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Joern Fischer land sparing land sharing BES AAB Dec 2013
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Joern Fischer land sparing land sharing BES AAB Dec 2013

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A presentation summarising a paper that, at the time, was in press with Conservation Letters.

A presentation summarising a paper that, at the time, was in press with Conservation Letters.

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    • 1. Food ? Biodiversity Land sparing versus land sharing: moving forward Joern Fischer, David J. Abson, Van Butsic, M. Jahi Chappell, Johan Ekroos, Jan Hanspach, Tobias Kuemmerle, Henrik G. Smith, Henrik von Wehrden Email: jfischer@leuphana.de Blog: http://ideas4sustainability.wordpress.com/ Twitter: @ideas4sust
    • 2. A lively debate How to address the nexus of food and biodiversity? How to foster agricultural sustainability? Land sparing versus sharing: Many opinions, responses and discussions (Responses include: Chappell et al. 2009, Fischer et al. 2011; Hayashi 2011; Phalan et al. 2012; Wright et al. 2012; Scariot 2013) Debate is part of science But not all debate is productive (SLOSS, corridors)
    • 3. First things first … The gradient is fundamentally useful Fostering discussion on how to address the nexus of agriculture, food and biodiversity conservation is very important Fischer et al. 2008, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
    • 4. A quote from years ago … appropriate policy action will depend upon a range of historical and socioeconomic factors. It will also differ between landscapes with a long history of agriculture and “frontier landscapes” undergoing rapid land conversion. … Rather than seeing wildlife-friendly farming and land sparing as mutually exclusive options for land management, it should be recognized that both offer different, and sometimes complementary advantages. Fischer et al. 2008. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
    • 5. Five points of friction 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The focus on food The benefits and limitations of trade-off analysis The measurement of biodiversity Scale issues Framing problems My hypothesis: Through understanding these points of friction, unproductive debate can be avoided – and we can instead focus on moving forward Image source: http://www.mikecurtis.org.uk/images/friction.jpg
    • 6. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems The focus on food Many of the most influential papers have focused on “food” This focus is of interest to at least three bodies of scholarship, namely on: Food production Food security Food sovereignty Image source: http://www.interpares.ca/photos/globeapple.gif
    • 7. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Food production Dominant discourse: “Too many people, too little food” Traditionally, though not by necessity, focusing on: Technology-based productivity increases Specialized landscapes (e.g. monocultures) Distribution handled by markets/“trickled down” Image source: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/energy/?cid=nrcs143_023632
    • 8. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Food security More food production does not automatically lead to better food security Access issues are typically more important “… starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there not being enough food to eat. While the latter can be a cause of the former, it is but one of many possible causes” (Sen 1981) Barrett 2010, Science
    • 9. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Food sovereignty Food sovereignty describes “the rights of local peoples to determine their own agricultural and food policy, organize production and consumption to meet local needs, and secure access to land, water, and seed” (Wittman 2010) Explicitly normative framing, rather than (just) an analytical frame
    • 10. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems
    • 11. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Examples of a critique rooted in the focus on “food” “In a world where obesity and hunger co-occur, it seems beside the point to argue about yield increases” (Chappell and LaValle 2011) http://www.pthbb.org/natural/footprint/img/cartogram.gif
    • 12. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems What in this context is “sustainable intensification”? Loos et al., in revision – (hopefully) Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
    • 13. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems What in this context is “sustainable intensification”? Hanspach et al. 2013, Science; Loos et al., in revision
    • 14. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems The focus on food: solutions Food indicates an interest in “feeding” someone Looking at food without actively engaging with food security (or sovereignty) is open to criticism Solution: Frame sparing/ sharing work around the notion of “land scarcity” Some of the land use science community is already doing this; but many scientists single out “food” to promote their work
    • 15. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Trade-off analysis One can assess whether it is possible to produce more of good A while producing the same amount of good B E.g. can we produce the same agricultural yield , but protect more biodiversity? Image source: http://ecodrift.blogspot.de/
    • 16. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Trade-off analysis
    • 17. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Trade-off analysis But how do we know how much we ought to produce? Perhaps it would be better to produce less (rather than the same or more) in some landscapes? Without knowing societal preferences, it is possible to identify efficient and inefficient bundles, but not which of these is “best” Problems: There are more than two goods in a landscape Societal preferences are typically unknown Solution: Recognise the analytical value of trade-off analysis, but also its limitations in guiding real-world decisions
    • 18. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Measuring biodiversity The diversity of genes, species and ecosystems, and their interactions Source: http://www.life.illinois.edu/ib/335/images/piechart.large.jpg
    • 19. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Measuring biodiversity Which biodiversity to prioritise? Presence, abundance, population viability? What are the consequences for sharing versus sparing?
    • 20. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Measuring biodiversity Which biodiversity to prioritise? Presence, abundance, population viability? What are the consequences for sharing versus sparing? Artwork by Jan Hanspach
    • 21. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Measuring biodiversity The solution: Recognise there is no objective measurement Value judgments are inevitable They can be made explicit, but they cannot be avoided (more on framing issues later)
    • 22. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Scale issues Grain: the resolution of land covers Extent: the spatial area considered in total Most people associated “sparing” with coarse grain and large extent Fischer et al. 2008, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
    • 23. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Scale issues: grain and extent What is to be spared? The forest? The pasture? But note the pasture is shared with sheep! Scale-dependent and dependent on which species is considered
    • 24. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Scale issues: teleconnections http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol18/iss2/art26/figure3.html
    • 25. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Scale issues The problems: Grain, extent, teleconnections, time (e.g. extinction debts) The solution: No simple solution – a major research frontier. But certainly scale issues are critically important and cannot be ignored. Fischer et al. 2008, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
    • 26. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Framing problems In an effort to be “objective”, many natural scientists fall into the trap of logical positivism Definition: A philosophy asserting the primacy of observation in assessing the truth of statements of fact and holding that metaphysical and subjective arguments not based on observable data are meaningless. (www.thefreedictionary.com) How we frame problems changes how we solve them The trade-off between wild nature versus food The synergies of farmland biodiversity with ecosystem services Fostering production with minimal harm to biodiversity Fostering food security by harnessing biodiversity …
    • 27. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Framing problems Taken from John Vandermeer’s blog site http://johnvandermeer.blogspot.de/2011/09/ideology-and-landsparing-versus.html
    • 28. The focus on food – Trade-off analysis – Measuring biodiversity – Scale issues – Framing problems Framing problems Worldview Preferred analytical frame Solution: Ideological positions cannot be avoided, but such positions should be openly discussed, rather than hidden behind an untouchable veil of (unattainable) “objectivity”
    • 29. Ways forward We recommend that: 1. Analyses be re-focused around land scarcity rather than the controversial issue of “food”; 2. Analysts recognise that solutions to trade-off analyses are intellectually interesting but cannot provide a blueprint for action; 3. Scale issues be made explicit in relevant analyses. Those still unsatisfied should develop and use alternative ways to analyse the nexus of agriculture – food – biodiversity For one alternative, see Chappell et al. on Food Sovereignty (http://f1000research.com/articles/2-235/v1)
    • 30. Another potential alternative • Biodiversity In a food/biodiversity context: Are there social-ecological system properties that benefit at the same time food security and biodiversity? Social-Ecological System Properties • • • • • • • • Capital assets (social, human, financia l, physical, natural) Socioeconomic and ethnic composition Crop diversity Role of women Agrochemical inputs Native vegetation prevalence and size of “spared” areas Field sizes Foreign ownership Imports and exports … and others! Food Security Consider Ostrom’s question: Are there social-ecological system properties that benefit sustainable management of the commons?
    • 31. Guiding principles for what to do in practice Maintain large patches Maintain a diverse matrix Buffer sensitive areas Create connectivity Maintain major gradients Maintain key species Use appropriate disturbance regimes Control unwanted species Minimise specific threats Specifically target species of concern Continual learning and adaptive management Common concern entry point Multiple scales Multifunctionality Multiple stakeholders Negotiated and transparent change logic Clear rights and responsibilities Participatory monitoring Resilience Stakeholder capacity building Fischer et al. 2006, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment; Sayer et al. 2013, PNAS
    • 32. Conclusion The sparing/sharing framework has coincided with a suite of other shifts: From a value-driven environmental movement to focusing almost exclusively on quantitative evidence From local data and intuition to simple, general models From questioning excessive demand to “needing to meet” demand By and large, we no longer dare to challenge the paradigms underpinning un-sustainability Will this new approach really achieve more?
    • 33. Acknowledgements The full paper on this talk is in press with Conservation Letters. Thanks for funding to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and as of 2014 the European Research Council. Thanks to all colleagues who have engaged in debate on this issue. “… starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there not being enough food to eat. While the latter can be a cause of the former, it is but one of many possible causes” (Sen 1981) Image source: http://claudioesilvia.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/sen1.jpg

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