Sebastian Eiter

Research Scientist

(+47) 649 71 044
sebastian.eiter@nibio.no

Place
Ås R9

Visiting address
Raveien 9, 1430 Ås

Abstract

When ground level photography is to be used in landscape monitoring, it is important to record when, where, how and possibly even why the photographs are taken. Standardisation enables better repeat photography in the future and maximises comparability of photos over time. We used a Cultural Environment protected by law on the peninsula of Bygdøy,Oslo municipality, as a study area to document advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to the first round of landscape photography for long-term monitoring.

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This article aims to explore differences in motivation for and actual use of allotment gardens. Results from questionnaire surveys and semistructured interviews in two Norwegian and one Dutch garden show that growing vegetables and consuming the harvest is a fundamental part of gardening. The same is true for the social element—meeting and talking to other gardeners, and feeling as part of a community. Although gardeners with different socioeconomic backgrounds experience gardening to some extent similarly, access to an allotment seems more important for gardeners with disadvantaged personal backgrounds: both their diets and their social networks rely more on, and benefit more from, their allotments. This underlines the importance of providing easy access to gardening opportunities for all urban residents, and disadvantaged groups in particular. Public officers and policy makers should consider this when deciding upon new gardening sites or public investments in urban food gardens.

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Agricultural landscapes are products of farming activity in the past and present. They are everyday landscapes for many people and are important for outdoor recreation. Many plant and animal species find their habitat in these landscapes, and a high number of cultural heritage sites can also be found there. At the same time, agricultural landscapes are continuously subject to change. To ensure sufficient information on how these landscapes change, a national monitoring programme with the acronym “3Q” was initiated in 1998, to document status, continuity and change in agricultural landscapes in Norway. The Division of Survey and Statistics at NIBIO is responsible for the programme.

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In the city of Tromsø in northern Norway, invasive Tromsø palm (Norwegian: Tromsøpalme; English: Persian hogweed) is widespread. Although Tromsø palm has negative impacts on biodiversity and contains a phototoxic sap that burns human skin, it is also considered to be a local symbol of Tromsø city and is appreciated by many inhabitants. This study examined private landowners’ characteristics, perceptions, and landowners’ regulation of invasive Tromsø palm on their parcels on Tromsø Island in 2012 (vegetation season: May–September) to provide information concerning which landowner groups could be assisted by official regulation. Eleven key informants and 17 landowners were interviewed. Afterward, Tromsø palm on Tromsø Island was mapped using aerial photos and street-level photos from Google Maps®/Google Street View® and fieldwork verification. This distribution map was superimposed on a property map in a geographic information system to produce a map showing private parcels that contained Tromsø palm and associated neighboring parcels that did not contain Tromsø palm. Questionnaires were mailed to the 441 owners of the selected parcels, and 199 of the returned questionnaires were analyzed. Tromsø palm was more likely to be fully regulated/absent on a parcel that was inhabited (particularly if the owner lived on-site) and less likely to be fully regulated/absent if the parcel was jointly managed by several households. These findings indicate that authorities could focus their management efforts on supporting regulation efforts of those private landowners who own currently uninhabited or rented-out parcels and landowners of parcels jointly managed by several households. Furthermore, those landowners who found regulation measures against the plant on Tromsø Island important tended to have partly or fully regulated Tromsø palm on their plots. This might imply that information campaigns from authorities might encourage more landowners to regulate Tromsø palm.

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1.To evaluate progress on political biodiversity objectives, biodiversity monitoring provides information on whether intended results are being achieved. Despite scientific proof that monitoring and evaluation increase the (cost) efficiency of policy measures, cost estimates for monitoring schemes are seldom available, hampering their inclusion in policy programme budgets. 2.Empirical data collected from 12 case studies across Europe were used in a power analysis to estimate the number of farms that would need to be sampled per major farm type to detect changes in species richness over time for four taxa (vascular plants, earthworms, spiders and bees). A sampling design was developed to allocate spatially, across Europe, the farms that should be sampled. 3.Cost estimates are provided for nine monitoring scenarios with differing robustness for detecting temporal changes in species numbers. These cost estimates are compared with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget (2014–2020) to determine the budget allocation required for the proposed farmland biodiversity monitoring. 4.Results show that the bee indicator requires the highest number of farms to be sampled and the vascular plant indicator the lowest. The costs for the nine farmland biodiversity monitoring scenarios corresponded to 0·01%–0·74% of the total CAP budget and to 0·04%–2·48% of the CAP budget specifically allocated to environmental targets. 5.Synthesis and applications. The results of the cost scenarios demonstrate that, based on the taxa and methods used in this study, a Europe-wide farmland biodiversity monitoring scheme would require a modest share of the Common Agricultural Policy budget. The monitoring scenarios are flexible and can be adapted or complemented with alternate data collection options (e.g. at national scale or voluntary efforts), data mobilization, data integration or modelling efforts.

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Accessibility is a central issue for human activity, particularly in mountain areas. We investigate changes in physical accessibility in a Western Norwegian mountain area during the past 40–60 years and identify driving forces of changes. Changes in accessibility were measured as changes in travel time between permanently and seasonally inhabited farmsteads. Additionally, travel time from new access points in the mountains was calculated. C.75% of the investigated access routes to seasonal farmsteads have remained unchanged due to continued use or maintenance work, or been slightly improved due to development of paths into roads. In addition, new access routes have emerged as a result of road construction. Regrowth of paths due to abandonment of seasonal farming has reduced accessibility. Changes in accessibility have led to a concentration of activities in more easily accessibly parts of the study area. Documented changes in accessibility result from a complex interaction of driving forces that initiate or influence change. Important drivers interacting with road construction and abandonment of seasonal farming can be categorized as socio-economic, political and technological. However, the importance of culturally rooted commitment of local people or a small number of enthusiasts must not be underestimated.

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This report is a means to help establishing a common foundation through providing a brief summary of different themes of importance for scientists involved in the research project “Space, land and society: challenges and opportunities for production and innovation in agriculture based value chains” (AGRISPACE) funded by the Research Council of Norway. The overarching objective of AGRISPACE is to provide comprehensive knowledge on challenges and opportunities for sustainable growth in production and innovation in land-based bio-production across space.

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Public participation in landscape planning and management has received increased attention acrossEurope since the European Landscape Convention (ELC) came into force in 2004. The ELC has now beenratified by many countries, which have been working on its implementation for up to several years. In thisarticle, we study experiences from public participation in five different planning processes in Norway,and we assess the methods used according to a set of evaluation criteria developed in a European context:Scope, Representativeness, Timing, Comfort and Convenience, and Influence. Subsequently we identifyten singular methods as being particularly effective in terms of contributing significantly to increasingscores of Scope, Representativeness, and Comfort and convenience, i.e. the criteria most influenced by themethods chosen. All ten methods identified contribute to increase scores on one or two evaluation crite-ria, which underlines the importance of combining different methods to achieve effective participationwithin the restricted framework of a concrete spatial planning process. In an international perspectiveit seems most fruitful to apply a set of both dominantly verbal methods as practiced in Norway andsomewhat more visual approaches used in other countries. This would also acknowledge basic differ-ences among theoretical understandings of landscape and follow a recent scientific development of theconcept of landscape.

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This review identifies ‘successful’ policies for biodiversity, cultural heritage, and landscape scenery and recreation in Austria, France, Bavaria (Germany), Wales (UK), and Switzerland, and a comparison with current efforts in Norway. All of these countries face similar risks and challenges, mostly with regard to mountain areas. Sources used for the analysis were the evaluations of the national Rural Development Plans, and the midway evaluation and national ex-post evaluations of the CAP programme period 2000–2006. An evaluation of the Swiss Direct Payment System was available from 2009, as well as information about further development from 2011. Scientific papers and other official reports by, e.g., the OECD, the European Commission and the European Environmental Agency, were used as well. Expert interviews were conducted by telephone and e-mail. Measures deemed particularly successful often had very specific aims, included local information, appeared to involve fairly simple application and organization requirements, were developed and designed in cooperation with farmers and were adapted to local characteristics or challenges. Measures considered less successful were criticized for being unfair in terms of regional repartition of grants, for lacking transparency, for being applied only to small areas, and for requiring a great deal of organization and implementation work. In terms of future developments of the Norwegian agricultural and agri-environmental subsidy system we recommend examining the following particular policies more closely: the Organic Farming scheme in Austria, the Welsh whole-farm scheme Tir Gofal, and the Austrian, Bavarian and Swiss measures for cultural landscape maintenance. Since no ‘best practice’ or ‘standard design’ of agricultural support schemes has been recognized on an international level to date, an enhanced evaluation system will be as important as new and adjusted schemes. Monitoring data suitable for comparison should be collected, based on internationally defined indicators. For the time being, we suggest “double-tracked” agri-environmental support: mainly measures that have proved to be effective; but also measures where positive effects are considered very likely due to well-known cause-effect relationships, even though they may not yet have been thoroughly documented and approved, e.g. because of their long-term character or due to weaknesses in monitoring and evaluation.

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The involvement of the public in decision-making is established as a key feature of many planning policies. However, there is evidence from the literature of a prevailing gap between participation rhetoric on paper and participation at the operational level. We assess whether this is also the case with landscape policy and review landscape characterization and assessment initiatives in England, Norway, Slovakia and Malta, focusing on five dimensions of good practice: (i) scope of public participation, (ii) representativeness of those involved, (iii) timeliness of public involvement, (iv) extent to which participation is rendered comfortable and convenient for the public, and (v) eventual influence of public input on decisions. Reviewed reporting results indicate weaknesses in the implementation of public participation, with public involvement largely limited to consultation, with few efforts to ensure representativeness of participants, with predominantly late involvement of the public, and with limited influence of the public on outputs. Furthermore, few efforts appear to be made to facilitate participation for the public. Although the cases studied differ, none of them are fully satisfactory in relation to the European Landscape Convention's participatory targets. The reporting of public participation processes thus suggests that practices may fail to match the rhetoric.

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This article uses an activity-based understanding of landscape to explore values related to perceived land cover diversity. Perceptions within two user groups, members of landowner families and hiking tourists in a mountain area in western Norway, were related to a simultaneous land cover survey, and compared to experts' evaluations of land cover and to the aims of landscape protection in the area. Users perceived the area as being significantly more diverse and valuable than experts did, which stresses the importance of taking user perception into account in landscape protection and management. Some central landscape values were dependent upon land use outside the boundaries of the protected area. This illustrates that measures within structurally defined land units are not necessarily sufficient for maintenance of landscape values experienced by users. Land use in both respects, as an upholder of values and as a way of experiencing or perceiving them, should receive an increased role in the determination of management units.