Managing ecosystem services in low alpine cultural landscapes through livestock grazing
About the project
Current tree-lines are heavily depressed by land uses associated with traditional (agri-) cultural practices, but reduced intensity of land use and a warmer climate can interact to cause an advance of the tree-line. Sheep are by far the most important large herbivore in alpine and subalpine areas in southern Norway, acting as a driver of
multiple ecosystem services (ES) including provisioning services (meat, trees), regulating services (tree-line encroachment, carbon) cultural services (e.g. landscapes important to traditions, outdoor life), supporting services (clean water, soil productivity) as well as biodiversity. This project will build on a 10-year experimental case study at a landscape scale to assess the effects of alternative sheep densities on ES in alpine cultural landscapes, and identify stakeholder ES preferences. The project is organised into 5 interrelated WPs. The first two will assess effects of grazing and climate change on key ecosystem properties that are essential for the services provided: nutrient dynamics (WP1) and birch encroachment (WP2). Thirdly, the relationships between multiple ES for the Hol case study will be examined and an assessment of ES for alpine grazing landscapes carried out (WP3). The project will more specifically identify cultural services in alpine cultural landscapes in a separate WP (4). Fifth, we will identify stakeholders ES preferences based on this assessment in alpine cultural landscapes (WP5). With this approach our project will provide an evidente basis to promote a sustainable management of alpine cultural landscapes in a warmer climate as well as challenging different stakeholders to contribute to a tommon understanding of the management policy needed. Currently, clear management guidelines regarding livestock densities in alpine lands (including both protected and unprotected regions) do not exist, even though both high (overgrazing) and low (encroachment) are considered as threats to a range of ES.
Project Coordinator: Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, NTNU
This project is funded by The Research Council of Norway.
01.05.2012 - 30.06.2015