The use of science-based tools for impact assessment has increasingly gained focus in addressing the complexity of interactions between environment, society, and economy. For integrated assessment of policies affecting land use, an analytical framework was developed. The aim of our work was to apply the analytical framework for specific scenario cases and in combination with quantitative and qualitative application methods. The analytical framework was tested for two cases involving the ex ante impact assessment of: (1) a European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) financial reform scenario employing a modeling approach and combined with a comprehensive indicator analysis and valuation; and (2) a regional bioenergy policy scenario, employing a fully participatory approach. The results showed that European land use in general is less sensitive to changes in the Common Agricultural Policy, but in the context of regions there can be significant impacts on the functions of land use. In general, the implementation of the analytical framework for impact assessment proved to be doable with both methods, i.e., with the quantitative modeling and with the qualitative participatory approach. A key advantage of using the system of linked quantitative models is that it makes possible the simultaneous consideration of all relevant sectors of the economy without abstaining from a great level of detail for sectors of particular interest. Other advantages lie in the incontestable character of the results. Based on neutral, existing data with a fixed set of settings and regions, an absolute comparability and reproducibility throughout Europe can be maintained. Analyzing the pros and cons of both approaches showed that they could be used complementarily rather than be seen as competing alternatives.
Complete list of authors of this article: Katharina Helming, Katharina Diehl, Tom Kuhlman, Torbjörn Jansson, Peter H. Verburg, Martha Bakker, Marta Perez-Soba, Laurence Jones, Pieter Johannes Verkerk, Paul Tabbush, Jake Breton Morris, Zuzana Drillet, John Farrington, Pierre LeMouël, Paul Zagame, Tomasz Stuczynski, Grzegorz Siebielec, Stefan Sieber, and Hubert Wiggering