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Socioeconomic Assessment

Title of the subproject:
Socioeconomic Assessment of Land Management Strategies

Land use changes do not only have ecological, but also socioeconomic consequences. The subproject "Socioeconomic Assessment of Land Management Strategies" therefore assesses direct and indirect costs and benefits of land management options. This integrated assessment supports decision makers and stakeholders in comparing and deciding between alternative management strategies.

Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), Berlin


The aim of the present subproject is to evaluate changes within a complex set of ecosystem services from an overall economic welfare perspective. The ecologically and socially extended cost-benefit analysis complements modelling results from project module M with own calculations and surveys to incorporate additional benefit dimensions. In the political process, benefits of ecosystem services are often neglected or treated with lower priority compared to the costs of their preservation. This is often due to the only partly available market valuation and sometimes to the overall lack of use values at all (in the case of non-use values and option values). With a monetarisation of direct and indirect costs and benefits, a common dimension is created on which stakeholders can easily compare multiple dimensions of effects. Besides regional and national effects, also international developments and repercussions (such as climate change, world market price effects and world market induced land use changes) will be taken into account in close cooperation with the coordination project GLUES and the partners engaged in the modelling module M.

The extended cost-benefit analysis therefore is a valuable instrument to inform stakeholders about the effects of alternative management strategies. The analysis can point at overall welfare economically efficient solutions, but reveals also which social and regional groups of stakeholders would be affected and which conflicts may arise out of that situation.

Research approach and methods

The IÖW subproject "Socioeconomic Assessment of Land Management Strategies" investigates trade-offs and synergies between a carbon-optimised land management and other public demands. The supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services (among others: production of food, the preservation of biodiversity) are in the focus of the research. The detailed analysis of a broad rage of ecosystem services (following the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment 2003 systematisation) draws on state of the art valuation techniques and develops them further. By assessing alternative land management strategies, the socioeconomic consequences of climate change mitigation measures and the connected land use decisions are made transparent to stakeholders and political decision makers at regional and national levels. The results will contribute to the German and European process of reporting on "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity" (TEEB).

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