Assessing the impact of grassland management on landscape multifunctionality

M. Neyret*, M. Fischer, E. Allan, N. Hölzel, V.H. Klaus, T. Kleinebecker, J. Krauss, G. Le Provost, S. Peter, N. Schenk, N.K. Simons, F. van der Plas, J. Binkenstein, C. Börschig, K. Jung, D. Prati, D. Schäfer, M. Schäfer, I. Schöning, M. SchrumpfM. Tschapka, C. Westphal, P. Manning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Land-use intensification has contrasting effects on different ecosystem services, often leading to land-use conflicts. While multiple studies have demonstrated how landscape-scale strategies can minimise the trade-off between agricultural production and biodiversity conservation, little is known about which land-use strategies maximise the landscape-level supply of multiple ecosystem services (landscape multifunctionality), a common goal of stakeholder communities. We combine comprehensive data collected from 150 German grassland sites with a simulation approach to identify landscape compositions, with differing proportions of low-, medium-, and high-intensity grasslands, that minimise trade-offs between the six main grassland ecosystem services prioritised by local stakeholders: biodiversity conservation, aesthetic value, productivity, carbon storage, foraging, and regional identity. Results are made accessible through an online tool that provides information on which compositions best meet any combination of user-defined priorities ( Results show that an optimal landscape composition can be identified for any pattern of ecosystem service priorities. However, multifunctionality was similar and low for all landscape compositions in cases where there are strong trade-offs between services (e.g. aesthetic value and fodder production), where many services were prioritised, and where drivers other than land use played an important role. We also found that if moderate service levels are deemed acceptable, then strategies in which both high and low intensity grasslands are present can deliver landscape multifunctionality. The tool presented can aid informed decision-making by predicting the impact of future changes in landscape composition, and by allowing for the relative roles of stakeholder priorities and biophysical trade-offs to be understood by scientists and practitioners alike.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101366
JournalEcosystem Services
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Ecosystem services
  • Grasslands
  • Land management
  • Land use
  • Multifunctionality
  • Simulation modelling


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