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Journal Article

Towards diverse agricultural land uses: socio-ecological implications of European agricultural pathways for a Swiss orchard region


Nishizawa,  Takamasa
External Organizations;

Kay,  Sonja
External Organizations;

Schuler,  Johannes
External Organizations;

Klein,  Noëlle
External Organizations;


Conradt,  Tobias
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Mielewczik,  Michael
External Organizations;

Herzog,  Felix
External Organizations;

Aurbacher,  Joachim
External Organizations;

Zander,  Peter
External Organizations;

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Nishizawa, T., Kay, S., Schuler, J., Klein, N., Conradt, T., Mielewczik, M., Herzog, F., Aurbacher, J., Zander, P. (2023): Towards diverse agricultural land uses: socio-ecological implications of European agricultural pathways for a Swiss orchard region. - Regional Environmental Change, 23, 97.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28888
Diverse agricultural land uses are a typical feature of multifunctional landscapes. The uncertain change in the drivers of global land use, such as climate, market and policy technology and demography, challenges the long-term management of agricultural diversification. As these global drivers also affect smaller scales, it is important to capture the traits of regionally specific farm activities to facilitate adaptation to change. By downscaling European shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) for agricultural and food systems, combined with representative concentration pathways (RCP) to regionally specific, alternative socioeconomic and climate scenarios, the present study explores the major impacts of the drivers of global land use on regional agriculture by simulating farm-level decisions and identifies the socio-ecological implications for promoting diverse agricultural landscapes in 2050. A hilly orchard region in northern Switzerland was chosen as a case study to represent the multifunctional nature of Swiss agriculture. Results show that the different regionalised pathways lead to contrasting impacts on orchard meadows, production levels and biodiversity. Increased financial support for ecological measures, adequate farm labour supplies for more labour-intensive farming and consumer preferences that favour local farm produce can offset the negative impacts of climate change and commodity prices and contribute to agricultural diversification and farmland biodiversity. However, these conditions also caused a significant decline in farm production levels. This study suggests that considering a broader set of land use drivers beyond direct payments, while acknowledging potential trade-offs and diverse impacts across different farm types, is required to effectively manage and sustain diversified agricultural landscapes in the long run.