Model-based evaluation of land management strategies with regard to multiple ecosystem services

Nina Zarrineh, Karim C. Abbaspour, Ann van Griensven, Bernard Jeangros, Annelie Holzkämper

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17 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


In agroecosystem management, conflicts between various services such as food provision and nutrient regulation are common. This study examined the trade-offs between selected ecosystem services such as food provision, water quantity and quality, erosion and climate regulations in an agricultural catchment in Western Switzerland. The aim was to explore the existing land use conflicts by a shift in land use and management strategy following two stakeholder-defined scenarios based on either land sparing or land sharing concepts. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to build an agro-hydrologic model of the region, which was calibrated and validated based on daily river discharge, monthly nitrate and annual crop yield, considering uncertainties associated with land management set up and model parameterization. The results show that land sparing scenario has the highest agricultural benefit, while also the highest nitrate concentration and GHG emissions. The land sharing scenario improves water quality and climate regulation services and reduces food provision. The management changes considered in the two land use scenarios did not seem to reduce the conflict but only led to a shift in trade-offs. Water quantity and erosion regulation remain unaffected by the two scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3844
Number of pages21
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2018


  • Agriculture
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Land sharing
  • Land sparing
  • Model parameterization
  • Multifunctionality
  • SWAT model
  • Water quality
  • Water quantity


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