Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
101RB: Trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in dynamic landscapes - Part B
Thursday, 25/Apr/2019:
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Session Chair: Ralf Seppelt
Session Chair: Elizabeth Law
Location: MB-201
Main Building, room 201, second floor, east wing, 154 (+22) seats
Session Topics:
What are the visions for the planetary land system?

Session Abstract

Rapidly evolving land systems often bring about drastic changes in the trade-offs between production-oriented land uses and social-ecological outcomes. These trade-offs are often strongest between agriculture and biodiversity. Where agriculture expands and intensifies, habitat conversion and degradation typically causes the erosion of biodiversity and many non-provisioning ecosystem services. Conversely, relaxing land-use pressure can translate into substantial opportunities for conservation. How can we best understand and manage trade-offs in dynamic landscapes in order to create co-benefits between agricultural production and conservation? This session explores how we can best understand and mitigate trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in dynamic landscapes. Such landscapes can occur across the full land-use transition spectrum: from agricultural frontiers into natural areas that might emerge as a result of technological breakthroughs, to rapid transformations of traditional framing landscapes to intensified, globally integrated landscapes as a result of market integration, to rapid land abandonment as a result of institutional shocks. The potential for conflict between economic and environmental outcomes increase in such situations, but the spatial re-arrangement of land systems also brings about opportunities for lessening environmental impacts and for restoration and rewilding. Making use of these opportunities, however, is challenging for research and policymaking. Land-use and conservation planning need to move from a static to a dynamic paradigm: socio-economic models and causes of land system change are likely to be shifting as new actors enter and new trends emerge, and data may be unavailable or outdated in rapidly changing environments. These challenges require bold transportation of models over new spatial and temporal contexts, and an explicit consideration of uncertainty is central. This session will showcase emerging approaches and applications to characterize and analyse trade-offs in dynamic landscapes, to translate tools and insights into information relevant for stakeholders and policymakers, and thus to re-imagine land systems through these dynamic futures.

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Full talk
ID: 400 / 101RB: 1
101R Trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in dynamic landscapes
Keywords: Livestock, sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, water, food systems

Future sustainability of the northern Australian frontier: performance and trade-offs across multiple indicators

Brett Bryan1, Rebecca Runting2, Darran King3, Martin Nolan3, Javier Navarro3, Raymundo Marco-Martinez3, Jeff Connor4, Euan Ritchie1, Don Driscoll1, Tim Doherty1, Ian Watson3, Jonathan Rhodes2

1Deakin University, Australia; 2The University of Queensland; 3CSIRO; 4The University of South Australia

Livestock is an increasingly important part of the global food system and the livelihoods of local people, but concerns have been raised about the future sustainability of livestock production including greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, and water resource use. Extensively grazed cattle generally have a relatively high methane output per animal due to poor quality pasture and limited options for intensification, but significant potential for emissions reductions exists. At the same time, the capacity of tropical savanna to maintain livestock production is likely to be impacted by climate change, primarily through the impact of changes in temperature, rainfall, and fire regimes on pasture and water requirements. In addition, external economic drivers, such as changing livestock and carbon prices, could affect the viability of these production systems and abatement actions. We used an integrated, spatio-temporal modelling approach to assess the impact of climate change, fire, and global economic drivers on the profitability and effectiveness of the livestock management action of safe stocking rates and the greenhouse gas emissions abatement actions of controlled burning and nitrate supplementation in northern Australia’s rangelands. We found that the profitability of livestock production increased with growing demand, but rising farm input prices and new biophysical constraints posed by climate change counteracted these gains in some cases, and reduced the number of animals produced. Innovative strategies, such as changing fire management practices or nitrate supplementation were able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they came with financial costs. Higher carbon prices under some global change scenarios were able to compensate for the costs of controlled burning, but costs remained a barrier for nitrate supplementation, even with a carbon price. Much of the grazing lands in northern Australia and elsewhere are already marginal for livestock production, so the opportunity to diversify income streams may prove vital in a changing climate.

Full talk
ID: 320 / 101RB: 2
101R Trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in dynamic landscapes
Keywords: land management, conservation, crop production, wood production, green fodder, forests, grasslands, arable fields, biodiversity

Effects of conventional land-use intensification on species richness and production: A global meta-analysis

Michael Beckmann1, Katharina Gerstner2, Morodoluwa Akin-Fajiye3, Silvia Ceaușu4, Stephan Kambach2, Nicole L. Kinlock3, Helen R. P. Phillips2, Willem Verhagen5, Jessica Gurevitch3, Stefan Klotz1, Tim Newbold6, Peter H. Verburg5, Marten Winter2, Ralf Seppelt1

1Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ; 2iDiv – German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research; 3Stony Brook University; 4Aarhus University; 5Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; 6University College London

Conventional land-use intensification is often used to boost agricultural production and is recognized as a major threat to biodiversity. However, little is known about the simultaneous effects of land-use intensification on biodiversity and yield. To determine the responses of species richness and yield to conventional intensification, we conducted a global meta-analysis synthesizing 115 studies which collected data for both variables at the same locations. We extracted 449 cases that cover a variety of areas used for agricultural (crops, fodder) and silvicultural (wood) production. We found that, across all production systems and species groups, conventional intensification is successful in increasing yield (grand mean +20.3%), but it also results in a loss of species richness (-8.9%). However, analysis of sub-groups revealed inconsistent results. For example, small intensification steps within low intensity systems did not affect yield (-0.7%) or species richness (-0.8%). Within high-intensity systems species losses were non-significant (-6.1%) but yields gains were substantial (+15.2%). Conventional intensification within medium intensity systems revealed the highest yield increase (+84.9%) and showed the largest loss in species richness (-22.9%). Production systems differed substantially in their magnitude of richness response, with insignificant changes in silvicultural systems and substantial losses in crop systems (-21.2%). Across all sub-analyses, the unexplained variation remained high, which underlines a lack of quantitative studies that simultaneously measure richness and yield. These finding suggest that, in many cases, conventional land-use intensification drives a trade-off between species richness and production, even in already intensively used areas. However, species richness losses were often not significantly different from zero, suggesting opportunities for yield gains with negligible losses of species richness.

Full talk
ID: 415 / 101RB: 3
101R Trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in dynamic landscapes
Keywords: oil palm, agroforestry, biodiversity, Indonesia

Biodiversity enrichment experiment in oil palm plantation: ecological and economic trade-offs

Delphine Clara Zemp1, Dirk Hölscher1, Bambang Irawan2, Leti Sundawati3, Meike Wollni1, Holger Kreft1

1University of Goettingen, Germany; 2University of Jambi, Indonesia; 3Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia

The transformation of rainforest into large-scale monocultural oil palm plantations has led to dramatic losses in biodiversity and in ecological functioning. To alleviate the negative ecological impacts in existing plantations, designer plantation landscapes have been proposed, in which agroforestry zones are considered to have a positive impact on biodiversity. In 2013, we established a biodiversity enrichment experiment (EFForTS-BEE) by planting tree islands in a conventional oil palm landscape in Sumatra, Indonesia. Three main questions are investigated: (1) Are tree islands a suitable measure for biodiversity enrichment in oil palm plantations? (2) Do the experimental tree islands act as nuclei for spontaneous colonization of flora and fauna? (3) What are the socio-economic and ecological trade-offs? As the experiment is now well established, we study the experimental response of (a) the environment (soil, micro-climate, surrounding matrix), (b) plants (tree survival and growth, plant water relations, understory vegetation, seed and pollen rain, tree recruitment, vegetation structural complexity), (c) animals (bird, bat and invertebrate communities), (d) micro-organisms (prokaryotes and fungi) and (d) socio-economics (oil-palm yields, benefits from the planted trees, incentive for enrichment planting). Here, we present initial findings resulting from the integration of comprehensive ecological and socio-economic studies from the past four years. These preliminary results contribute to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed designer plantation landscapes, and therefore to the development of ecologically improved management concepts in oil palm landscapes.

Full talk
ID: 847 / 101RB: 4
101R Trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in dynamic landscapes
Keywords: Forest Recovery, Brazilian Forest Code, Amazon, Spatial Prioritization

A spatial prioritization approach to optimize forest conservation and recovery allocation in Southern Brazilian Amazon

Leticia de Barros Hissa, Jaime Garcia-Marquez, Tobia Lakes

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

In 2015, Brazil pledged to restore 12Mha of forests countrywide, a commitment largely based on the expectation that enforcing the Brazilian Forest Code (BFC) will drive large scale forest recovery. Mato Grosso is the Brazilian federal state with most forest deficits in private lands and therefore has great potential for forest recovery in a BFC enforcement scenario. In this study we focused on the Amazonian portion of Mato Grosso to address a complex large-scale forest restoration problem. On the one hand, carbon rich and biodiverse habitats would greatly benefit from connectivity enhancement via forest landscape restoration. On the other hand, Mato Grosso is the sole major soybean producer and home of the largest bovine herd in Brazil, meaning candidate areas for restoration overlap with high economic value agricultural lands. At the same time, the choice of where to revegetate could be affected by the placement of legal private reserves by landowners and on future legal and illegal deforestation. Here, we propose a spatially explicit framework that optimizes biological features enhancement coupling forest reserves selection with the identification of priority areas for forest restoration. Our optimization approach is sensitive to economic factors (agriculture opportunity costs) and legal requirements from the BFC, making prioritization more realistic. We considered biophysical and socioeconomic criteria representing three dimensions of prioritization: (a) socio-ecological relevance; (b) ecosystem resilience and (c) anthropogenic pressure. We tested our approach to address the following aims: 1) Identify priority areas for forest restoration inside private properties in the state of Mato Grosso. 2) Investigate the trade-offs between carbon, biodiversity features conservation, and agricultural production under different scenarios of the Brazilian Forest Code (BFC) implementation.

Full talk
ID: 326 / 101RB: 5
101R Trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in dynamic landscapes
Keywords: community conservation, CBNRM, wildlife, impact evaluation, Namibia

Impacts of community-based conservation on elephant counts and vegetation cover in Namibia’s Zambezi Region

Maximilian Meyer1, Jan Börner1, Vladimir Wingate2

1Institute for Food and Resource Economics (ILR), University of Bonn, Germany; 2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland

Initiatives to promote community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) have been evaluated with mixed results in both socio-economic and ecological dimensions. In Namibia, CBNRM schemes (conservancies)have been established since the 1990s in order to reconcile wildlife conservation and rural development. As Namibia gears up for participation in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), land use and land cover change (LULCC) may become increasingly important additional outcome indicators for the country’s approach to CBNRM. This paper focusses on conservancies found in Namibia’s Zambezi region, part of the world’s second-largest trans-frontier conservation area (KAZA TFCA). Recent studies identify widespread LULCC occurring alongside important shifts in wildlife population densities over the past decades, pointing to significant impacts on ecosystem service and function provision. Based on a socio-ecological conceptual framework, we identify potential causal mechanisms through which conservancies may impact vegetation cover, and specifically account for their location relative to regional animal migration corridors. We test our theoretical predictions using panel data in a spatially explicit, quasi-experimental evaluation design, including a heterogeneous treatment effect analysis. Our results add empirical evidence to the debate on the effectiveness of CBNRM schemes in integrating wildlife conservation and rural development that have implications for the design of conservation areas with multiple sustainability goals.

Flash talk
ID: 264 / 101RB: 7
101R Trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity in dynamic landscapes
Keywords: land-use, agroforestry, vanilla, biodiversity, Madagascar

Vanilla boom in NE Madagascar: A chance for a sustainable land-use transformation?

Dominic Andreas Martin1, Kristina Osen2, Annemarie Wurz3, Fanilo Andrianisaina4, Thio Rosin Fulgence5,6, Hendrik Hänke7, Adriane März2, Johannes Osewold2, Andry Ny Aina Rakotomalala8, Estelle Raveloratiaina9, Marie Rolande Soazafy10,6, Jan Barkmann7,11, Ingo Grass3, Dirk Hölscher2, Teja Tscharntke3, Holger Kreft1

1Biodiversity, Macroecology and Biogeography, University of Goettingen; 2Tropical Silviculture and Forest Ecology, University of Goettingen; 3Agroecology, University of Goettingen; 4Agriculture, Animal husbandry, Environment, University of Antananarivo; 5Zoology and Animal Biodiversity, University of Antananarivo; 6Natural and Environmental Sciences, Regional University Centre of the SAVA Region (CURSA); 7Environmental- and Resource Economics, University of Goettingen; 8Entomology, University of Antananarivo; 9Plant Biology and Ecology, University of Antananarivo; 10Natural Ecosystems, University of Mahajanga; 11Risk and Sustainability Sciences, Hochschule Darmstadt - University of Applied Sciences

Cash crops farmed in agroforestry systems can be an economically attractive opportunity for farmers that are potentially ecologically sustainable alleviating negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Whether such a win-win situation can be realised is, however, highly context-dependent. Here, we study the impacts of vanilla agroforestry in North-Eastern Madagascar - a biodiversity hotspot which loses forest cover at high rates to agriculture. This forest cover loss is mainly attributed to subsistence rice farming but the current vanilla boom driven by prices of up to 600€ per kilo may also lead to the encroachment of plantations into forests, thus reducing understory complexity and tree cover locally. However, vanilla plantations can also be established on open fallow land already highly disturbed by slash-and-burn practices (“tavy”) leading to a potentially more sustainable land-use. We compared tree cover, biodiversity, and vanilla yields (a) of forest conversion plots vs. fallow conversion plots and (b) along a canopy cover gradient to investigate (i) how vanilla farming shapes canopy cover locally, (ii) how vanilla yields vary between plantation types and under different shade regimes, and (iii) how plantation type affects tree cover, biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions. We hypothesize that vanilla agroforestry negatively affects biodiversity inside primary forest, but that it may have positive effects if established on open fallow land leading to tree regeneration and thus an increase in tree cover. Yields are expected to peak at mid-canopy cover – potentially incentivising tree clearance under high canopy cover and tree regeneration under low canopy cover. Thereby we investigate how the cultivation of the same cash crop might have very different outcomes for biodiversity and sustainable land-use depending on initial land-use. This knowledge may result in management advice or certification schemes that are sensitive to land-use prior to vanilla cultivation.