Policies and environmental footprint
|Main authors:||Luis Garrote, David Santillán, Ana Iglesias|
|iSQAPERiS Editor:||Jane Brandt|
|Source document:||Garrote L., Santillán D., Iglesias A. (2019) Report on the evaluation of scenarios of changed soil environmental footprint for a range of policy scenarios. iSQAPER Project Deliverable 7.4 64 pp|
In this section of iSQAPERiS we evaluate the soil environmental footprint for a range of policy scenarios using the model tools in Europe and China. The soil environmental footprint is defined by a combination of the soil quality indicators developed in »Effect of farming on soil quality and »Effect of management on soil quality. The scenarios developed in »Soil management scenarios are then applied to the upscaling model to evaluate changes in the soil quality indicators driven by changes in agricultural management practices. Changes in soil environmental footprint are quantified in terms of the effect of management practices on soil productivity, nutrients and biodiversity.
The specific objectives are:
- to design a framework to evaluate the effect of policy scenarios on soil quality indicators through the upscaling model;
- to apply the upscaling model to obtain projections of the changes in soil quality indicators bought by the implementation of policy scenarios; and
- to evaluate changes of soil environmental footprint resulting from changes in soil quality indicators.
Within the context of iSQAPER, the scenarios defined to evaluate changes in the soil environmental footprint are driven by changes in agricultural management practices. Regional changes in agricultural management practices are linked to the policy scenarios co-developed in a multi-actor framework. The scenarios are necessarily a simplification of the complex policy processes that influences farmer choices at the local and regional levels. Changes in soil environmental footprint are quantified in terms of their effects on soil organic carbon, productivity and biodiversity.
»Context within iSQAPER
The central actor in the analytical process is the farmer, who is managing a plot of land where a certain crop is grown under a typical farming system. This plot of land is subject to policy scenarios, determined by the combination of agro-environmental determinants at the regional level, defined within the targets of the Common Agricultural Policy, environmental policy, market conditions and socio-economic development. Functional relations to define the effect of agricultural management practices on ecosystem services are formulated in qualitative terms.
»Conceptual approach of the upscaling model
We then present the results of the application of the upscaling model to policy scenarios to obtain the spatial representation of soil quality indicators in order to evaluate soil environmental footprint. The policy scenarios evaluated are:
- Expected: The Expected scenario maintains the observed tendency in the implementation of beneficial agricultural management practices.
- Regional Targets: This scenario assumes the same rate of implementation of agricultural management practices, but considers that policy efforts are focused on areas where soil threats are more active and soil quality indicators are poorer. The emphasis, therefore, is place on targeting the regions that where the practices would be more beneficial.
- Towards 2050: This scenario assumes an intensification on the rate of implementation of agricultural management practices as a result of public policies.
Policy portfolios for each scenario include the selective implementation of certain combinations of management practices. The results for individual farming systems are grouped together to account for subgrid variability. The results for different agricultural management practices are combined to produce the effect of each policy scenario.
»Effect of scenarios on soil ecosystem services in Europe and China
Results of different soil quality indicators are then combined to produce descriptions of improvement of soil environmental footprint. Soil Environmental foot print scenarios are then analysed in terms of improvements with respect to the current situation.
»Analysis of soil environmental footprint
Our results show that the Expected scenario is not enough to make significant contributions towards improving the soil environmental footprint and the Towards 2050 scenario delivers important benefits. The Regional Targets scenario delivers important benefits in key challenging areas, where the effects improve greatly the soil environmental footprint.
The results of this analysis inform »Integrating promotion of soil quality and sustainable land management into policy.