitigating land degradation caused by wildfire: application of the PESERA model to fire-affected sites in Central Portugal. Geoderma 191:40–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fleskens L (2012) Modelling the impact and viability of sustainable land management technologies: what are the bottlenecks? Agro Environ. http://library.wur.nl/ojs/index.php/AE2012/article/view/12411/12607. Accessed 15 Nov 2013

  • Fleskens L, Ataev A, Mamedov B, Spaan WP (2007) Desert water harvesting from takyr surfaces: assessing the potential of traditional and experimental technologies in the Karakum. Land Deg Dev 18:17–39

    Google Scholar 

  • Fleskens L, Irvine B, Kirkby MJ, Nainggolan D (2012, June 12) Model outputs for each hotspot site to identify the likely environmental, environmental and social effects of proposed remediation strategies. DESIRE Report 100 D5.3.1

  • Fleskens L, Kirkby MJ, Irvine BJ (2013) The PESERA–DESMICE modelling framework for grid-based assessment of the physical impact and economic viability of land degradation mitigation technologies. Environ Manag (submitted)

  • Fleskens L, Nainggolan D, Termansen M, Hubacek K, Reed MS (2013) Regional consequences of the way land users respond to future water availability in Murcia, Spain. Reg Environ Change 13:615–632

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2011) The state of the world’s land and water resources for food and agriculture (SOLAW)—managing systems at risk. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome and Earthscan, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Franco JA, Calatrava J (2012) The diffusion process of no-tillage with herbicides application in Southern Spain’s olive groves. J Environ Plan Manag 55:979–1003

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hengsdijk H, Meijerink GW, Mosugu ME (2005) Modeling the effect of three soil and water conservation practices in Tigray, Ethiopia. Agric Ecosyst Environ 105:29–40

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hessel R, Reed MS, Geeson N, Ritsema C, van Lynden G, Karavitis CA, Schwilch G, Jetten V, Burger P, van der Werff ten Bosch MJ, Verzandvoort S, van den Elsen E, Witsenburg K (2013) From framework to action: the DESIRE approach to combat desertification. Environ Manag (accepted)

  • Jansen DM, Buijze ST, Boogaard HL (1999) Ex ante assessment of costs for reducing nitrate leaching from agriculture-dominated regions. Environ Model Softw 14:549–565

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jetten V, Shrestha D (2012, April 12) Compilation of site implementation plans and a list of available data. DESIRE Report 91 D4.3.1

  • Kassie M, Jaleta M, Shiferaw B, Mmbando F, Mekuria M (2013) Adoption of interrelated sustainable agricultural practices in smallholder systems: evidence from rural Tanzania. Technol Forecast Soc Change 80:525–540

    Google Scholar 

  • Kirkby MJ, Irvine BJ, Jones RJA, Govers G, The PESERA Team (2008) The PESERA coarse scale erosion model for Europe: I—model rationale and implementation. Eur J Soil Sci 59:1293–1306

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kizos T, Dalaka A, Petanidou T (2010) Farmers’ attitudes and landscape change: evidence from the abandonment of terraced cultivations on Lesvos, Greece. Agric Human Values 27:199–212

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • König HJ, Sghaier M, Schuler J, Abdeladhim M, Helming K, Tonneau JP, Ounalli N, Imbernon J, Morris J, Wiggering H (2012) Participatory impact assessment of soil and water conservation scenarios in Oum Zessar Watershed, Tunisia. Environ Manag 50:153–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Koohafkan P, Altieri MA, Gimenez EH (2012) Green agriculture: foundations for biodiverse, resilient and productive agricultural systems. Int J Agric Sustain 10:61–75

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kosmas C, Danalatos NG, Gerontidis S (2000) The effect of land parameters on vegetation performance and degree of erosion under Mediterranean conditions. Catena 40:3–17

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lescot JM, Bordenave P, Petit K, Leccia O (2013) A spatially distributed cost-effectiveness analysis framework for controlling water pollution. Environ Model Softw 41:107–122

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mantel S, van Lynden GWJ, van der Werff ten Bosch MJ, Karavitis CA, Kosmas C (2011, March) Drivers, policies and laws in DESIRE study sites. DESIRE Report 72 D1.3.1 and D2.1.2

  • Marohn C, Schreinemachers P, Viet Quang D, Berger T, Siripalangkanont P, Thi Nguyen T, Cadisch G (2013) A software coupling approach to assess low-cost soil conservation strategies for highland agriculture in Vietnam. Environ Model Softw 45:116–128

    Google Scholar 

  • Meadows ME, Hoffman TM (2003) Land degradation and climate change in South Africa. Geogr J 169:168–177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nyssen J, Haregeweyn N, Descheemaeker K, Gebremichael D, Vancampenhout K, Poesen J, Haile M, Moeyersons J, Buytaert W, Naudts J, Deckers J, Govers G (2006) Comment on “Modelling the effect of soil and water conservation practices in Tigray, Ethiopia” [Agric Ecosyst Environ 105 (2005) 29–40]. Agric Ecosyst Environ 114:407–411

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Perkins JS, Reed MS, Akanyang L, Atlhopheng JR, Chanda R, Magole L, Mphinyane W, Mulale K, Sebego RJ, Fleskens L, Irvine BJ, Kirkby MJ (2013) Making land management more sustainable: experience implementing a new methodological framework in Botswana. Land Deg Dev 24:463–477

    Google Scholar 

  • Rubio JL, Bochet E (1998) Desertification indicators as diagnosis criteria for desertification risk assessment in Europe. J Arid Environ 39:113–120

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Salvati L, Bajocco S, Ceccarelli T, Zitti M, Perini L (2011) Towards a process-based evaluation of land vulnerability to soil degradation in Italy. Ecol Indic 11:1216–1227

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Schwilch G, Bachmann F, Valente S, Coelho C, Moreira J, Laouina A, Chaker M, Aderghal M, Santos P, Reed MS (2012a) A structured multi-stakeholder learning process for sustainable land management. J Environ Manag 107:52–63

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schwilch G, Hessel R, Verzandvoort S (eds.) (2012b) Desire for greener land. Options for sustainable land management in drylands. University of Bern—CDE, Alterra—Wageningen UR, ISRIC—World Soil Information and CTA—Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation

  • Sirrine D, Shennan C, Sirrine JR (2010) Comparing agroforestry systems’ ex ante adoption potential and ex post adoption: on-farm participatory research from southern Malawi. Agrofor Syst 79:253–266

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stringer LC, Fleskens L, Reed MS, de Vente J, Zengin M (2013) Participatory evaluation of monitoring and modeling of sustainable land management technologies in areas prone to land degradation. Environ Manag. doi:10.1007/s00267-013-0126-5

  • Stringer LC, Dyer JC, Reed MS, Dougill AJ, Twyman C, Mkwambisi D (2009) Adaptations to climate change, drought and desertification: insights to enhance policy in southern Africa. Environ Sci Policy 12:748–765

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stringer LC, Dougill AJ, Thomas AD, Spracklen DV, Chesterman S, Ifejika Speranza C, Rueff H, Riddell M, Williams M, Beedy T, Abson DJ, Klintenberg P, Syampungani S, Powell P, Palmer AR, Seely MK, Mkwambisi DD, Falcao M, Sitoe A, Ross S, Kopolo G (2012) Challenges and opportunities in linking carbon sequestration, livelihoods and ecosystem service provision in drylands. Environ Sci Policy 19–20:121–135

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tenge AJ, de Graaff J, Hella JP (2005) Financial efficiency of major soil and water conservation measures in West Usambara highlands, Tanzania. Appl Geogr 25:348–366

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tenge AJ, Okoba BO, Sterk G (2007) Participatory soil and water conservation planning using a financial analysis tool in the West Usambara highlands of Tanzania. Land Deg Dev 18:321–337

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tittonell P, Giller KE (2013) When yield gaps are poverty traps: the paradigm of ecological intensification in African smallholder agriculture. Field Crops Res 143:76–90

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tucker M, Napier TL (2002) Preferred sources and channels of soil and water conservation information among farmers in three midwestern US watersheds. Agric Ecosyst Environ 92:297–313

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Lynden G, Mantel S, Hessel R (2011, March 11) An overview of desertification problems in the study countries (maps & report). DESIRE Report 73 D1.2.1

Download references

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the EU Framework 6 Desertification Mitigation & Remediation of Land—a Global Approach for Local Solutions (DESIRE) Project (037046). We thank all study site teams for their contributions and support throughout the research process.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to L. Fleskens.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Fleskens, L., Nainggolan, D. & Stringer, L.C. An Exploration of Scenarios to Support Sustainable Land Management Using Integrated Environmental Socio-economic Models. Environmental Management 54, 1005–1021 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-013-0202-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-013-0202-x

Keywords

Navigation