Changing landscapes

Climate change impacts on ecosystem-based production (SR3)

 

The Carpathians are characterized by a huge surface and wide variety of traditionally managed, multifunctional landscapes. Such landscapes are often dominated by pastoralism and are therefore principally comprised of grasslands and pastures whose detailed ecological structure is typified by the 'green-veining' of hedges, woodland, forests and watercourses. Such landscapes have strong cultural associations, provide a wide range of ecosystem services (e.g. medicinal herbs, pollinating insects, sociocultural associations, domestic animals including traditional breeds) and associated economic benefits, and are rich in wildlife and biodiversity.

However these landscapes and grasslands are under serious pressure. Land abandonment and changing land use (e.g. forestry and agricultural intensification) are some of the key pressures. On top of that climate change induced meteorological changes will create additional pressures. Grasslands in the Carpathians are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Active management is often the only option for preserving grasslands under normal circumstances. In the context of changing climate conditions it is possible that such management regimes will have to be adjusted. A clear insight in the positive and negative trends in goods and services delivery that can be expected due to these pressures aggravated by climate change, might increase our insights in how to adjust grassland management regimes.

Changing climatic conditions can have a significant impact on the tourism sector of countries in the Carpathian region in the medium- and long-term. Especially for winter tourism, as new ski resorts are being constructed while at the same time it is likely that globally natural snow cover decreases especially at the beginning and end of the ski season. At the same time, thanks to the increase in temperature, the summer tourist season will be longer and distribution of tourist visits will be more even. The Carpathian region may also receive tourists from regions negatively impacted by the temperature decrease, such as the Mediterranean.

 

General objectives

  • To identify the ecosystem services generated by these multifunctional landscapes and grasslands and
  • To examine the responses in ecosystem services to the changes described above in relation to climate change.
  • To provide a cost benefit analysis of the positive and negative trends in goods and services delivery, that would support decision-making in relation to adaptation actions by policy-makers at all relevant levels.
  • To assess the vulnerability of the tourism sector to climate change; both negative and positive effects, depending on e.g. the adaptive capacity of resorts, will be investigated in this study.
  • To apply the methodology on 2 focal areas, i.e. Bükk (Hungary) and Tatra (Slovakia); this will be realised in close cooperation with SR6.

 

Contact person: Johann Lammerant, e-mail: j.lammerant@arcadisbelgium.be