Project

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EnvironMental policies for Ecological infrastructures in ruRAL lanDscapes (EMERALD)

English title Environmental policies for ecological infrastructures in rural landscapes
Applicant Zabel von Felten Astrid
Number 192534
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Centre for Development and Environment Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Economics
Start/End 01.01.2021 - 31.12.2023
Approved amount 208'418.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Economics
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Environmental Research

Keywords (8)

Collective action; Ecological infrastructure; Biodiversity conservation; Environmental policy; Agglomeration payments; Collective contracts; Conservation tenders; Ökologische Infrastruktur

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Rund ein Drittel der Pflanzen-, Tier- und Pilzarten der Schweiz sind derzeit bedroht. Der Bundesrat verabschiedete 2017 den Aktionsplan Strategie Biodiversität Schweiz, der unter anderem den Aufbau einer ökologischen Infrastruktur zur räumlichen Vernetzung bestehender Schutzgebiete vorsieht und die Schaffung weiterer Waldreservate fordert. Dieser Aktionsplan enthält jedoch wenig Vorgaben für die Umsetzung, insbesondere wie die angestrebte Vernetzung über Eigentumsgrenzen hinweg koordiniert werden soll.
Lay summary

Ziel dieses Projekts ist es, aus Erfahrungen mit bestehenden Agrarumwelt- bzw. Waldumwelt-Programmen Lehren zu ziehen, die auf den Kontext der Schaffung einer ökologischen Infrastruktur übertragen werden können. Dazu werden im Kanton Bern drei bestehende Programme untersucht, die eine Zusammenarbeit zwischen Landwirten bzw. Waldeigentümern entweder erfordern oder ermöglichen. Zentrale Forschungsfragen sind (i) inwieweit die unter den drei Programmen angemeldeten Flächen bereits eine ökologische Infrastruktur bilden und geschützte Gebiete miteinander verbinden, (ii) ob die angemeldeten Flächen programmspezifische räumliche Muster bilden und (iii) welche Faktoren die räumliche Verteilung der angemeldeten Flächen erklären. 

Die Projektergebnisse und die daraus abgeleiteten Empfehlungen sollen politischen Entscheidungsträgern in der Schweiz und im Ausland dabei helfen, Instrumente zu entwickeln, die die freiwillige Zusammenarbeit bei der Einrichtung ökologischer Infrastrukturen fördern.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.01.2021

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Project partner

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
172388 Analyzing TRade-offs in forests between sustainable Economy and Environmental objectives (ATREE) 01.03.2018 NRP 73 Sustainable Economy

Abstract

Roughly a third of Switzerland’s plant, animal and fungus species are currently threatened. In the densely populated Central Plateau region with intensive agriculture, plant species associated to cropland are at risk and forests contain comparatively low amounts of deadwood, thus providing little habitat for saproxylic organisms. In 2017, a national Action Plan for Biodiversity was approved by the Federal Council of Switzerland that, inter alia, stipulates the establishment of an ecological infrastructure to create a spatial network linking existing protected areas and calls for the creation of more forest reserves. However, the Action Plan does not provide detailed policy guidance. Yet, attaining the goals will require conservation and coordination across landscapes, often involving collaboration between various landowners. This project sets out to investigate three voluntary programs implemented in Switzerland that either require or allow for collaboration between land managers. These are (i) collective contracts for which collaboration between land managers is a prerequisite for enrollment, (ii) agglomeration payments that reward spatial coordination of conservation sites between neighbors and (iii) conservation tenders where selection in various ways can depend on neighbors. The project’s overall objective is to develop a sound understanding of macro-level and farm-level factors driving the policies’ effectiveness in establishing a contiguous network of conservation areas. Building on empirical research in the Canton of Bern, this project will investigate to what extent land enrolled under the three programs already forms an ecological infrastructure and connects protected sites, whether the enrolled areas form program-specific spatial patterns, and which macro-level factors explain the spatial allocation of the conservation areas. At the farm-level, the project will investigate which factors impact land managers’ decisions whether to enroll in the programs and what role the transaction costs arising from collaboration needs play in these decisions. The proposed project has 5 specific objectives (SO): 1.Define an indicator that measures how the programs’ conservation areas connect protected sites. 2.Apply the indicator to spatial data on conservation areas in the Canton of Bern to identify ecological infrastructure patterns (and the lack thereof) between protected areas.3.At a macro-level, assess which factors explain centrality measures of the conservation sites.4.At the farm-level, analyze which factors, in particular transaction costs related to collaboration and coordination, impact land managers’ participation decisions for the three programs. 5.Synthesize the findings to develop recommendations for future policy reforms in support of ecological infrastructure development.The indicator for SO1 will be developed based on a structured literature review and stakeholder feedback. GIS analysis and graph theory will supply the information for SO2 and SO3 will be achieved through econometric analyses. The investigation of SO3 will build on existing data sets and the analysis for SO4 will build on survey data that will be collected among participating and non-participating land managers in the Canton of Bern. The project findings and recommendations derived (SO5) are expected to help policy makers in Switzerland and abroad design instruments that enhance voluntary collaboration for ecological infrastructure establishment.
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