Thriving landscapes - an integrative policy and governance analysis of impact relationships and options for action at the land use and landscape level to conserve and restore biodiversity

FLORA (Phase I) is being applied for in order to establish an inter- and transdisciplinary consortium as well as a scientific and practical advisory board, which will work on the analysis and further development of policy instruments and governance options that contribute to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity in a follow-up phase to be applied for. The project relates to the topic “Policy instruments and approaches, as well as governance structures for the conservation, safeguarding and promotion of biodiversity” of the call. A special feature is the combination of representatives from research and practice in the field of spatial planning and land use (agriculture and forestry).

The aim is to derive synergistic combinations of policy instruments (legal & administrative regulations) and governance options with normative or financial influence on the type and intensity of land use (certification, labels, organic farming associations, support programs, and, where appropriate, non-governmental support measures).

The impact mechanisms of existing policy instruments and governance options from 1990 onwards will be investigated with regard to biodiversity. For this purpose, extensive data sets from monitoring programs, sectoral data sets (operational reports, forest inventory, test farm data), as well as complementary literature and statistical data, and expert as well as empirical knowledge, will be included. These data sets together with participatory developed scenarios of adaptation of policy and governance instruments will be integrated into a spatially explicit system model that allows estimating the efficiency and side effects of adaptation of environmental policies and governance.

The project is designed for 12 months, within which the consortium and the scientific and practical advisory board will be established. The Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Department of Sustainable Landscape Development, specialization in spatial, regional, and land use planning as well as modeling of socio-ecological systems and the SME CoKnow, specialization in social network analysis and facilitation of participatory processes, will work together in a transdisciplinary way.

Phase I will conduct an analysis of the main actors and their interactions and roles in the social network in order to pre-select policy instruments and governance options for Phase II that are relevant for a transformation of the actor structure in the field of spatial development and land use, in terms of positive effects for biodiversity conservation and restoration. This can provide a valuable basis for deriving adaptation options for existing policy instruments of spatial planning and development, as well as regulations that affect the sectors of agriculture and forestry (e.g. good practice / sound management as a prerequisite for receiving subsidies), the use of subsidies or even investments of non-state actors in measures of nature conservation and integrated land use, the role of associations and community activities with regard to norms and standards of environmentally sound land use and the corresponding role of (voluntarily acquired) certificates and (eco-) labels with regard to farm decisions.