An economic perspective on land use decisions in agricultural landscapes: Insights from the TEEB Germany Study

Christian Albert*, Christoph Schröter-Schlaack, Bernd Hansjürgens, Alexandra Dehnhardt, Ralf Döring, Hubert Job, Johann Köppel, Sebastian Krätzig, Bettina Matzdorf, Michaela Reutter, Stefan Schaltegger, Mathias Scholz, Marianna Siegmund-Schultze, Hubert Wiggering, Manuel Woltering, Christina von Haaren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Agricultural landscapes safeguard ecosystem services (ES) and biodiversity upon which human well-being depends. However, only a fraction of these services are generally considered in land management decisions, resulting in trade-offs and societally inefficient solutions. The TEEB Study (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) spearheaded the development of assessments of the economic significance of ES and biodiversity. Several national TEEB follow-ups have compiled case studies and derived targeted policy advice. By synthesizing insights from “Natural Capital Germany – TEEB DE” and focusing on rural areas, the objectives of this study were (i) to explore causes of the continued decline of ES and biodiversity, (ii) to introduce case studies exemplifying the economic significance of ES and biodiversity in land use decisions, and (iii) to synthesize key recommendations for policy, planning and management. Our findings indicate that the continued decrease of ES and biodiversity in Germany can be explained by implementation deficits within a well-established nature conservation system. Three case studies on grassland protection, the establishment of riverbank buffer zones and water-sensitive farming illustrate that an economic perspective can convey recognition of the values of ES and biodiversity. We conclude with suggestions for enhanced consideration, improved conservation and sustainable use of ES and biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalEcosystem Services
Volume25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

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