|Contributing Authors:||Matteo Jucker Riva, Gudrun Schwilch, Hanspeter Liniger|
|Source document:||Jucker Riva, M., Schwilch,G., Liniger, H. 2016. A method for resilience assessment. CASCADE Project Deliverable 7.2, 61 pp
Like any other system, the land management systems analyzed here change following external disturbances such as fires, drought and economic shocks. However, more subtle and slow changes can happen due to changes in the local context, changes in neighboring areas or caused by internal drivers. In the context of this resilience assessment, we have considered two aspects that are crucial for the resilience of the systems being analyzed:
- Pressure factors can slowly degrade the land management system and its ability to recover after a disturbance (e.g. grazing reduces vegetation density which reduces the stability of soil during heavy rains).
- Economic, administrative and social factors that enable land users to implement sustainable land management may vary in the future and drastically modify the resilience of the land management system.
It would not be cost-effective to identify solutions to increase the resilience to external disturbances, only to have the benefits undermined by slow changes in the environment or by changes in the socio-economic system that could prevent the implementation. Moreover, the resilience to external shocks could be deeply modified by the factors analyzed in this section: urbanization as well as over abstraction of water increase the impacts of droughts or intense rainfall, while a drop in subsidies could prevent land users from restoring their land after a fire.
This type of information is very difficult to find through scientific sources, and in most cases has to be asked to experts or stakeholders. Thus we have limited the forecasting of future trends to the next 10 years, as the level of uncertainty for any further forecasting is very high.
Section 3 of the RAT is dedicated to capturing the evolution of the system through several questions:
- Question 3.1. "What pressures can have a negative impact on the system?” aims at capturing the pressure drivers that could bring the system to degradation or even a regime shift. First the experts value the importance of each pressure factor today, and then they estimate the evolution in the next 10 years (possible choices are “Increasing”, “Stable” or “Decreasing”).
- Question 3.2: “What external factors enable land management?” is directed to investigate those factors that allow or favor sustainable land management practices to be implemented in the land management system (e.g. subsidies, infrastructure).
- Question 3.3: “How do you foresee the evolution of the land management system in the next 10 years?” is dedicated to the “internal” evolution of the system in terms of provision of ecosystem services, and of “Effectiveness of management”. This allows to integrate the fact that land management practices are found at different levels of implementation, and their effectiveness (especially for the land management practices that rely on vegetation) might vary depending on the state of development (e.g. newly planted trees have a limited beneficial impact, but in 10 years will be fully grown).
Furthermore, two open questions allow better understanding what could be done to prevent degradation and further enhance the benefits provided by the land management system. In answering all these questions, experts were asked not to take into account external disturbances and shocks.
1. Internal evolution of the land management systems, most important external factors and future trends
Table 1 shows the aggregated results of the application of Section 3 of the RAT in the CASCADE study sites. The second and third columns are related with Question 3.3, while the last two show the dominant trends of external pressure (Question 3.1) and enabling factor (Question 3.2) indicators weighted on their importance following the formula presented in »Design of the Resilience Assessment Tool.
Table 1: Evolution of ecosystem service provision, management effectiveness and external factors in the next 10 years
|Study site||Provision of services/functions||Effectiveness of management||Combined trend of pressures||Combined trend of enabling factors|
|Ita_1 (Castel Saraceno)||(-)||(=)||Stable||Stable|
Information in column 4 and 5 is based on the sum of the importance values assigned to “increasing”, “stable” and “decreasing” indicators. Color legend: (Green) = Positive evolution (Yellow) = Stable (Red) = Negative evolution Variables considered are 33a, 33b, 33c, 33d, 31, 32, 31a-31s, 32a-32s c.f. »Resilience Assessment Tool
While most of the management systems were considered degraded in the evaluation through the Environmental Perception Questionnaire, the provision of ecosystem services is forecasted to increase in the next 10 years in almost all study sites. One exception being Spa_3, where the vegetation has already reached a stable state after the implementation of the land management practice, thus provision of ecosystem services is not expected to increase. Benefits provided by land management practices are forecasted to remain stable in almost all the land management systems. The two exceptions are Spa_3, where maintenance of the land management practice is not performed, and thus benefits are expected to diminish. For Gre_1, where the most relevant management practice involves planting of Carob trees, the benefits (both productive and ecological) are expected to increase with the size of the trees. For what concerns pressure factors, the Portuguese land management systems forecast an increase in pressure mainly due to the impact of logging activities on soil. In Spa_1 pressures is also thought to be increasing due to urbanization. External factors vary among the different study sites, and only in Ita_1 are expected to remain stable overall.
Table 2 shows the most important external pressures and enabling factors, together with their trends as assessed in each land management system Overall the most frequently considered external pressure that could degrade the system is “Deforestation / removal of natural vegetation” (all the study sites except Ita_1). This indicator includes both grazing and fire, thus is relevant in all the study sites that are degrading or affected by desertification.
Table 2: The three most important external pressures and enabling factors per study site
and their evolution in the next 10 years (in order of importance)
|Study site||Most important external pressures with future trends||Most important enabling factors for land management with future trends|
|Ita_1 (Castel Saraceno)||
Legend: (-) Decreasing enabling factor or external pressure; (=) Stable; (+) Increasing enabling factor or external pressure. Variables considered are 33a, 33b, 33c, 33d, 31, 32, 31a-31s, 32a-32s c.f. »Resilience Assessment Tool
Among the enabling factors “Laws and regulations prescribing land management” is by far the most common, and is forecasted to remain stable in all the study sites except Spa_3 (increasing). This shows the importance of national and regional policies and the impact they have on the land. Moreover, it is interesting to see that subsidies, both directed towards the implementation of land management practices (“Subsidies for land management or nature conservation”) and towards a land use activity (“Subsidies for land use activity (agriculture, farming, tourism and others)”) are considered to have an important impact on land management systems. Moreover, they are forecasted to remain stable or to decrease. Nevertheless “Market prices of goods produced from the land” is also considered an important enabling factor, showing how the link between productivity and sustainable land management is still very important. Land users in livestock management systems depend on the market prices of milk and cheese to invest in their land. Also in forest areas where the main land managers are government organizations, selling the wood after the logging (Por_1, Por_2) or fuel reduction management practices (Spa_1) allows to integrate the public funding for nature conservation and to increase the number of interventions.
Note: For full references to papers quoted in this article see