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Managing ecosystem services for agriculture:Will landscape-scale management pay?

  • Ronggang Cong
  • Henrik Smith
  • Ola Olsson
  • Mark Brady
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 53-62
Publication/Series: Ecological Economics
Volume: 99
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Agriculture's reliance on ecosystem services creates economic and ecological interdependencies between crop production and biodiversity. Interactions with mobile organisms are particularly complex because they depend on the spatial configuration of habitat at large scales. As such conserving habitat is likely to benefit multiple farmers whereas conservation costs are born individually, creating potential interdependencies among farmers. We explore under what conditions landscape-scale management of ecosystem services is likely to benefit farmers compared to managing them at the farm-scale. To do this we develop an agent-based model (ABM) to predict the landscape configuration emerging from farm-scale management under different conditions: initial landscape, crop and pollinator characteristics. As a benchmark, the landscape configuration from landscapescale management is derived through a global optimization procedure. Not only do we find that efficiency improves with landscape-scale management, but also that all farmers would benefit from it (given dependence of crop yields on ecosystem services). However, we also find that the individual incentives to avoid maintaining habitat on one's own land are relatively high; therefore creating conditions for a Prisoner's Dilemma-type problem. On the other hand we also demonstrate that an incentive-compatible contract exists that can promote efficient landscape management (by combining side-payments with fines for defection).


  • Ecology
  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
  • Agent-based model Ecosystem service Environmental policy Habitat conservation Pollination Landscape-scale management


  • BECC
  • ISSN: 0921-8009
Henrik Smith
E-mail: henrik [dot] smith [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 93 79

+46 70 978 20 56




Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC)

+46 46 222 93 79

+46 70 978 20 56


Sölvegatan 37, Lund


Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden