The agricultural management of grasslands is strongly linked to fodder production and cattle farming, but also provides other valuable ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, nutrient regulation, and recreation. Purely economic driven decisions of farmers can lead to negative impacts on such services and underlying ecological processes. Concerning (sub-) alpine grasslands, projected above-average impacts of climate change places additional pressure on land use and ecosystem services. In order to further analyze the decision-making processes of farmers under climate change and to determine the relevance of grasslands in the area, the goal of the study is to gain a better understanding of the values that are associated with grassland ecosystem services by the various stakeholders involved.
Material and Methods
In order to identify the multiple values of different stakeholder groups, we conducted surveys and participatory mapping with farmers, citizens, and tourists. We also calculated the field-specific gross margins for two watersheds in Bavaria, Germany to compare these socio-cultural values with economic benefits for farmers.
The results partly reveal consensus concerning the values of the different stakeholders, but also show strong differences between ecosystem services. The resulting valuescape unfolds spatially-explicit hotspots and coldspots of perceived grassland ecosystem services.
As these outcomes provide valuable insights concerning the relevance of values for management decisions, the results will be integrated into an agent-based model of farmers’ decision-making for grassland management.