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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
Volume (Issue) 60(7)
Page(s) 1127 - 1152
Title of proceedings Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
DOI 10.1080/09640568.2016.1197828


Mountain landscapes are undergoing rapid land-use changes. Settlement expansion, the intensification of agricultural land-use practices, and farmland abandonment result in a decline of natural and semi-natural habitats and the related ecosystem services (ES). In this context, spatial planning has emerged as a key instrument for the management of ES provision. To better understand trade-offs and interactions between settlement growth and ES provision in a spatially explicit manner, we present a new modeling framework coupling an agent-based, agro-economic optimization model and a cellular-automata-based settlement growth model. The framework is applied in an inner alpine valley in the Valais, Switzerland, which experienced rapid settlement growth in recent years. Results demonstrate how the model framework allows support of local planning processes. Particularly cooperation among municipalities and an explicit consideration of ES can inform spatially explicit ES trade-off decisions under increasing demand for land. We conclude that better informed spatial planning processes support ES provision.