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The Impact of Socio-Economic Land Use Decisions on the Provision of Ecosystem Services in Small Catchments


From 03/2009 to 03/2014

Principal Investigator: Thomas Koellner
Staff: Patrick Poppenborg
Grant: IRTG 1565 WP IV TERRECO - Complex Terrain and Ecological Heterogeneity - Evaluating ecosystem services in production versus water yield and water quality in mountainous landscapes

Abstract 2011: Human land-use activities induce substantial changes to the biophysical attributes of earth’s land cover, thereby modifying structures and functions of terrestrial ecosystems (Vitousek et al. 1997). Their present manner led to significant decreases in ecosystems’ functionalities, which entails major losses of goods and services for human needs on local scales (MA 2005). Furthermore, given ecosystems’ global importance for biogeochemical and energy fluxes, land use is a key driver of global change issues. It contributes considerably to climate change (Chase et al. 1999), loss of biodiversity (Sala et al. 2000), as well as soil degradation (Lambin et al. 2001). The project’s main goal is to model land-use decisions with respect to ecosystem services, which will provide a tool for optimizing landscape management applied to a case study region in South Korea. As land-use decision making is part of a multilayered human-environment system, the model will incorporate social, economic and ecological considerations of local actors.


Keywords: ecosystem services, land use decision-making, theory of planned behavior


project description in detail from 2011 TERRECO Science Conference GAP


For cooperation with Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung visit  http://www.hss.or.kr/A1188English.html


Do attitudes toward ecosystem services determine agricultural land use practices? An analysis of farmers’ decision-making in a South-Korean watershed

Abstract 2013: Land use practices directly influence the provision of ecosystem services from agrarian landscapes and are, thus, key factors for the development of environmental policy programs. One such program to mitigate the most prominent environmental issues induced by agricultural practices in Haean Catchment, South Korea, is the promotion of planting of perennial crops. Their permanent rooting should stabilize soils over the entire year, hence reducing soil loss as well as water pollution. This study analyzed farmers’ decision-making processes with respect to land use in Haean Catchment, based on the theory of planned behavior. Decisions with respect to cultivation of rice, annual or perennial crops were compared among farmers as a function of their attitudes toward the following ecosystem services: biomass production, prevention of soil erosion, improvement of water quality, and conservation of plants and animals. Furthermore, it was tested to what degree land use decisions are influenced by the factors availability of investment funds, skills and knowledge, plot characteristics, and given legislation, as well as by social referents such as household members, fellow farmers, people living outside the watershed, and environmental protection agencies. Results show that decisions to plant perennial crops are most often accompanied by positive attitudes toward the ecosystem services biomass production, prevention of soil erosion and water quality improvement. At the same time, however, perennial crop farmers feel most restricted by money availability and required skills and knowledge. No differences were found with respect to social referents. In addition, latent class analysis reveals that positive attitudes toward ecosystem services are most likely held by farmers with high income, showing that financial means are key determinants of farmers’ environmental attitudes. Thus, policy makers aiming to foster the introduction of perennial crops should focus on providing farmers with the required skills and money by means of programs such as extension services as well as payments for ecosystem services.

Key words: ecosystem services, theory of planned behavior, land use decision-making, latent class analysis


Poster January 2013

last modified 2016-02-16