Wendy Fjellstad

Research Scientist

(+47) 974 81 279
wendy.fjellstad@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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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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Purpose Inclusion of biodiversity as an indicator in the land use impact pathway of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is essential to assess the effects of human activities on the environment. Numerous models have been applied, but validations that use actual data, collected in the field, are scarce. Methods The expert system SALCA-BD (Swiss Agricultural LCA—Biodiversity), assigns coefficients for land use class suitability and impact of agricultural practices on species diversity at field and farm scale. We used data on land use classes and agricultural practices from 132 farms located in eight European regions to complete the life cycle inventory. SALCA-BD species diversity scores were calculated for individual fields, aggregated to the farm scale, and compared to field records of arable crop flora, grassland flora, spiders, and wild bees. Results and discussion Overall, species diversity scores from SALCA-BD were positively related to the observed species richness from field survey data. The extent of the relationship diminished from arable crop flora and grassland flora to spiders and to wild bees, and from field to farm scale. Conclusions Validation of a LCA biodiversity assessment tool with data from field surveys revealed the benefit of considering multiple aspects of biodiversity. The appropriate scale for species diversity assessment (as a proxy for biodiversity) is the respective species habitat. Extension of scale increases uncertainty, which should be addressed by developing characterization factors for as detailed a land use classification as possible.

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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely used tool to assess environmental sustainability of products. The LCA should optimally cover the most important environmental impact categories such as climate change, eutrophication and biodiversity. However, impacts on biodiversity are seldom included in LCAs due to methodological limitations and lack of appropriate characterization factors. When assessing organic agricultural products the omission of biodiversity in LCA is problematic, because organic systems are characterized by higher species richness at field level compared to the conventional systems. Thus, there is a need for characterization factors to estimate land use impacts on biodiversity in life cycle assessment that are able to distinguish between organic and conventional agricultural land use that can be used to supplement and validate the few currently suggested characterization factors. Based on a unique dataset derived from field recording of plant species diversity in farmland across six European countries, the present study provides new midpoint occupation Characterization Factors (CF) expressing the Potentially Disappeared Fraction (PDF) to estimate land use impacts on biodiversity in the ‘Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forest’ biome in Europe. The method is based on calculation of plant species on randomly selected test sites in the biome and enables the calculation of characterization factors that are sensitive to particular types of management. While species richness differs between countries, the calculated CFs are able to distinguish between different land use types (pastures (monocotyledons or mixed), arable land and hedges) and management practices (organic or conventional production systems) across countries. The new occupation CFs can be used to supplement or validate the few current CF's and can be applied in LCAs of agricultural products to assess land use impacts on species richness in the ‘Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forest’ biome.

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The main objective of this work was to analyse how increased harvesting for bioenergy production might affect other Ecosystem Services (ES) in two Norwegian municipalities (Ringsaker and Voss). The aim was to identify locations where synergies or conflicts between ES could be expected. The spatial distribution of eight different ES (3 provision, 3 regulation and 2 cultural services) was modelled using information provided by land use spatial databases and additional data sources. Model parameters were set by integrating existing research and expert knowledge. Maps showing the level of provision of ES were analysed using a moving window to analyse scale dependence in the spatial distribution of ES provision. Map algebra was then used to identify areas providing multiple ES, thus defining the most important areas on which to focus the management of both synergies and trade-offs. Finally, specific ‘binary bundles’ maps, where bioenergy provision was compared with each of the other ES, were developed. The methodology proved its utility to assess the compatibility of bioenergy uses with other services. This straightforward approach is readily replicable in other regions and can be used as a decision support tool for planning and designing provision areas, and to ensure sustainable forest management approaches.

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Habitat descriptors are cost effective biodiversity indicators demanded by stakeholders and required for regional and global biodiversity monitoring. We mapped 195 farms of different types in twelve case study regions across Europe and tested 18 habitat descriptors for scientific validity, information content and ease of interpretation. We propose a core set consisting of (i) four descriptors to measure structural composition and configuration of farms (Habitat Richness, Habitat Diversity, Patch Size, and Linear Habitats), (ii) three descriptors addressing specific habitat types (Crop Richness, Shrub Habitats, and Tree Habitats) and (iii) one interpreted descriptor (Semi-Natural Habitats). As a set, the descriptors make it possible to evaluate the habitat status of a farm and to track changes occurring due to modified land use and/or management, including agri-environmental measures. The farm habitat maps can provide ground truth information for regional and global biodiversity monitoring.

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Increased forest biomass production for bioenergy will have various consequences for landscape scenery, depending on both the landscape features present and the character and intensity of the silvicultural and harvesting methods used. We review forest preference research carried out in Finland, Sweden and Norway, and discuss these findings in relation to bioenergy production in boreal forest ecosystems. Some production methods and related operations incur negative reactions among the public, e.g. stump harvesting, dense plantation, soil preparation, road construction, the use of non-native species, and partly also harvest of current non-productive forests. Positive visual effects of bioenergy production tend to be linked to harvesting methods such as tending, thinning, selective logging and residue harvesting that enhance both stand and landscape openness, and visual and physical accessibility. Relatively large differences in findings between studies underline the importance of local contextual knowledge about landscape values and how people use the particular landscape where different forms of bioenergy production will occur. This scientific knowledge may be used to formulate guiding principles for visual management of boreal forest bioenergy landscapes.

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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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For a quarter of a century, sustainable development has been on the political and research agendas. Within the field of landscape ecology, a wide array of research has documented the effects of alternative land uses, analysed driving forces of land use change and developed tools for measuring such changes, to mention but a few developments. There have also been great advances in technology and data management. Nevertheless, unsustainable land use continues to occur and the science of landscape ecology has had less influence on landscape change than aimed for. In this paper we use Norwegian examples to discuss some of the reasons for this. We examine mismatches in the spatial and temporal scales considered by scientists, decision-makers and those who carry out land use change, consider how this and other factors hinder effective communication between scientists and practitioners, and urge for a stronger focus on what it is that motivates people to action. We suggest that the concept of landscape services can be useful not only for researchers but also provide valuable communication and planning tools. Finally, we suggest more emphasis on applying adaptive management in landscape ecology to help close the gaps, both between researchers and policy and, even more crucially, between researchers and practitioners.

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Abstract

Farmland biodiversity is an important component of Europe’s biodiversity. More than half the continent is occupied by agricultural lands. They host specific habitats and species, which – in addition to the conservation values they provide – perform vital ecological functions. Indicators are needed to enable the monitoring of biodiversity at the farm level for the purpose of assessing the impacts of farming practices and of agricultural policies. Our research aims at identifying farmland biodiversity indicators which are scientifically sound, operational and relevant for stakeholders. We screened the literature for farmland biodiversity indicators and, in an iterative process with stakeholders, we identified 28 candidate indicators for genetic, species and habitat diversity. Those selected biodiversity indicators, as well as 14 management parameters that are known to relate to biodiversity, were assessed in 12 case study regions across Europe. Each case study region represents a typical production system (i.e. specialist field crops, horticulture and permanent crops; specialist grazing with cattle and other livestock types; mixed crop and livestock farming). In each region, 8 – 20 farms were randomly selected, mostly within the two groups of organic and non-organic farms, to obtain a gradient of farming intensity. Indicators were measured applying standardized sampling procedures and farm interviews. Sampling effort was recorded in order to assess the cost of indicator measurement. For each case study region, biodiversity indicators are presently being evaluated in conjunction with management indicators. Surrogate indicators will be proposed when possible and indicators will be prioritized taking into account their validity, practicality, cost and priority for stakeholders. Based on preliminary results, the presentation will focus on the relation between direct (species and habitat diversity) indicators and indirect (farm management) parameters. Part of this research was funded by the EU FP7 contract KBBE-2B-227161. For more information consult www.biobio-indicator.org

Abstract

Farmland biodiversity is an important component of Europe’s biodiversity. More than half the continent is occupied by agricultural lands. They host specific habitats and species, which - in addition to their conservation values they provide - perform vital ecological functions. Indicators are needed to enable the monitoring of biodiversity at the farm level for the purpose of assessing the impacts of farming practices and of agricultural policies. Our research aims at identifying farmland biodiversity indicators which are scientifically sound, operational and relevant for stakeholders. We screened the literature for farmland biodiversity indicators and, in an iterative process with stakeholders, we identified 28 candidate indicators for genetic, species and habitat diversity. Those selected biodiversity indicators, as well as 14 management indicators that are known to relate to biodiversity, were assessed in 12 case study regions across Europe. Each case study region represents a typical production system (i.e. specialist field crops, horticulture and permanent crops; specialist grazing with cattle and other livestock types; mixed crop and livestock farming). In each region, 8-20 farms were randomly selected, mostly within the two groups of organic and non-organic farms, to obtain a gradient of farming intensity. Indicators were measured applying standardized sampling procedures and farm interviews. Sampling effort was recorded in order to assess the cost of indicator measurement. For each case study region, biodiversity indicators are presently being evaluated in conjunction with management indicators. Surrogate indicators will be proposed when possible and indicators will be prioritized taking into account their validity, practicality, cost and priority for stakeholders. Based on preliminary results, the presentation will focus on the specific challenges of farm level monitoring, addressing issues of sampling design within the farms and up-scaling from plot to farm to region. Part of this research was funded by the EU FP7 contract KBBE-2B-227161. For more information consult www.biobio-indicator.org

Abstract

The centennial volume of this journal provides a fitting time to stop and reflect. Do we know where we are heading? Are we progressing in the right direction? Having studied landscape change for some years, we have seen the tremendous power of engagement that can be found in landscapes. Landscape is a theme that most people easily relate to. At the same time, landscape research has provided many appropriate tools for documenting landscape change and the effects of change. Yet in spite of public engagement and scientific knowledge, we still find many examples of negative landscape developments. In this paper we reflect on the applications of landscape research and the issue of communicating scientific findings to policy, management, landowners and the general public. Do we need a greater focus on communication to achieve sustainable landscape development?

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Protected Landscapes (PLs) are increasingly used in Norway to conserve cultural (human modified) landscapes. In many cases the maintenance of agricultural activities in PLs is required to preserve landscape character. Whilst research exists on land conservation policies in general, the particular effects of PL on management and adjustment of the farms involved have not received attention in the literature. We present results from a questionnaire sent to owners of agricultural land within PLs in Norway. Whilst landowners were divided upon the effects of PLs on farm management, the economic situation of the farm was little affected. Furthermore, changes in farm management after the establishment of a PL did not seem to have been driven by the establishment of the PLs per se. Most importantly, farm management changes were related to potential options to develop the farm and its land. A statistical model showed that PL-farms did not differ significantly from farms outside PL in the development of their land use or animal husbandry. Our findings thus indicate that the establishment of PL played a minor role as a driving force of changes in farm management and farm income.

Abstract

Protected Landscapes (PLs) are increasingly used in Norway to conserve cultural (human modified) landscapes. In many cases the maintenance of agricultural activities in PLs is required to preserve landscape character. Whilst research exists on land conservation policies in general, the particular effects of PL on management and adjustment of the farms involved have not received attention in the literature. We present results from a questionnaire sent to owners of agricultural land within PLs in Norway. Whilst landowners were divided upon the effects of PLs on farm management, the economic situation of the farm was little affected. Furthermore, changes in farm management after the establishment of a PL did not seem to have been driven by the establishment of the PLs per se. Most importantly, farm management changes were related to potential options to develop the farm and its land. A statistical model showed that PL-farms did not differ significantly from farms outside PL in the development of their land use or animal husbandry. Our findings thus indicate that the establishment of PL played a minor role as a driving force of changes in farm management and farm income.

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The conference «Mapping and Monitoring of Nordic Vegetation and Landscapes» took place in Hveragerði, Iceland from the 16th to the 18th of September 2009. The 105 participants from 15 countries contributed with 50 oral presentations and 19 posters. This special edition of «Viten», published by the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, presents the conference proceedings, containing 32 articles and 13 posters. We wish to thank the participants for their contributions to both the conference and this report! .....

Abstract

Municipal land use planning is intended to ensure that the landscape is managed sustainably. This planning is guided by a number of laws, rules and regulations, administered at the national and regional level. Examples in Norway are the Land Act aiming to protect farmland, and a national directive protecting the shoreline from development. However, the local municipality has to provide infrastructure, housing, workplaces and recreation environments for taxpayers, as well as manage natural and cultural heritage. This can lead to conflicts, particularly when different interests may require planning on different temporal and spatial scales

Abstract

The coastal heath region along the western coast of Norway, dominated by Calluna vulgaris, is undergoing rapid change. Vegetation changes are caused by changes in management, including reduced frequency or abandonment of periodic heath burning and reduced cutting and grazing. The islands of Froan, in the outermost part of Sør-Trøndelag County in mid-western Norway, are dominated by coastal heath in a state of recession due to reduced traditional land use. The coastal heath is acknowledged as vulnerable and valuable by national environmental authorities, and local landscape management is supported by different national subsidies. The authors mapped the vegetation on Froan and used rule-based GIS-modelling to predict the relative potential for future vegetation changes. The model was based on a range of map layers, including management themes such as history of heath burning and peat removal, current practices of sheep grazing, and also themes derived from the vegetation map, such as soil nutrients, soil moisture and present management status. The resulting model output provides relative probabilities of future changes under different land-use scenarios, and highlights where management efforts should be focused in order to maintain the traditional landscape character.

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Achieving multifunctionality on a parcel of land, or in a landscape as a whole, requires a delicate balance between the different functions. This is particularly so when one of the desired functions is agricultural production. This paper examines the special challenges involved when cultural landscapes are protected by law. Norwegian `Landscape Protection Areas` are intended to preserve the landscape character of special landscapes. Ideally these landscapes should preserve ecological functions, whilst at the same time allowing for recreation and tourism, and the economic returns to ensure continued use of the landscape in the future. Balancing these functions is fraught with difficulties. The former agricultural systems that shaped these cultural landscapes may no longer be viable from the perspective of food production, and biodiversity is notoriously bad at paying for itself. Are the farmers that own the land willing to take on new roles as landscape managers rather than food producers? And who will pay for this? We present results of a questionnaire to farmers that own or manage farmland in Landscape Protection Areas. Of the 893 respondents, almost a quarter claimed that their farm business had been negatively affected by landscape protection. Niche products or alternative income possibilities had not been realised. We found a generally negative attitude towards municipal authorities and 24 % of respondents were strongly against the establishment of new Landscape Protection Areas, even if the State paid compensation for their economic loss. Based on results of the study we suggest that major improvements to the protection system could be made simply by improving communication between management authorities and farmers and involving farmers in making management plans.

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In recent years the objectives of agricultural policy have shifted from a principal focus on production and income towards agriculture\"s provision of public goods summarized by the term ‘multifunctionality\". Agricultural sector models, which are important tools for policy advice, need to be adjusted in order to maintain their relevance and reliability in accordance with policy changes. This paper investigates the strengths and limitations of incorporating multifunctionality indicators in the agricultural sector model Common Agricultural Policy Regional Impact Analysis (CAPRI) by reviewing the existing literature and incorporating such indicators in the model. Multifunctionality indicators are developed and implemented for four selected aspects of multifunctionality: food security, landscape, environmental concerns and rural viability. By running different policy reform scenarios, it is shown that indicators closely related to the underlying economic variables of the sector model may provide useful to describe the effects of policy reforms on agriculture\"s multifunctionality. However, these indicators do not completely cover the selected aspects of multifunctionality. In order to yield a broader coverage, this paper proposes to strengthen interdisciplinary research by linking agricultural sector models with other model systems like farm-based economical-ecological models, regional economic models or landscape information systems.

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There is increasing awareness of the need to monitor trends in our constantly changing agricultural landscapes. Monitoring programmes often use remote sensing data and focus on changes in land cover/land use in relation to values such as biodiversity, cultural heritage and recreation.Although a wide range of indicators is in use, landscape aesthetics is a topic that is frequently neglected. Our aim was to determine whether aspects of landscape content and configuration could be used as surrogate measures for visual landscape quality in monitoring programmes based on remote sensing.In this paper, we test whether map-derived indicators of landscape structure from the Norwegian monitoring programme for agricultural landscapes are correlated with visual landscape preferences. Two groups of people participated: (1) locals and (2) non-local students.Using the total dataset, we found significant positive correlations between preferences and spatial metrics, including number of land types, number of patches and land type diversity. In addition, preference scores were high where water was present within the mapped image area, even if the water itself was not visible in the images.When the dataset was split into two groups, we found no significant correlation between the preference scores of the students and locals. Whilst the student group preferred images portraying diverse and heterogeneous landscapes, neither diversity nor heterogeneity was correlated with the preference scores of the locals.We conclude that certain indicators based on spatial structure also have relevance in relation to landscape preferences in agricultural landscapes. However, the finding that different groups of people prefer different types of landscape underlines the need for care when interpreting indicator values

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Knowledge of variation in vascular plant species richness and species composition in modern agricultural landscapes is important for appropriate biodiversity management. From species lists for 2201 land-type patches in 16 1-km2 plots five data sets differing in sampling-unit size from patch to plot were prepared.Variation in each data set was partitioned into seven sources: patch geometry, patch type, geographic location, plot affiliation, habitat diversity, ecological factors, and land-use intensity.Patch species richness was highly predictable (75% of variance explained) by patch area, within-patch heterogeneity and patch type. Plot species richness was, however, not predictable by any explanatory variable, most likely because all studied landscapes contained all main patch types ploughed land, woodland, grassland and other open land and hence had a large core of common species.Patch species composition was explained by variation along major environmental complex gradients but appeared nested to lower degrees in modern than in traditional agricultural landscapes because species-poor parts of the landscape do not contain well-defined subsets of the species pool of species-rich parts.Variation in species composition was scale dependent because the relative importance of specific complex gradients changed with increasing sampling-unit size, and because the amount of randomness in data sets decreased with increasing sampling-unit size. Our results indicate that broad landscape structural changes will have consequences for landscape-scale species richness that are hard or impossible to predict by simple surrogate variables.

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The level of support to Norwegian agriculture is partly justified with reference to agriculture’s multifunctionality. The concept of multifunctionality involves the provision of so-called “public goods» by agriculture, in addition to the production of food and fibre. Examples of these public goods include cultural landscape, biodiversity, ecological functions, cultural heritage, the viability of rural areas, and food security. The overall aim of the research project “Operationalization of multifunctionality using the CAPRI modeling system» is to study the effects of policy instruments on agriculture’s multifunctionality by defining quantitative indicators for selected elements of agriculture’s multifunctionality that can be implemented in the agricultural sector model CAPRI. This working paper takes a first step towards the appropriate regionalization when multifunctionality is concerned. The current regionalization of the CAPRI model is at the county level. This approach fails when multifunctionality is concerned, because many issues of multifunctionaliy (e.g., cultural landscape aspects) are independent of administrative borders at that level. As the aim of the overall project is to study the effects of policy instruments on agriculture’s multifunctionality, it is important to design regions within the CAPRI model that to a greater extent exhibit similar characteristics with respect to aspects of agriculture’s multifunctionality. Accordingly, it is reasonable to assume that policy changes will have quite similar effects on the multifunctionality indicators within each of these CAPRI regions. This task has been addressed by performing a cluster analysis by which Norwegian municipalities have been grouped with respect to their performance on variables that are expected to describe different aspects of the multifunctionality of agriculture. This information will then later on be used to regionalize the CAPRI model accordingly. […]

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An accumulating body of research identifies the importance of landscape structure for a wide range of countryside interests. Landscape structure reflects the results of policies and practices, and is well-suited as a target for management actions. New landscape metrics represent a potential for indicator-based management, provided such metrics relate consistently to the landscape values of interest. In this paper we propose that aspects of landscape structure, specifically heterogeneity, may be related to landscape-based values such as biodiversity, cultural heritage and human appreciation. Birds and vascular plants correlated well with our index for the heterogeneity of land types, whereas insects did not. Occurrence of prehistoric graves was also associated with land type heterogeneity, though other types of cultural remains were not. Landscape experience seems to be associated with the heterogeneity of landscape space rather than heterogeneity of land types. Different aspects of heterogeneity, scale, and variation over time all contribute to explain how our measures of landscape-based values vary in their relationship to landscape heterogeneity. Successful integration between disciplines in landscape studies depends on having a common operational framework, a shared theoretical basis, and a harmonised approach to data collection.