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Olaf Bastian, Gerd Lupp, Ralf-Uwe Syrbe and Reimund Steinhäußer

Abstract

The increased cultivation of energy crops has a variety of economic, social and environmental effects, which can be assessed using the concept of ecosystem services (ES). Among the various instruments for regulating energy crop cultivation, reducing the impacts on ecosystems and landscapes, and moving sustainable land management forward, the ES concept is a useful tool since it includes economic, ecological and social aspects. The methodological approach is exemplified by a case study in the district of Gorlitz, Germany. It started with an indicator-based analysis of the present state of landscape functions or services, focusing on the “supply” part of ES assessments. The results were interpreted in light of an ecological risk assessment concerning intensified agriculture in general and the increased cultivation of energy crops in particular: on the one hand for the present situation, and on the other, for three different future scenarios. It was possible to project the results onto reference units (biophysical units), and to reveal spatial differences in carrying capacity or sensibility as a result of increased energy crop cultivation. The demand side of ESs was assessed on the basis of semi-structured interviews and standardized questionnaires.

Open access

Lenka Slavíková, Ralf-Uwe Syrbe, Jan Slavík and Astrid Berens

Abstract

Recently, the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)s in environmental governance has been widely investigated, especially regarding the issue of mandatory public participation in policy-making within a European context. This paper aims to redirect scientific attention from their pure participation to their field actions, i.e., to the role they play in actual natural resource management, especially at the local level, and reframe local environmental NGO roles and positions based on the criteria for scale and influence. More specifically, this paper seeks to identify factors that promote NGOs as effective complements in the protection of state biodiversity and stresses local impacts of different governance schemes.

Determining factors were investigated through a series of in-depth case studies undertaken in the Czech-German border region of the eastern Krušné hory Mts. (Erzgebirge, Ore Mts.). Rather than a quantitatively oriented survey among NGOs, this study focused primarily on a specific territory and, subsequently, on the identification of relevant actor performance (including NGO representatives) within this territory. The method applied for comparison was the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IAD Framework). This design enabled a comparison of different social practices in the homogeneous ecosystem present on both sides of the border and captured the influence of specific social and historical cross-border features on environmental NGO performance.

Open access

Gerd Lupp, Olaf Bastian, Ralf-Uwe Syrbe and Reimund Steinhäußer

Abstract

Perceptions of energy crop production are assessed in this paper. The Görlitz district (Germany) serves as a case study area for this purpose. Semi-structured interviews with farmers and standardized surveys among lay persons were conducted. Many farmers perceive themselves being responsible for providing many ecosystem services. Farmers prefer a regional scale of energy crop cultivation based on conventional crops. Improved legal frameworks and incentives would safeguard equal competition and ecosystem services. Laypersons think that drinking water, food production, biodiversity and pollination are the most important ecosystem services of agricultural landscapes. Providing biomass for renewable energy production is not considered to be an important ecosystem service. Laypersons believe that biomass production should be restricted to fields that are not needed for food production, and the use of residues or landscape management materials. According to laypersons, more money should be spent to halt the decline of ecosystem services.