Human settlements, ranging from villages to metropolises, are at the core of many sustainability challenges. They are locations of economic growth and home to the vast majority of the global population. At the same time, settlements compete with food production and nature for the limited amount of land, and are increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts. As settlements are changing at unprecedented rates, there is now room to steer towards more sustainable trajectories. Land use models are important tools to explore future settlement change trajectories. However, current large-scale models only represent built-up land, and disregard different types of settlements. Therefore, they cannot analyze alternative settlement change trajectories or evaluate policies that aim to reduce potential negative impacts of these changes.
Grain legumes increase the resilience of cropping systems and farm businesses through diversification and enhance environmental and socio-economic sustainability by (a) reducing fertilizer and pesticide use, greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation and biodiversity loss, (b) increasing protein self-sufficiency, and (c) contributing to sustainable diets. Sustainable intensification, fully utilizing the potential of legumes, is key for enabling agricultural production when resources are limited and climate is changing.
The LandSense Citizen Observatory aims to aggregate innovative EO technologies, mobile devices, community-based environmental monitoring, data collection, interpretation and information delivery systems to empower communities to monitor and report on their environment. A number of key characteristics fundamental to the LandSense Citizen Observatory include:
- Bidirectional information flows between different communities (i.e. citizens, scientists, policymakers, industries, SMEs, NGOs, etc.);
- Involve new citizen functions in accumulating and using information;
- Support multi-scalar government from the EU level downwards;
- Complement EO (i.e. remotely sensed) data and state-organized data collection;
- Give communities access to easily-understandable information needed for decision-making.
A key component of the project is the LandSense Engagement Platform. Various communities will be able to actively participate within the LandSense engagement platform through a variety of interactive tools and functions to facilitate information transfer, assessment, valuation, uptake and exploitation of environmental data and results. The platform will offer collaborative mapping functionalities to allow citizens to view, analyze and share data collected from different campaigns and create their own maps, individually and collaboratively. In addition, citizens can participate in ongoing LandSense demonstration cases using their own devices (e.g. mobile phones and tablets), through interactive reporting and gaming applications, as well as launching their own campaigns.
Agriculture and forestry - together with food, materials, and energy – contribute to the production of a wide range of Public Goods. Public Goods are goods and services that are beneficial to the public and are thus highly desired by society but are often provided in a quantity lower than optimal. Examples of Public Goods are biodiversity, water quality and availability, soil fertility, climate stability, flood protection and outdoor recreation. In order to support the ‘smart’ provision of such Public Goods by the EU agriculture and forestry ecosystems, the PROVIDE project developed a renewed (‘un-packed’) conceptualization of the notion of Public Goods, an operational framework, a toolbox putting together an inventory of options, operational means for valuation and evaluation, and a selection of policy/sector mechanisms as well as a consolidated and long-lasting community of knowledge and practice.
PROVIDE addressed the issue in a multi-scale framework, working both at the EU level and at case study level in thirteen Countries of the EU.Project webpage: www.provide-project.eu
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a comprehensive set of targets for humanity, and progress towards each of the SDG is considered a positive development. Some SDG can be considered synergetic when progress towards one SDG yields additional benefits towards another SDG. However, in other cases progress towards one SDG might cause trade-offs by limiting the progress towards another SDG, which is not unlikely in a world of limited resources. In this project we will assess how and to what extent improvements towards food and nutrition security (SDG2) is associated with synergies and trade-offs with poverty reduction (SDG1), health (SDG3), climate change (SDG13), and biodiversity (SDG15). The main aim of this project is to analyse how and to what extent developments towards SDG2 (End hunger) in South-East Asia yields synergies and trade-offs with other SDGs, and how policy measures can improve the outcomes of such interaction. The geographical focus of this project is on Lao PDR and Myanmar, two developing countries in Southeast Asia where hunger is still prevalent in many locations.
Project website: sdgfood.environmentalgeography.nl
Envision (financed by BiodivERsA) aims at more inclusive approaches to protected area management that enhance the conservation and well-being values of protected areas and provide for multiple community and industry needs. This is operationalized by developing mixed-method, participatory scenario planning tools and processes for identifying, assessing and balancing multiple community and industry groups’ visions for the management of protected areas in Europe and the United States beyond 2020, including their consequences on human well-being and the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems services. We will use these results to make evidence-based recommendations to protected area managers operating at local, national and international scales in order to inform post-2020 biodiversity policy, particularly on protected areas management. Within the project IVM will address how land management impacts ecosystem services, biodiversity, and human well-being in different ways. Trade-offs have to be navigated carefully as win-wins are not necessarily available. However, how to navigate such trade-offs through land management is unclear. In the work package under responsibility of IVM we will not only discuss the visions of development of the area with stakeholders, but also use simulation models to quantify the impacts of these visions in terms of impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Stakeholder discussions will be informed by these simulation results to find the most optimal and acceptable ways to navigate the trade-offs or clarify why it is necessary to implement certain management decisions that implicitly embed trade-offs.
Land is a limited resource that is under pressure of demand from different sectors and affected by many of the global targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. While serving the global population, land management is decided upon by individual land owners and managers that pursue different objectives and have different means. The GLOLAND project (ERC Consolidator Grant to Peter Verburg) addressed land as a socio-ecological system and explicitly addressed the different actors and decision making mechanisms that are important to land use change. Insights in decision making and the variety of land systems were included in a land systems model that simulates changes between different land management systems including agricultural systems that range from shifting cultivation for subsistence needs to large-scale land acquisitions serving the global value chains. The land systems model CLUMondo was applied both on national and global scales. For the global scale the model allowed making an exploration of how land systems globally would look like if the agreed international targets that relate to land restoration and reforestation would be achieved. This simulation sheds insights in the trade-offs embedded in such targets and the possible pathways of achieving such global targets.
For more information contact Prof. Peter Verburg