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The food-water-land-ecosystems nexus in Europe: an integrated assessment

The food-water-land-ecosystems nexus in Europe: an integrated assessment
The food-water-land-ecosystems nexus in Europe: an integrated assessment
Climate and socio-economic change impacts interact in complex ways. These are likely to cross traditional sectoral and regional boundaries with cascading indirect and potentially far reaching repercussions. This is particularly important for the food-water-land-ecosystems (FWLE) nexus. A holistic understanding of these interactions is central for devising appropriate adaptation strategies. This thesis presents a systematic methodological framework that provides new insights into understanding key sensitivities and uncertainties of these possible cross-sectoral impacts for informing future adaptation policies. The research is based on: (1) appraisal of integrated assessment models (IAMs), and (2) investigation of the direct and indirect implications of a wide range of climate and socio-economic scenarios taking into account important cross-sectoral linkages and interactions between six key European land- and water-based sectors/sub-systems (agriculture, biodiversity, coasts, forests, urban, and water). This is achieved through (1) a review of existing integrated approaches and tools, and (2) assessment and extensive application of one European IAM – the CLIMSAVE* Integrated Assessment Platform (IAP). The IAP application uses a combined approach drawing on a systematic: (i) Sensitivity analysis based on a One-Driver-at-a-Time (ODAT) approach, (ii) Scenario and uncertainty analysis based on Multiple-Drivers-at-a-Time (MDAT) approach, and (iii) Robustness Assessment of Adaptation Policies (RAAP). The key outputs include: (i) new quantitative insights into the complex interactions of the FWLE nexus and associated synergies, conflicts and trade-offs in Europe, (ii) identifying key sensitivities and uncertainties of the potential cross-sectoral impacts and adaptation policies under various scenarios of future changes in climate as well as social, technological, economic, environmental, and policy governance settings, (iii) development of a new nexus-based conceptual framework for a long-term, multi- and cross-sectoral adaptation planning, and (iv) identification of potential areas of improvement of the IAP to inform development of the next generation of IAMs to assess the FWLE nexus.

The ODAT analysis demonstrates that while a large number of drivers (20 out of 25) affect most sectors/sub-systems either directly or indirectly, eight drivers are key parameters at the European scale, with important cross-sectoral implications (i.e., ‘strong’ and ‘non-linear’ impacts on more than one sector/sub-system). These include: four climatic (temperature, summer and winter precipitation, and CO2 concentration) and four socio-economic (population, GDP, food imports, and agricultural yields) factors. Considering a wide range of scenario combinations of these drivers (taking into account the ‘full’ and ‘plausible sample’ scenario ranges), the MDAT analysis demonstrates that: (i) food production is likely to be the main driver of Europe’s future landscape change dynamics (even without climate change), (ii) agriculture and land use allocation in general is often driven by complex interactions between various sectors/sub-systems, (iii) there are no clear trends/patterns in future food production under most climate scenarios, (iv) agricultural changes have significant cascading effects on other sectors/sub-systems such as forestry, biodiversity, and water and (v) there are consistent trends for biodiversity, water and flood impacts with regional variations. The results also demonstrate that the combined effects of socio-economic and climatic factors are not always additive, highlighting the complexity of understanding impacts across sectors/sub-systems and regions. As a result, adaptation policy choices are complicated and difficult, even without climate change. A better understanding of the critical trade-offs across sectors/sub-systems and regions under various adaptation options is required. Such systematic analysis provides important insights for decision-makers to devise robust adaptation policies that maximise benefits and minimise unintended consequences across sectors/sub-systems and scales.

*CLIMSAVE (Climate change integrated assessment methodology for cross-sectoral adaptation and vulnerability in Europe) is an FP7 project (2010–2013) funded by the European Commission. The CLIMSAVE IAP is an interactive exploratory web-based integrated landscape change assessment model that allows stakeholders to investigate climate and socio-economic change impacts, adaptation and vulnerabilities for six key sectors/sub-systems (agriculture, biodiversity, coasts, forests, urban areas and water resources) (Harrison et al. 2013; 2015a).
Kebede, Abiy
7370b5e9-5447-48bd-80e5-fe7b14e4a857
Kebede, Abiy
7370b5e9-5447-48bd-80e5-fe7b14e4a857
Nicholls, Robert
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076

(2016) The food-water-land-ecosystems nexus in Europe: an integrated assessment. University of Southampton, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, Doctoral Thesis, 387pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Climate and socio-economic change impacts interact in complex ways. These are likely to cross traditional sectoral and regional boundaries with cascading indirect and potentially far reaching repercussions. This is particularly important for the food-water-land-ecosystems (FWLE) nexus. A holistic understanding of these interactions is central for devising appropriate adaptation strategies. This thesis presents a systematic methodological framework that provides new insights into understanding key sensitivities and uncertainties of these possible cross-sectoral impacts for informing future adaptation policies. The research is based on: (1) appraisal of integrated assessment models (IAMs), and (2) investigation of the direct and indirect implications of a wide range of climate and socio-economic scenarios taking into account important cross-sectoral linkages and interactions between six key European land- and water-based sectors/sub-systems (agriculture, biodiversity, coasts, forests, urban, and water). This is achieved through (1) a review of existing integrated approaches and tools, and (2) assessment and extensive application of one European IAM – the CLIMSAVE* Integrated Assessment Platform (IAP). The IAP application uses a combined approach drawing on a systematic: (i) Sensitivity analysis based on a One-Driver-at-a-Time (ODAT) approach, (ii) Scenario and uncertainty analysis based on Multiple-Drivers-at-a-Time (MDAT) approach, and (iii) Robustness Assessment of Adaptation Policies (RAAP). The key outputs include: (i) new quantitative insights into the complex interactions of the FWLE nexus and associated synergies, conflicts and trade-offs in Europe, (ii) identifying key sensitivities and uncertainties of the potential cross-sectoral impacts and adaptation policies under various scenarios of future changes in climate as well as social, technological, economic, environmental, and policy governance settings, (iii) development of a new nexus-based conceptual framework for a long-term, multi- and cross-sectoral adaptation planning, and (iv) identification of potential areas of improvement of the IAP to inform development of the next generation of IAMs to assess the FWLE nexus.

The ODAT analysis demonstrates that while a large number of drivers (20 out of 25) affect most sectors/sub-systems either directly or indirectly, eight drivers are key parameters at the European scale, with important cross-sectoral implications (i.e., ‘strong’ and ‘non-linear’ impacts on more than one sector/sub-system). These include: four climatic (temperature, summer and winter precipitation, and CO2 concentration) and four socio-economic (population, GDP, food imports, and agricultural yields) factors. Considering a wide range of scenario combinations of these drivers (taking into account the ‘full’ and ‘plausible sample’ scenario ranges), the MDAT analysis demonstrates that: (i) food production is likely to be the main driver of Europe’s future landscape change dynamics (even without climate change), (ii) agriculture and land use allocation in general is often driven by complex interactions between various sectors/sub-systems, (iii) there are no clear trends/patterns in future food production under most climate scenarios, (iv) agricultural changes have significant cascading effects on other sectors/sub-systems such as forestry, biodiversity, and water and (v) there are consistent trends for biodiversity, water and flood impacts with regional variations. The results also demonstrate that the combined effects of socio-economic and climatic factors are not always additive, highlighting the complexity of understanding impacts across sectors/sub-systems and regions. As a result, adaptation policy choices are complicated and difficult, even without climate change. A better understanding of the critical trade-offs across sectors/sub-systems and regions under various adaptation options is required. Such systematic analysis provides important insights for decision-makers to devise robust adaptation policies that maximise benefits and minimise unintended consequences across sectors/sub-systems and scales.

*CLIMSAVE (Climate change integrated assessment methodology for cross-sectoral adaptation and vulnerability in Europe) is an FP7 project (2010–2013) funded by the European Commission. The CLIMSAVE IAP is an interactive exploratory web-based integrated landscape change assessment model that allows stakeholders to investigate climate and socio-economic change impacts, adaptation and vulnerabilities for six key sectors/sub-systems (agriculture, biodiversity, coasts, forests, urban areas and water resources) (Harrison et al. 2013; 2015a).

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More information

Published date: June 2016
Organisations: University of Southampton, Energy & Climate Change Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 397355
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397355
PURE UUID: 1612d744-69c3-4165-bb14-3652a2bd19d7
ORCID for Robert Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109

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Date deposited: 13 Jul 2016 14:10
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:44

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Contributors

Author: Abiy Kebede
Thesis advisor: Robert Nicholls ORCID iD

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