Conference Agenda

326R: Can decision support tools enhance interventions towards land system transformation?
Wednesday, 24/Apr/2019:
11:15am - 12:45pm

Session Chair: Isabelle Providoli
Location: UniS-A -126
UniS building, room A-126, basement, 80 seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

Land use and management systems are impacted by various environmental, economic and sociocultural factors while providing crucial ecosystem services for humanity. Planners of development interventions rarely have sufficient high-quality data to base their decisions entirely on well-established facts, but are faced with knowledge gaps and uncertainties that remain unaddressed. In consequence, policymakers and other development professionals often find themselves making decisions without meaningful and comprehensive scientific guidance. New approaches and tools are needed to support decisions in land use and management that consider both system complexity and all relevant uncertainties. One possible approach to bridge this gap is Decision Analysis based on Bayesian Network Modelling or other forms of probabilistic modelling, which has been applied in various fields (e.g. public health or computer science) for many years, but is rarely applied in land use decisions.

A major limitation to evidence-based land use decision-making is a lack of accurate screening of land use and management options and failure to involve all relevant stakeholders, from land users to decision-makers, in identifying solutions. Options to be promoted are often chosen by researchers and experts without adequately consulting the target groups. However, studies show that the selection of appropriate land use and management options requires the integration of diverse knowledge, perceptions and judgements of different stakeholders in participatory negotiation and evaluation processes. Tools that guide such processes have proven useful in supporting more inclusive land use decisions.

This session will showcase various decision support tools applied at different levels in the context of land use and land management. Participants will discuss whether and how these approaches can make development interventions more transformative and raise their prospects of having a true impact on livelihoods.

Session Organizers: Eike Ludeling, Keith Shepherd, Cory Whitney, Nicole Harari, Urs Baumgartner, and Isabelle Providoli

Full talk
ID: 649 / 326R: 1
326R Can decision support tools enhance interventions towards land system transformation?
Keywords: Invasive alien plant species, Sustainable land management, Decision Support

Considering spatio-temporal processes in co-designing sustainable land management strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of invasive alien plant species

Albrecht Ehrensperger1, Beatice Adoyo3, Tena Alamirew5, Urs Baumgartner1, Simon Choge4, Sandra Eckert1, René Eschen2, George Kajembe6, Charles Kilawe6, Boniface Kiteme3, John Richard Mbwambo7, Brehanu Mergesa5, Urs Schaffner2

1Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland; 2CABI, Delémont, Switzerland; 3Centre for Training and Integrated Research in ASAL Development (CETRAD), Nanyuki, Kenya; 4Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Marigat, Kenya; 5Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC), Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; 6Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania; 7Tanzania Forest Research Institute (TAFORI), Lushoto, Tanzania

Invasive alien plant species (IAPS) are key drivers of anthropogenic environmental change, as they threaten native species, communities, and ecosystems, with significant impacts on peoples’ lives. Yet, IAPS management decisions may lead to trade-offs between complex and often competing environmental, social, and economic objectives. This is particularly the case for numerous invasive trees and shrubs planted in Africa during the 19th and 20th century to provide wood and fodder or to stabilize degraded ecosystems. Another challenge is that biological invasions are by nature spatial and temporal processes. Thus, while benefits may outweigh costs at early invasion stages, the inherent property of IAPS to spread and outcompete native vegetation massively increases negative effects on nature and people in later invasion stages. Addressing both challenges requires negotiations among affected stakeholders.

We developed a management strategy against key IAPS in Eastern Africa, focusing on Prosopis spp. and Lantana camara, which are considered among the world’s worst invaders. We used a structured deliberative multi-criteria decision support process (Schwilch et al. 2012) to engage stakeholders in the co-design and implementation of mitigation measures and combined this process with a priority setting exercise, during which stakeholders valued ecosystem services to be restored by sustainable land management (SLM) practices and reflected on possible trade-offs and synergies. To enable stakeholders co-designing spatially explicit management strategies, we developed a workshop module to share and discuss scientific and local knowledge about biological invasions and the impacts of target species on nature and people. We introduced the three-tiered IAPS management approach linked to different stages of invasions: prevention, early detection and rapid response, and control. Finally, we adapted the process to integrate practices in spatially explicit management strategies. We conclude that the integration of spatio-temporal considerations in SLM strategies is suitable to tackle multiple drivers threatening the stability of social-ecological systems.

Full talk
ID: 724 / 326R: 2
326R Can decision support tools enhance interventions towards land system transformation?
Keywords: decision support; mainstreaming; scaling out; sustainable land management; multi-stakholder process

Decision support tools for mainstreaming and scaling out Sustainable Land Management

Nicole Harari, Isabelle Providoli, Urs Baumgartner, Rima Mekdaschi Studer, Felicitas Bachmann, Hanspeter Liniger

University of Bern, Switzerland

Poor land and water management and a lack of appropriate governance frameworks to deal with increasing pressure on limited resources lead to degradation of the land resources upon which rural communities and society depend. Without effective knowledge management and decision support tools and processes, sustainable land management (SLM) will remain ineffective.

To achieve scaling up and wide adoption of SLM a knowledge management system for evidence-based decision making and a mainstreaming and scaling out strategy have to be in place at national and/or landscape level from the beginning of an intervention, and budget allocated to them. This can be facilitated by a framework, which supports decision making on where and what SLM practices are to be up- and out-scaled and the promotion of the necessary enabling environments at the appropriate scales.[1] FAO and the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) have developed a decision support framework (DSF) through the GEF/ FAO project ‘Decision support for mainstreaming and scaling out of SLM’, which provides guidance to countries in SLM mainstreaming and scaling out. The DSF was applied with 15 countries worldwide. Their country-specific processes and successes in scaling will be presented.

At the local level, the participatory negotiation and selection of promising SLM options in a multi-stakeholder process with farmers, local decision-makers and local SLM experts is key for a successful dissemination of good practices and adoption by farmers. The Centre for Development and Environment and WOCAT have developed a methodology together with local partners which is applied in different projects, e.g. an IFAD-funded project in Laos, Cambodia and Uganda, and an FAO project in Morocco. Experiences made with the application of this methodology in different contexts and the related opportunities and limitations with regards to scaling SLM will be showcased.

[1] UNCCD SPI (2017).

Full talk
ID: 325 / 326R: 3
326R Can decision support tools enhance interventions towards land system transformation?
Keywords: livestock, trade-offs, game, simulations, learning space

Developing inclusive visions for transforming livestock value chains using participatory modelling and serious gaming in sub-Saharan Africa

Catherine Pfeifer1, Joanne Morris2, Dawit Mulatu3, Jon Ensor2

1Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Swizerland; 2Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) , UK; 3Environment and Climate Research Center (ECRC)/EDRI, Ethiopia

Livestock is a major land user in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly for feed and fodder production. With increasing populations and incomes, the demand for animal sourced foods is projected to double in the next 10 years. Therefore, livestock production systems will have to adjust, potentially transforming land use and natural resources management practices, with associated social, economic and environmental impacts.

We report on the creation of a “learning space” to address these challenges. Our approach embeds a simulation tool into a serious game. The tool is spatially explicit ex-ante simulator that computes the environmental impact of alternative livestock value chains. At its core it is a spatial allocation model that computes land use based on the location and composition of animal feed and fodder.

Participants in the learning space define scenarios, based on types of livestock and management system (including feed composition). The process results in several indicators: production (amount of milk and meat produced), land use (amount of land used for different feed), environmental (water use, greenhouse gasses, nitrogen balance and biodiversity), and socio-economic (defined by stakeholders themselves). Participants are able to assess the desirability of alternative scenarios through their assessment of these indicators. Through playing the game, stakeholders (farmers, traders, policy-makers and local experts) negotiate in mixed groups, iteratively adjusting the scenarios to identify trade-offs and synergies emerging from the land system.

The learning space in Atsbi, Tigray, Ethiopia in 2018 has shown that the community is willing to keep more sensitive (i.e. difficult to maintain) but more productive cross-breed dairy cows and sheep (for meat production), while reducing all other cattle. This increased and more efficient animal source food production reduces livestock land use, minimizing additional greenhouse gas emissions while improving nitrogen soil balance, women’s decision-making power and income opportunities for the marginalized groups.

Full talk
ID: 721 / 326R: 4
326R Can decision support tools enhance interventions towards land system transformation?
Keywords: participatory rangeland management, drylands, co-management of natural resources, Morocco

Participatory co-management of natural resources in an arid and semi-arid region in Morocco

Pascale Waelti Maumier1, Stefan Graf1, Christoph Studer1, Matteo Jucker1, Isabelle Providoli2, Gudrun Schwilch2

1School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Switzerland; 2Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, Switzerland

Sustainable land management (SLM) provides flexible, adaptable solutions in a world of fast-changing natural conditions (e.g. climate change and variability, extreme weather events), social conditions (e.g. migration, feminization of agriculture), and economic conditions (e.g. changing markets). Participatory co-management of natural resources is key and requires careful selection of alternatives and making decisions based on evaluation of diverse SLM technology and approach options according to multiple objectives and criteria. However, there is a general lack of guidance for decision-makers how to structure effective, participatory processes to select the best option. The Centre for Development and Environment, WOCAT and its partners and collaborating projects have developed a methodological framework for Decision Support for SLM at the local level.

In a FAO watershed management project in Morocco the WOCAT decision support methodology has been applied in the Middle Atlas, where rangelands and management of collective lands play an important role. The management of these rangelands involves the intervention of a large number of users and other actors, each with their own objectives, as well as the implementation of collective actions. In order to better take into account the particular challenges associated with rangeland, the WOCAT methodology has been merged with the participatory rangeland management (PRM) approach tested and adapted by the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL) in this region.

Participatory co-management of natural resources consists of three phases: an investigation phase, a negotiation phase and an implementation phase. The PRM approach provides valuable tools, such as participatory mapping and stakeholder analysis, for the investigation and negotiation phase, while WOCAT allows the selection of diverse SLM technology and approach options according to multiple objectives and criteria by the involved stakeholders in the negotiation phase. Experiences made with the application of this methodology and the related opportunities and limitations will be showcased.

Flash talk
ID: 526 / 326R: 5
323R Understanding and operationalizing the sustainability concept for guiding urban transformations
Keywords: urban transformation, sustainability, urban forms, planning, urban land simulations, U.S.

Simulation of the underlying factors of urban transformation and characterizing the effects of planning in guiding sustainable urban forms: a case study of Austin metropolitan area, Texas, U.S.

Chunhong Zhao

Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland

Several urban planning initiates and practices worldwide are paying growing attention to sustainable development of “urban forms” (e.g., spatial pattern of human activities). Regional and local planners and governments have been trying to steer the urban growth processes for compact urban forms, for example through the “new urbanism” and “smart growth” movement. Despite ample of previous work in understanding the interactions between human action and urban form transformation at specific areas, the actual intervenes and outcomes of planning and policies (e.g., ‘smart growth’) on urban forms have been poorly illustrated and measured. Recently, studies have emphasized roles of land-use policies and spatial planning as the underlying driving factor for land-use change. The hypothesis of this study is that spatial planning and policies are an important factor changing urban forms and should be integrated into land change models. The Austin metropolitan area (AMS), Texas, U.S., one of the fastest urban growth and transformations region, is selected to test the hypothesis through following steps:

1) Measuring the historical urban form transformations of AMS from the year 1992 to 2016;

2) Exploring and modeling the driving mechanism of the urban form transformations identified above. The related topographic, economic and demographic driving factors are selected based on previous studies;

3) Besides the factors in step 2), the current and historical comprehensive and regional planning intentions and implementations of AMS are quantified and incorporated into the simulation model designed in above step to test the hypothesis.

The outcome of the study will help to examine the role of regional and local comprehensive plans for sustainable urban transformation within the U.S culture. For example, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Regional Transportation Plan aimed to direct new growth to compact activity centers for jobs, housing, and services. The research will evaluate contributions of relevant plans.

Full talk
ID: 755 / 326R: 6
319R Understanding socio-ecological change and transformation of coastal land in low elevated coastal zones (LECZ)
Keywords: socio-ecological resilience, pluvial and coastal inundation, research co-design, vulnerability

Enhancing socio-ecological resilience in low elevated coastal zones subject to recurrent inundation

Narcisa Gabriela Pricope, Christopher Hidalgo, Joanne Nancie Halls

University of North Carolina Wilmington, United States of America

Densely populated low-lying coastal locations are vulnerable to threats associated with land use changes and climate variability, especially pluvial and coastal inundation. Through a combination of poorly coordinated regional land use planning, weak implementation of mitigation or adaptation practices, and high socio-ecological vulnerability, in the United States alone, millions of coastal households are at risk and will be affected by inundation related to storms and sea-level rise in coming decades, as most recently evidenced by Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, USA. With such large at-risk populations, identifying the intersection of social vulnerability and physical risk to inundation is essential for both planning and adaptation purposes in complex socio-ecological systems. Through community engagement at hierarchical governance scales and modeling of socio-ecological dynamics, we seek to understand the interplay among land use changes occurring at multiple spatial and temporal scales, socio-economic changes and shifting physical exposure in the Atlantic coastal plain. We present an integrated socio-ecological model of vulnerability at the block-group level of geography using census data to measure social variability and highly-resolved physical exposure based on finished floor elevation of individual buildings. We identify in a spatially-explicit manner and at multiple levels of governance areas of high social vulnerability and their intersection with areas of high physical exposure to inundation. We then work with local and regional governance bodies to create actionable, needs-based resources to help build community resilience at multiple scales in vulnerable coastal communities. Testing our socio-ecological vulnerability model against actual pluvial and coastal inundation extents resulting from Hurricane Florence, we show how we can merge socio-ecological modeling efforts with needs-based digital tools aimed at enhancing resilience in low elevated coastal zones by co-designing planning and adaptation strategies with stakeholders, communities and transboundary governance bodies in areas that suffer from repeated catastrophic inundation events.

Flash talk
ID: 652 / 326R: 7
204R Opportunities of farm and landscape level models in land use science for biodiversity and ecosystem service assessment
Keywords: Modelling, Land-use change, Bayesian networks, Drivers, Scenarios analysis

The influence of biophysical and socio-economic factors on land-use change in the North-East of Madagascar

Ravosaina Ntsiva Nirinimanitra Andriatsitohaina1, Enrico Celio2, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey2, Zo Hasina Rabemananjara1, Bruno Ramamonjisoa1

1ESSA-Forêts, Antananarivo Madagascar; 2ETH PLUS, Zurich Switzerland

In order to get an idea of future development paths in rural landscapes and to formulate more sustainable development strategies, it is essential to understand land-use change, the underlying decision-making mechanisms, and its drivers. In North-Eastern Madagascar, landscape change in forest frontier contexts mostly results from smallholder households decision-making. However, an investigation of land-use decision-making is lacking for this region. This contribution will address the question, how biophysical and socio-economic factors influence land-use change and what the effects on the landscape are. To this end, we applied a Bayesian network-based land-use decision modeling approach which allowed us to analyze land-use decision-making in a spatially-explicit manner. In particular, we analyzed land-use change outcomes under water supply and availability variations.

Results show that households made land-use decisions (a) according to the biophysical situation of the plot such as water availability, slope or soil fertility and (b) following to their intention driven by economic considerations. In addition, the presence of protected areas influenced farmers’ decision-making. They intensified or converted shifting cultivation into agroforestry land. Scenarios analysis revealed that if water situation fail, expansion of agroforestry systems within the landscape will continue. The results help discuss the water management situation as dysfunction of irrigation system and unintended/adverse effects of protected areas such as boundary restriction.