Economic and ecological trade-offs of agricultural specialization at different spatial scales

2016 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Economic and ecological trade-offs of agricultural specialization at different spatial scales​
Klasen, S. ; Meyer, K. M. ; Dislich, C. ; Euler, M. ; Faust, H. ; Gatto, M. & Hettig, E. et al.​ (2016) 
Ecological Economics122 pp. 111​-120​.​ DOI: 

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Klasen, Stephan ; Meyer, Katrin M. ; Dislich, Claudia ; Euler, M. ; Faust, Heiko ; Gatto, Marcel; Hettig, Elisabeth; Melati, Dian Nuraini ; Jaya, I. Nengah Surati; Otten, Fenna ; Pérez-Cruzado, César ; Steinebach, Stefanie ; Tarigan, Suria ; Wiegand, Kerstin 
Specialization in agricultural systems can lead to trade-offs between economic gains and ecosystem functions. We suggest and explore a conceptual framework in which economic gains can be maximized when production activities are specialized at increasingly broader scales (from the household to the village, region or above), particularly when markets for outputs and inputs function well. Conversely, more specialization likely reduces biodiversity and significantly limits ecosystem functions. When agricultural specialization increases and moves to broader scales as a result of improved infrastructure and markets or other drivers, ecosystem functions can also be endangered at broader spatial scales. Policies to improve agricultural incomes may influence the level of specialization at different scales and thus affect the severity of the trade-offs. This paper takes Jambi province in Indonesia, a current hotspot of rubber and oil palm monoculture, as a case study to illustrate these issues. We empirically show that the level of specialization differs across scales with higher specialization at household and village levels and higher diversification towards the province level. We discuss ways to resolve trade-offs between economic gains and ecological costs, including landscape design, targeted policies, and adoption of long-term perspectives.
Issue Date
Ecological Economics 
SFB 990: Ökologische und sozioökonomische Funktionen tropischer Tieflandregenwald-Transformationssysteme (Sumatra, Indonesien) 
SFB 990 | B | B05: Land use patterns in Jambi - quantification of structure, heterogeneity and changes of vegetation and land use as a basis for the explanation of ecological and socioeconomic functions 
SFB 990 | B | B10: Landschaftsbezogene Bewertung der ökologischen und sozioökonomischen Funktionen von Regenwald- Transformationssystemen in Sumatra (Indonesien) 
SFB 990 | C | C02: Soziale Transformationsprozesse und nachhaltige Ressourcennutzung im ländlichen Jambi 
SFB 990 | C | C03: Culture-Specific Human Interaction with Tropical Lowland Rainforests in Transformation in Jambi, Sumatra 
SFB 990 | C | C04: Mitigating trade-offs between economic and ecological functions and services through certification 
SFB 990 | C | C07: Einflussfaktoren von Landnutzungswandel und sozioökonomische Auswirkungen für ländliche Haushalte 
SFB 990 | C | C08: Design effektiver Politikinstrumente zur Förderung nachhaltiger Landnutzung 
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Büsgen-Institut ; Abteilung Ökosystemmodellierung ; Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Economies of Scale; Ecosystem Services; Indonesia; Monoculture; Oil Palm; Rubber; sfb990_journalarticles



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