Ecosystem service trade-offs and stakeholder claims - a meso-scale study from a Madagascar biodiversity hotspot

Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Hett, Cornelia; Eckert, Sandra; Ramamonjisoa, Bruno; Messerli, Peter (2013). Ecosystem service trade-offs and stakeholder claims - a meso-scale study from a Madagascar biodiversity hotspot. In: 6th Annual international ESP conference 2013. Making ecosystem services count!. Indonesien. 26.-30.08.2013.

The north-eastern escarpment of Madagascar has been labelled a global biodiversity hotspot due to its extremely high rates of endemic species which are heavily threatened by accelerated deforestation rates and landscape change. The traditional practice of shifting cultivation or "tavy" used by the majority of land users in this area to produce subsistence rice is commonly blamed for these threats. A wide range of stakeholders ranging from conservation to development agencies, and from the private to the public sector has therefore been involved in trying to find solutions to protect the remaining forest fragments and to increase agricultural production. Consequently, provisioning, regulating and socio-cultural services of this forest-mosaic landscape are fundamentally altered leading to trade-offs between them and consequently new winners and losers amongst the stakeholders at different scales. However, despite a growing amount of evidence from case studies analysing local changes, the regional dynamics of the landscape and their contribution to such trade-offs remain poorely understood. This study therefore aims at using generalised landscape units as a base for the assessment of multi-level stakeholder claims on ecosystem services to inform negotiation, planning and decision making at a meso-scale. The presented study applies a mixed-method approach combining remote sensing, GIS and socio-economic methods to reveal current landscape dynamics, their change over time and the corresponding ecosystem service trade-offs induced by diverse stakeholder claims on the regional level. In a first step a new regional land cover classification for three points in time (1995, 2005 and 2011) was conducted including agricultural classes characteristic for shifting cultivation systems. Secondly, a novel GIS approach, termed “landscape mosaics approach” originally developed to assess dynamics of shifting cultivation landscapes in Laos was applied. Through this approach generalised landscape mosaics were generated allowing for a better understanding of changes in land use intensities instead of land cover. As a next step we will try to use these landscape units as proxies to map provisioning and regulating ecosystem services throughout the region. Through the overlay with other regional background data such as accessibility and population density and information from a region-wide stakeholder analysis, multiscale trade-offs between different services will be highlighted. The trade-offs observed on the regional scale will then be validated through a socio-economic ground-truthing within selected sites at the local scale. We propose that such meso-scale knowledge is required by all stakeholders involved in decision making towards sustainable development of north-eastern Madagascar.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management (LS-SLM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > NCCR North-South Management Centre [discontinued]
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Hett, Cornelia; Eckert, Sandra and Messerli, Peter


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
900 History > 910 Geography & travel


[424] Landscape change, stakeholder demands for ecosystem services, and resulting trade-offs in north-eastern Madagascar




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Date Deposited:

13 Aug 2014 16:41

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2020 02:24


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