Ecosystem Services in Energy Crop Production - A Concept for Regulatory Measures in Spatial Planning?
Land management faces huge challenges to fulfill increasing demands for limited natural resources and to safeguard sustainable land use. The CBD stresses the necessity to minimize land use conflicts and to improve the management of landscapes. Therefore favourable strategies and methods have to be developed.
According to European and German energy policies, the proportion of renewable resources for energy is to be increased significantly in the coming years. The extended cultivation of energy crops can lead to conflicts, e.g. severe impacts on various ecosystem services based on groundwater, soils, biodiversity and the overall appearance of the landscape scenery. Energy crops compete in space with food production, and they have various ecological, economic and social effects. There is a need for suitable spatial planning instruments to regulate energy crop cultivation and to reduce the impact on ecosystems and landscapes.
As it includes all levels of sustainability with economic, ecological and social aspects, the concept of Ecosystem Services can be a stimulus and a suitable tool to find appropriate solutions. On the one hand, it will be shown that ecosystem services are suited to assess the consequences of energy crops. On the other hand, it is discussed whether and how regulatory measures and methods in spatial planning consider ecosystem services and if they contribute to govern land use management.