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Gerd Lupp, Juliane Albrecht, Marianne Darbi and Olaf Bastian

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.

Open access

Sebastian Bartel, Juliane Albrecht, Vladan Hruška, Kristyna Rybová and Andreas Ortner


Spatial planning axes are an important instrument of spatial planning to help connect urban areas and ensure the accessibility of rural areas and their development. The planning of such axes can steer population and traffic flows, decisions on the locations of economic developments as well as infrastructures such as cable networks. In this paper, current spatial planning axes and their continuity are analysed regarding their suitability to promote sustainable cross-border European development. Two neighbouring regions are investigated as examples, namely the Regional Planning Authority Oberes Elbtal/Osterzgebirge (Germany, Saxony) and the Ústí nad Labem Region (Czechia). The overarching research question is how transboundary spatial planning axes can be harmonised? This can be broken down into the following three sub-questions: (1) Which differences exist between the Saxon and Czech planning systems? (2) How is the need for harmonisation assessed by planning practitioners? (3) Which transboundary recommendations can be given from a scientific perspective? To answer these research questions, expert interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders from spatial planning authorities as well as scientific and political institutions.