Conservation of biodiversity can benefit agriculture through its provisioning of supporting
ecosystem services. It is therefore argued that ecological intensification - whereby farmers
implement measures to boost flows of ecosystem services - could be used to replace
environmentally damaging inputs and hence boost yields and incomes while simultaneously
reducing environmental degradation.
Evaluating the potential of ecological intensification to meet this challenge is however far
from straight-forward. Ecological-economic modelling can be used to investigate the complex
interactions between famers’ land-use decisions and impacts on ecosystem services. Further it
makes it possible to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different policy responses.
Here we develop an ecological-economic optimization that considers the impacts of farmers’
land-use decisions on flows of above- and below-ground ecosystem services, and the
concomitant impacts on production and incomes. Further the model has been calibrated to the
Liberation project’s seven, pan-European, case-study landscapes to reproduce observed
production decisions (land-use, crop areas and input use) in each landscape.
The main focus has been on developing and calibrating the optimization model for each
landscape to economic data while using preliminary parameter values for the ecosystemservice
production functions to generate some exploratory results. Hence the presented results
are purely exploratory.
In the next step we will link our models with the multiple production function developed in
WP 4 to validate our results and test their sensitivity to changing conditions.
Link to project homepage: http://www.fp7liberation.eu/home/publications