Mediterranean landscapes under change: Combining social multicriteria evaluation and the ecosystem services framework for land use planning

Mediterranean landscapes under change: Combining social multicriteria evaluation and the ecosystem services framework for land use planning

Land Use Policy 67 (2017) 472–486 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Land Use Policy journal homepage: Me...

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Land Use Policy 67 (2017) 472–486

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Land Use Policy journal homepage:

Mediterranean landscapes under change: Combining social multicriteria evaluation and the ecosystem services framework for land use planning


R. Martínez-Sastrea,e, F. Raverab,c,d, , J.A. Gonzáleze, C. López Santiagoe, I. Bidegaine, G. Mundaf a

Servicio Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Agroalimentario (SERIDA), Apdo. 13, 33300 Villaviciosa, Asturias, España Chair of Agroecology and Food Systems, UVic-Universitat Central De Catalunya, Carrer de la Sagrada Família, 7, 08500 Vic, Spain c ICAAM – Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas, LDSP – Landscape Dynamics and Social Process Research Group, Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Ap. 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal d CREAF, Cerdanyola del Vallès, 08193, Catalonia, Spain e Social-ecological Systems Laboratory, Department of Ecology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, c. Darwin 2, Edificio de Biología, 28049 Madrid, Spain f Department of Economics and Economic History, University Autonomous of Barcelona, Edificio B Campus de la UAB, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain b



Keywords: Ecosystem services Cultural landscape Scenarios Sierra morena Social multicriteria evaluation Trade-offs

Mediterranean cultural landscapes are currently undergoing intense transformations, resulting in a polarization of land uses across an intensification-abandonment continuum. This transformation is characterized by uncertain and non-linear interactions and impacts on ecosystem services and human wellbeing. Our study focuses on a particular multifunctional Mediterranean cultural landscape composed of different land uses (i.e., dehesas, olive groves, pine forests, Mediterranean forests and scrublands) in the Sierra Morena mountain range (Jaén, Spain), which is undergoing a rapid process of land use change. In this context, the involvement of local stakeholders through participatory processes is critical for proper landscape management and decision-making. The aim of this paper is to combine Social Multicriteria Evaluation (SMCE) and ecosystem services frameworks for an assessment of likely future scenarios under different drivers of land use change, analysing how such changes would affect people living or making use of ecosystem services. Among four plausible future scenarios, the so-called “Mosaic landscape” scenario was widely recognized as the most desirable future landscape configuration for Sierra Morena, as it allows the supply of a balanced flow of ecosystem services and reduces ecosystem services trade-offs and conflicts among stakeholders. The combination of social multicriteria evaluation with the ecosystem services framework and future scenario analysis allows a robust co-creation of knowledge and provides insights pertinent to participatory management of cultural landscapes and stakeholders’ relationships through a socially relevant but also rigorous methodology.

1. Introduction Traditional Mediterranean cultural landscapes, originating from the historical co-evolution of human societies and the natural environment (Blondel, 2006), are considered to be multi-functional landscapes due to their diversified configurations, which promote the provision of multiple ecosystem services (García-Llorente et al., 2012). However, current global and national socioeconomic drivers are pushing these landscapes in two opposite directions: intensification of agricultural production (Spalding, 2000) and abandonment of rural areas, with the latter being caused by depopulation and the conversion of the economy to the tertiary sector (Pineda, 2001). Both intensification and abandonment create uncertain and non-linear interactions and impacts for biodiversity that erode its capacity to deliver multiple ecosystem

services (Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment (SNEA), 2013; Santos-Martín et al., 2013). Understanding and managing cultural landscapes implies studying the patterns, drivers and impacts of land use changes at several temporal and spatial scales. Such changes affect the benefits that humans obtain from nature either directly or indirectly (i.e., ecosystem services), which are linked to human wellbeing (De Groot et al., 2002). The ecosystem services (hereafter ES) framework has demonstrated to be very useful for communicating the manifold ways in which natural systems contribute to human well-being, health, livelihoods, and survival (TEEB, 2010). Though the focus on planning is rarely made explicit (Daily et al., 2009), the ES framework provides useful knowledge to both managers and stakeholders who want to develop policies and strategies for

Corresponding author at: Chair of Agroecology and Food Systems, UVic-Universitat Central De Catalunya, Carrer de la Sagrada Família, 7, 08500 Vic, Spain. E-mail address: [email protected] (F. Ravera). Received 31 October 2016; Received in revised form 1 June 2017; Accepted 1 June 2017 0264-8377/ © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Fig. 1. a) Study area focuses on the eastern Sierra Morena, including 14 municipalities boundaries and three protected areas (Andalucia, Spain) and b) main land uses (Source: Information network of Andalucía (

example of the two main contrasting patterns of land use changes that have been jeopardizing Mediterranean cultural landscapes over the last five decades (Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment (SNEA), 2013 García-Llorente et al., 2015). Our research was framed within a participatory process approach that involved scientists, local stakeholders (such as landowners, land managers, and actors connected to local development and culture) and representatives of local administrations. These parties discussed ecosystem services trade-offs under future landscape configurations, driven by several socioeconomic and environmental forces, in order to uncover the best future alternative for this threatened Mediterranean cultural landscape. The whole research process comprised a set of four sequential specific goals: (1) To prioritize and evaluate the current ecosystem services provided to society by local ecosystems and identify relevant stakeholders either involved in their use or affected by their degradation; (2) To describe plausible scenarios of future based on the landscape configurations and socioeconomic trajectories that potentially emerge from different direct and indirect drivers of change; (3) To assess the tradeoffs and synergies among ES supplied and socially perceived under different scenarios; and (4) To rank and discuss converging and conflicting stakeholders’ preferences for future landscape configurations.

ecosystem management (Cowling et al., 2008; De Groot et al., 2010; Bernués et al., 2016). However, most evaluations published so far in the literature have mainly focused on single dimensions and values (biophysical, socio-cultural and monetary), single scales, and single levels of organization, and they have been usually approached from disciplinary perspectives (Martín-López et al., 2014). Ultimately, the effectiveness of the ES framework in decision-making is thwarted by the failure to recognize the intangibility and incommensurability of values, especially with regard to socio-cultural ES, which play a critical role in the management of cultural landscapes (Chan Kai et al., 2012; Plieninger et al., 2015a). Decision-making and landscape management usually involve choices between different alternatives and the assessment of complex problems from different worldviews (e.g., the problem of conservation of an ecosystem as differently perceived by a tourist and a forest ranger), which have different cognitive and normative implications (Vatn, 2009). Thus, a critical issue for proper landscape management and decision-making is the involvement of local stakeholders (e.g., farmers, livestock herders, NGOs, cooperatives, companies, local administration) and the incorporation of their perceptions and values through participatory processes (Reed, 2008; Reed et al., 2013). This is particularly important in the context of Mediterranean cultural landscapes, where such local stakeholders play a central role as land use sculptors and keepers. Thus, the aim of this paper is to assess, through an empirical case study, how changes in Mediterranean cultural landscapes might affect people living in and making use of the ecosystem services associated with those landscapes. We also discuss the usefulness of combining a Social Multicriteria Evaluation (SMCE) approach (Munda, 2008) with the ES framework, as a methodological tool to support complex decision-making in situations associated with land use planning where multiple and conflicting interests are involved. Multiple examples of SMCE have been applied to natural resources management (e.g. Garmendia et al., 2010; Munda, 2006; Gamboa, 2006; Proctor and Drechsler, 2006; Munda and Russi, 2008; Paneque Salgado et al., 2009; Monterroso et al., 2011; Walter et al., 2016). However, despite the recognized appropriateness of multicriteria evaluations when used in combination with ES assessments (Langemeyer et al., 2016; Mendoza and Martins, 2006; Oikonomou et al., 2011; Saarikoski et al., 2016), research that empirically links these two approaches is still limited. A recent systematic literature review identified only 32 applied studies that combine multicriteria evaluation and ES assessment between 2004 and 2013, with only 3/4 of these studies considering some kind of stakeholder involvement (Langemeyer et al., 2016). Here, we used the Eastern Sierra Morena mountain range, in southern Spain, as an empirical case study. In fact, this region is a clear

2. Study area The study area is located in Eastern Sierra Morena (hereafter SM; province of Jaén, southern Spain) and comprises the upper watersheds of the Guarrizas, Rumblar and Guadiel rivers (all tributaries of the Guadalquivir river). The area comprises 14 municipalities covering 3622 km2 and has an estimated population of 95,000 inhabitants. The study area partially encompasses three protected areas: Despeñaperros Natural Park, Sierra de Andújar Natural Park and Cimbarra Waterfall Natural Landscape. Four dominant land use types occupy most of the study area (Fig. 1): Mediterranean forests and shrublands, dehesas, mixed-pine forests and olive groves. Mediterranean forests and shrublands represent the natural vegetation of the study area and are mainly composed of holm oaks (Quercus ilex) and shrub and bush formations. These areas are usually managed for conservation purposes and, on some private lands, they are combined with tourism or game hunting. Dehesas are Mediterranean agrosilvopastoral landscapes (savannah-like) that consist of pasturelands with scattered trees (primarily holm oaks), which are mostly managed for extensive and transhumant pastoralism with cattle, sheep and goats. The rearing of fighting bulls is also common in the dehesas of the study area. Mixed-pine forests (mainly Pinus pinaster, but with several other species of coniferous trees also present) are the result of plantation programs developed in the 1960s. Current management practices in these areas combine thinning out and pine wood extraction 473

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3.3. Step 2: structuring the information

with favouring re-colonisation by native Mediterranean woody species (e.g., Q. ilex, Q. faginea, Q. coccifera and Arbutus unedo). Finally, olive groves represent the main agricultural land use in the study area; this encompasses both intensive management on large private lands (i.e., irrigated, input-intensive, high density of single trees, high production varieties) and traditional small farming management. During the last decades of the 20th century olive culture sprawled and transformed into intensive management for olive oil production, driven by national and EU agricultural policies. Traditional agricultural activities were progressively abandoned, especially since the seventies. Such abandonment was linked to rural exodus, while intensified management practices in olive groves brought periodic fumigation, chemical fertilization and increased soil tilling. Intensive olive grove production is currently the major economic activity in the study area, and the SM/ Guadalquivir valley is one of the largest olive monoculture landscapes in the world. In Jaén province only, oil production amounted to 700,000 Tn/year, representing most of Spain’s total national production (average 1.5 billion Tn/year) and making Spain the leading producer of olive oil in the world (approximately 50% of world production).

The second step of SMCE aimed to prioritize and characterize ecosystem services as criteria, structuring the information to score them (objective 1), and identify the alternatives (objective 2). A preliminary complete panel including the most relevant ecosystem services supplied by the local Mediterranean landscape and the drivers of change in the territory was obtained from previous explorations in the same area (López-Santiago et al., 2014; Oteros-Rozas et al., 2012). The boundaries of the area were defined through a preliminary biophysical and socioeconomic zoning using the Andalusian landscape map classification (Moreira et al. 2005) and statistics. To display the most relevant landscape units, we used specific landscape views (panoramic colour pictures taken at eye-level in the spring, with constant weather and approximately 30% visible sky) selected from 200 colour photographs taken during different field visits. All the information collected and validated was used as a base on which to create a semi-structured interview model that included the following information: (1) Socio-economic and cultural individual characteristics; (2) Selection from a visual panel of the most important (for wellbeing) and most vulnerable ES (ranking the top four services in both categories); (3) Needs and expectations (wellbeing priorities) of stakeholders related to provision of ES by the landscape; (4) Value attributed to the ES provided by the main land use units according to social preferences regarding contributions to human wellbeing (scale from negative = −1 to very high = 6); (5) Perception of the main drivers influencing trajectories of change in the area (description and ranking the first four); and (6) Open description of an image of likely and desired future according to the main drivers selected and concrete policies, measures, and programs suggested. After conducting a pre-test with 5 people, a total of 32 interviews were conducted between May and September 2014, with key and vulnerable stakeholders in the area, chosen through a snowball sampling method (Atkinson and Flint, 2001). Interviews and recorded data were systematized before proceeding with content analysis and basic statistical analyses.

3. Methods and tools 3.1. Methodological framework We used SMCE as a decision support framework to assess a set of alternatives under several criteria. Following Gamboa (2006), the alternatives in this work were identified in terms of the set of plausible scenarios of landscape configuration under multiple drivers, developed through a participatory process. A scenario is here defined as a coherent, internally consistent, and plausible description of a potential future trajectory of a system under the influence of different drivers (e.g., Heugens and Van Oosterhout, 2001). The criteria to assess the alternatives were selected, prioritized and scored following the ES framework complemented by an exploration of the requirements and objectives of wellbeing (adapted by Karjalainen et al., 2013). We adopted a mixed method approach to collect and analyse data (Creswell, 2009). The entire methodological process and specific methods and tools are shown in Fig. 2 and explained step by step in the text below.

3.3.1. Prioritizing and scoring the ecosystem services for wellbeing as criteria of the SMCE The ES identified in the panel were prioritized by stakeholders (Section 2 of the interview). Based on the percentage of respondents prioritizing each ES and the order of importance and vulnerability attributed, ES were classified into four categories. The category that combined the “most important” and the “most vulnerable” corresponds to the ES finally chosen as criteria for evaluation. Additionally, to understand the wellbeing objectives and concerns of the main groups of actors, we analysed their needs and expectations (Section 3 of the interview) through a content analysis, and then prioritized them in terms of percentage of respondents. We then proceed to score and map the current ecosystem services prioritized according to the biophysical evaluation, assigning applicable proxy variables when primary or secondary sources of information were available (see Table 1). Production was scored using official socioeconomic statistics assigning the score assumed for each land use. Soil erosion and provision of habitats scores were also assigned by using existing maps (Consejería de medioambiente y ordenación del territorio, 2014). Previous primary information collected by the staff on species diversity of ants in the different land uses (Hevia et al., 2016) allowed calculating the Simpson's diversity index (D), which was used as a proxy for scoring dispersion criterion in each land use. Finally, the systematization of information about local ecological knowledge of plants and their uses was conducted following the guidelines provided by the project Spanish Inventory of Local Traditional Knowledge (Pardo de Santayana et al., 2014). A Relative Importance Index was calculated for each land use (Tardío and Pardo de Santayana, 2008) and used as a proxy for local ecological knowledge criterion. The ES prioritized were

3.2. Step 1: problem definition and stakeholders’ identification The preliminary step of the SMCE process aimed to define the nature of the problem, i.e. abandonment versus intensification, and identify the relevant stakeholders (objective 1) (Oikonomou et al., 2011). Preliminary bibliographic information and existing databases on historical and current drivers of change in the study area were collected and organized for this purpose.1 To avoid the potential exclusion of relevant and unknown stakeholders in the multicriteria assessment process, we carried out several field visits and listed, with the help of key informants, the main stakeholders interested in local development and landscape management and conservation. They were initially identified according to the institutions to which they belonged (i.e., public administration, private sector, NGOs, farmers’ cooperatives and associations), their spatial scale of action (local, regional, national) and the topic to which they were connected (i.e., agriculture management, livestock and forestry management, biodiversity and conservation of natural resources, rural development and culture). 1 This paper is part of a larger project (“Effect of landscape management on the capacity of biodiversity to provide ecosystem services to society: evidence from three socialecological systems”) intended to develop a new landscape planning model based on ecosystem services management and meant to avoid potential mismatches between the supply and demand of ecosystem services.


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Fig. 2. Methodological steps of the SMCE process.

completed with secondary information previously collected in step 1. Then, we analysed through a content analysis looking for similarities across discourses the qualitative information about plausible and desirable future changes (Section 6 of the interview). We crossed-referenced this information through literature (Step 1). We systematized such information according to a synthetic matrix. This information was the basis for creating assumptions about landscape changes and for mapping such changes using gvGIS. Complementary storylines were formulated for each scenario and projects, programs and concrete measures to be developed in each trajectory were included (Börjeson et al., 2006 Höjer et al., 2008). Finally, we validated the results of this step 2 through a one-day workshop organized in October 2014 in the area. A total 19 participants attended the workshop, selected as representatives of the most relevant stakeholder groups engaged with the present and future situation of the SM area (see step 1). To ensure the active involvement of all participants in the discussion we organized the workshop in three parts. First, we collected all different points of view with an individual questionnaire and then complemented this with work in small homogeneous groups based on shared interests. The entire group of participants discussed and validated the scenarios’ storylines and defined trends of change for each ES in each future scenario (for further details on this methodology, see De Marchi et al., 2000; Gimarães-Pereira et al., 2006). The four storylines of future scenarios for 2030 in the SM landscape were performed in public by a professional actress who staged them as theatre performances. Then, the stakeholder groups named and discussed each dramatized scenario, corroborating the drivers of change and identifying impact trends in terms of ES and wellbeing. Participants classified the four scenarios according to their desirability and plausibility and discussed the consequences of each scenario with regard to the trends of each criterion (i.e., ES and objectives of wellbeing). At the end of the workshop, the results of each group were presented for public debate and the robustness of the analysis was checked during a global discussion of these results.

mapped using gvGIS to better visualize their spatial distribution. We also scored and mapped the social value of the ES assigned by the interviews (Section 4). Interviewees allocated values for each ES across the various land use units selected, including negative value (−1) when the land use harms the ES; 0, if the land use does not provide any benefit related to that ES; and 1–6, depending on the relevance of the supply of ES by each landscape unit. We calculated average values that reflect the provision of each ecosystem service in each landscape unit. 3.3.2. Development of scenarios as alternatives of the SMCE Building on the suggestions of Oteros-Rozas et al. (2015) on placebased participatory scenario development, the process integrated an analysis of driving forces and a vision, created collectively, on the future under likely trajectories. As suggested by Stewart et al. (2013: 11) “the multicriteria nature of the analysis requires that the consequences upon a specific scenario should be expressible in terms of the chosen set of decision criteria”. Thus, the scenarios assessed as alternative in this paper are defined by the external and internal factors that may affect people, the changes in land use and management that differently occur in each scenario and the actions that will be implemented in each trajectory. To identify the scenarios we first analysed information on drivers (Section 5 of the interview). We analysed relationships among drivers following the methodology elaborated by De Laat et al. (2007). First, the drivers were visually drawn as a conceptual map with Gephi software (Bastian et al., 2009). According to this software, a driver can be an “influence driver”, if it has a high number of “cause of” attributes (output level, out-connection) and a low number of “consequences” (entry level, in-connection); or it can be a “pressed driver or component” if it shows a higher degree of inputs than of outputs. When a driver has a high degree of both inputs and outputs, it is considered an important driver, and so it should be a priority to take it into account (Borgatti et al., 2009). These initial cause-effects maps of drivers were 475

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Systematization of two books based on ethnobotanical studies (Fernández Ocaña, 2000; Guzmán Tirado, 1997). A total of 624 plants were systematized and related to the ecosystems of our study according Flora Vascular de Andalucía Oriental (Blanca et al., 2011). Relative Importance Index (Tardío and Pardo de Santayana, 2008). Encompassed variety of uses of plants, number of informants, diffusion of use and cultural importance

3.4.1. Creating multicriteria impact matrixes and assessing trade-offs and synergies To assess the trade-offs and synergies among ES supplied and socially perceived under different scenarios (objective 3) we created two impact matrixes that scored each criterion (i.e., ES) for each alternative (i.e. scenario), according to biophysical and social assessments. First, the biophysical impact matrix expressed the score assumed by the ES using quantified biophysical information in the current situation (see 3.3.1) and taking into account the future changes in land use. Second, the social impact matrix summarized how stakeholders perceived the change in value of each ES according to each future scenario. We calculated the final value according to the current value (see 3.3.1) and the trend of change (i.e., deterioration, high deterioration, no change, slow improvement, high improvement) assigned by stakeholders during the workshop. In this case, we did not consider the total area occupied by each land use because the stakeholders had already taken into account the surface changes in the evaluation of criteria for each scenario during the workshop. We assigned the spatial -explicit biophysical or social value assumed by each criterion to each land use unit using gvGIS over the scenario maps of the land cover uses, taking into account the main assumptions of the scenario.

3.4.2. Applying aggregation procedure To identify relevant differences among the alternatives and rank them (objective 4), an aggregation procedure that compared all the scenarios through all the ecosystem services was employed (Munda et al., 1994; Munda 1995). Among the many existing multicriteria aggregation models (Figueira et al., 2005; De Montis et al., 2004), we chose NAIADE (Novel Approach to Imprecise Assessment and Decision Environments) because (a) it is capable of working with linguistic information with different distributions; (b) it allows the inclusion of different types of information, both quantitative and qualitative, and in the case of quantitative information it may work with crisp numbers, stochastic functions and fuzzy numbers and functions. This means that the NAIADE procedure can work with uncertainty in the information, given that it works with various degrees of credibility concerning the score a number might assume, the distribution of the number, i.e., its function, and the distance between two numbers (or functions) through thresholds’ definitions of indifference and preference (Munda, 1995).2 Following Tarras & n et al. (2007), biophysical information thresholds were assigned according to the stochastic distribution of variables and basic statistics, i.e., taking into account the median, min, max, standard deviation and standard error. After the pair-wise comparison, through an aggregation algorithm of the credibility indexes, NAIADE calculates a preference intensity index of one alternative with respect to another, according to all the criteria, with an associated score of intensity credibility μ and the score of truth that one alternative is better (equal or worse) than another, which helps to calculate the final ranking (i.e., the winning alternative is the one that has more positive flows and also fewer negative flows). To check the robustness of the chosen preference relations and the final ranking of alternatives, we performed a sensitivity analysis. It consists in changing the mathematical operators (i.e. from a non-compensatory to a compensatory operator, when the increase in value in one alternative to one criterion is able to compensate the relative

Traditional ecological and local Knowledge

2 Indifference threshold is defined as minimum distance between two numbers (or functions) below which the credibility that the two alternatives are indifferent for that criterion increases. Preference threshold is defined as the minimum distance between two numbers (or functions), above which the credibility that the one alternative is better (or worse) than the other for that criterion increases. Four thresholds are defined in the impact matrix for each criterion: indifference (μ=), weak indifference (μ≈) preference/ rejection (μ > ; μ <) and strong preference/strong rejection (μ > > ; μ < <) (Munda 1995).


Pollination and dispersion

3.4. Step 3: multicriteria assessment and analysis of coalitions

Cultural relationships of humans with landscape leading to practices, customs and beliefs based on experiential knowledge transmitted generationally.

Field samplings analyses by Hevia et al. (2016) Simpson Index

Consejería de medioambiente y ordenaci & n del territorio (2014) Diversity Index

Consejería de medioambiente y ordenaci & n del territorio (2014) Tn/year

Ability of ground and vegetation to trap soil particles transported by wind or water, controlling erosion and desertification. Ability of ecosystems to provide suitable conditions for the establishment of different living beings. Habitat for wild plants and animals. Symbiosis of certain organisms resulting on pollen or seed transportation and breeding. The pollinators and dispersers are essential for the maintenance of crops and wild vegetation. Provision of habitats

Agriculture production

Erosion control Regulating

Consejería de medioambiente y ordenaci & n del territorio (2014) Tn/year

National Institute of Statistics (

Obtaining derived products of livestock feed from pastures and grazing areas. Products derived from the olive grove biodiversity obtained through extensive and intensive techniques. Livestock production Provisioning

Heads of livestock/year

Source of information Unit of measure Description ES/criteria ES type

Table 1 Ecosystem services selected as criteria for SMCE after the prioritization, with specific information on the indicator used, the units of measure, the source of the data and the year of publication.

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mainly attributes value to the existing heritage because of its ability to create new jobs. They expect the environment to be respected and enjoyed for its beauty, tranquillity and intrinsic value and expressed more concern about the legacy being left for future generations.

decrease in another criteria) and the threshold of the criteria aggregation (α) (i.e. from α = 0.2, a very weak threshold, to a very strong threshold at α = 0.8)3 (Munda, 1995). 3.4.3. Equity analysis Considering different potential conflicts among stakeholderś perspectives is an essential part of public policies, management strategies and landscape planning. For this reason, in addition to integrated assessment processes that can help in understanding and handling complex issues, it was considered useful to perform an equity analysis (objective 4). This analysis highlights plausible future conflicts or alliances among the different stakeholders, indicating the coincidence or distance between the different social actors’ interests. By making explicit the trade-off between different interests, this analysis provides rich information in the search for compromise solutions. This analysis (performed with NAIADE) starts with the creation of an equity matrix, which gives a linguistic indication of the different opinions of the stakeholders’ groups regarding each of the alternatives. Semantic distance (i.e., Minkovsky distance) calculates the similarity indexes across groups.

4.1.2. Biophysical and social assessment of ecosystem services in the current situation Biophysical and social assessments showed quite different results for the six prioritized ES (i.e. the most vulnerable and important for all the stakeholders) (Tables 3 and 4). Indeed, Mosaic and Organic olive grove landscapes were the most balanced land uses in supplying, simultaneously for all ES assessed, medium-to-good scores (multifunctional value). However, indicators show lower values for Organic olive groves in services such as traditional and local knowledge, provision of habitats, and food production assigned by biophysical assessment compared to the values assigned by the stakeholders. In addition, biophysical assessment did not consider the entrance of livestock in this land use, a practice not currently common but still considered possible according to stakeholders. The dehesa landscape receives similar social scores as the Mediterranean forest but with its highest score in livestock production. Currently, this landscape lacks social valuation for agricultural production, indicating that it has lost its former identity as a seasonal agricultural food producer. In contrast to stakeholders’ perceptions, the dehesa scored as having medium capacity for erosion control on biophysical analysis. Traditional and local knowledge scored as medium, probably due to the limited data available for its estimate, given that only ethnobotanical information was included. In general, the Mediterranean forest shows better performances than other forestry landscape units (i.e., pine forest) in regulating and cultural ES, according to both biophysical and social assessment. The Mediterranean forest and the Mosaic landscape units have relatively poor performance in controlling soil erosion as estimated by the biophysical assessment, but these results are due to the information available and to data dispersion between min and max. Both landscape units are biophysically assessed as not suitable for livestock, but according to stakeholders, the Mediterranean forest could offer a temporal use specifically for goat livestock. The conventional intensive olive groves only show a high score in the context of food from agriculture, both in the biophysical and the social assessments; they score poorly and very poorly for the rest of the ES, including traditional and local knowledge. Similarly, stakeholders clearly perceived the trade-off between provisioning services and cultural and regulating services.

4. Results 4.1. Relevant stakeholders and ecosystem services evaluation 4.1.1. Ecosystem services prioritization and linkages with stakeholders’ needs and expectations We identified five stakeholder groups. They differed in their perceptions of the importance and vulnerability of ES and their needs and objectives of wellbeing (Table 2). The livestock and forestry management group (N = 6) prioritized ES related to animal husbandry and forestry, attributing relevance to traditional ecological and local knowledge and regulating services (i.e., water regulation and fire prevention); such services are currently perceived as endangered and are connected with objectives of sustaining the economy of the family and maintaining the traditional management of livestock to preserve the environment. The agriculture management group (N = 6) expressed deep concern about the future of their olive groves, driven by the new market trends and new powerful producer countries; they gave the highest importance scores to agriculture-related provisioning services and erosion control. They saw the need for change in their practices, being aware of environmental issues and of the unhealthy nature of intensified food production, as well as the importance of building networks, partnerships and cooperatives. Maximizing economic profitability of farms and generate income from conservation are also objectives of this group. The biodiversity and environmental conservation group (N = 6) attributed the highest importance to ES related to their objectives and expectations in terms of wellbeing, particularly the preservation of natural heritage, biodiversity and ecosystems. They also considered these ES as the most endangered. Similarly, the rural development group (N = 7) also identified as important and vulnerable those ES related to the maintenance and improvement of existing activities linked to natural and rural heritage, attractiveness for tourism, and diversification of incomegenerating activities, including conservation. This group was the only one that perceived the current intensive agricultural model as endangered. Finally, the public administration group (N = 7) was concerned about maintaining balance between the two predominant forms of living in the area, olive groves and livestock farming, and this group

4.2. Plausible scenarios of future 4.2.1. Drivers of change Gephi-maps integrate social perceptions and the literature review, showing the most relevant causal connections among drivers of change and components of the system ultimately impacted in the study area (Appendix 1 in supplementary material shows the conceptual maps of drivers of change). The trend of abandoning forest management practices, such as selective opening, gathering mushrooms and wild fruits, track cleaning and livestock grazing, has been locally recognized as one of the major forces of local landscape change (42% respondents). With regard to the management of forestry areas, another relevant relationship is that related to the use of protected natural areas by stakeholders. Legislation protecting natural areas prohibits certain uses and restricts certain activities; it also implements conservation projects without the help of stakeholders. Stakeholders believe in an improved coexistence between them and the protected area, where traditional uses (livestock) can improve both ecological quality and ES delivery (58% respondents). A strong driver of change, mainly affecting agro-pastoral land uses, is the EU Common Agricultural Policy, and specifically the policies of

3 The α parameter is used during the aggregation as a threshold to express the minimum required for credibility of the intensity of preference between alternatives under a set of criteria. Only the criteria whose indexes are higher than the thresholds α, will be considered as positively for defining the intensity of preference in the process of aggregation. If the final result of ranking is more or less stable after changes in the α parameter means that is highly credible the ranking of alternative under such set of criteria.


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Table 2 Synthesis of stakeholder groups’ objectives, needs and expectations in terms of wellbeing (% responses and qualitative analysis) and the ecosystem services prioritized according to their importance and vulnerability (at least 33% of responses). The final six ES ranked as currently being the most important and vulnerable are in bold letter. Stakeholders group

Livestock and Forestry management

Agriculture management

Biodiversity and environmental conservation

Objectives, needs and expectations in terms of wellbeing (% prioritized)

Important ES prioritized > 25%

family economy and employment creation based on local • Support resources (50%) and valuing the traditional livestock and the benefits of • Preserving this activity for the environment (50%) awareness, creating a healthy promotion environment, and • Raising producing healthy food (organic) (50%) networks, partnerships, and cooperatives that promote • Building the economic development of the area (50%) economic profitability of activities/farms in the area, • Maximizing including conservation (income generation) (33.3%)

• Livestock/grazing raw materials • Biotic • Water regulation • Livestock/grazing provision from • Food agriculture control • Erosion and environmental • Scientific knowledge • Livestock/grazing of habitats • Provision control • Erosion and environmental • Scientific knowledge local • Traditional, knowledge and identity

Preserving natural heritage, biodiversity and ecosystems (66.7%)

Valuing the intrinsic value for future generations and the culture and identity (67%)Maximizing economic profitability of activities/farms in the area, including conservation (income generation) (50%) Supporting family economy and employment creation based on local resources (50%) Rural development

Public administration

social relations, territorial cohesion and bonding hunting • Promoting • Recreational (71.4%) Food provision from • agriculture natural heritage, biodiversity and ecosystems (42.9%) • Preserving economic profitability of activities/farms in the area, Livestock/grazing • Maximizing • including conservation (income generation) (42.9%) • Erosion control

Vulnerable ES prioritized > 25%

• Livestock/grazing local knowledge • Traditional, and identity • Fire prevention and dispersion • Pollination local knowledge • Traditional, and identity • Livestock/grazing of habitats • Provision • Erosion control

• Livestock/grazing and dispersion • Pollination local knowledge • Traditional, and identity prevention • Fire provision from • Food agriculture • Livestock/grazing and dispersion • Pollination local knowledge • Traditional, and identity

creation with the resources available (71.4%) • Job • Livestock/grazing awareness, creating a healthy promotion environment and • Raising • Erosion control producing healthy food (organic) (57.1%) for and enjoyment of an environment for its beauty, • Respect peacefulness, and purely intrinsic value (in the present and future generations) (57.1%)

Table 3 Ecosystem services scores in the current situation for each landscape unit according to biophysical assessment. The thresholds for each criteria are: VG = very good, G = good, M Moderate B = bad, VB = very bad, n.a. = not applicable. ES

Biophysical units

Intensive olive grove

Mosaic landscape

Pine forest


Mediterranean forest

Organic olive grove

Agriculture production Livestock production

(Tonn/year) (N° heads (livestock units)/ year) (Simpson index) (Tonn/year) (Diversity index per unit area of use) (Relative Importance Index)

59257 (G) n.a.

34647 (M) 10555 (G)

n.a. n.a.

n.a. 20905 (VG)

n.a. 204 (VB)

15072 (B) n.a.

0.14 (VB) 2140595 (VB) 29 (VB)

0.33 (B) 1284605 (B) 47 (G)

0.34 (B) 241688 (M) 61 (VG)

0.63 (VG) 504770 (M) 61 (VG)

0.53 (G) 920327 (B) 68 (VG)

0.30 (B) 456161 (M) 30 (B)

7.6 (VB)

35.5 (G)

18 (B)

24.8 (M)

31.6 (G)

14.3 (B)

Pollination Erosion control Provision of habitats Traditional and local knowledge

Agriculture production (Tonn/year), VG (113400–580000), G (56700–113400), M (28350–56700) B (7088–28350), VB (886–7088). Livestock (N° heads/year) VG (20000–300000), G (10000–20000), M (5000–10000) B (1250–5000), VB (156–1250). Pollination (Simpson index) VG (0.6–0.7), G (0.4–0.6), M (0.3–0.4) B (0.2–0.3), VB (0.1–0.2). Erosion control (Tonn*103/year) VG (15000–20072), G (20072–160576), M (160576–642303) B (642303–1284605), VB (1284605–2569210). Provision of habitats (Diversity index per unit area of use), VG (50–70), G (45–50), M (35–45) B (30–35), VB (25–30). Traditional knowledge (Relative Importance Index), VG (> 40), G (30–40), M (20–30) B (10–20), VB (0–10).

increase from 69 trees/ha in extensive groves to 204 trees/ha in intensive groves, or sometimes to 1250 and 1975 trees/ha in super intensive groves. As agricultural mechanization increases, the number of workers decreases, chemical inputs increase (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc.) and extra watering becomes essential (46% respondents). The development of new and more profitable markets, for instance in the organic sector, influences the ways in which farmers cultivate their lands (42% respondents). Also, the emergence of powerful

subsidies and other mechanisms adopted at the European and national levels (50% respondents). In most cases, these policies come into conflict with local management of the area. Currently, farmers base their benefits on the level of subsidies they receive and the decline of the single payment. The introduction of conditionality and greening means that, in our study area, most stakeholders opt for intensification and only a few of them for more ecological production, which entails looking to the future. Hence, agricultural (i.e., Olive) intensification practices appear as an independent driver. Plantation density may 478

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Table 4 Ecosystem services scores in the current situation for each landscape unit according to social assessment. VG (very good), G (good,), M (Moderate), B (bad), VB (very bad). ES

Agriculture production Livestock production Pollination Erosion control Provision of habitats Traditional and local knowledge

Average social score Intensive olive grove

Mosaic landscape

Pine forest


Mediterranean forest

Organic olive grove







functioning and the final provision of ES and wellbeing (Table 5). The drivers and pressures described above result in different maps of land use changes and storylines for each scenario (Fig. 3). Once the future drivers, land use changes and management strategies of the cultural landscape were fully understood, the storyline for each scenario was narrated. Scenario 1 “Intensified and green olive production”. This describes an industry based on premium olive production, enhanced by global markets. Large and medium olive farmers are associated in cooperatives committed to quality in order to produce a healthier olive oil. In the southern area, we find further intensification of the sector; otherwise, in the central area we find a more agri-environmental olive grove. In the northern area, we see an extension of scrubland and Mediterranean forest land, a loss of the dehesa (decrease of livestock) and a migration of young people to the south or to the cities. Protected areas have strict conservation laws and frequent problems with fires. Scenario 2 “Business as usual”. This shows an impending negative future (mainly due to economic crises) if important changes are not made. A rural exodus occurs, especially among young people, so there is no generational renewal of farming activities. In the south, there is land abuse to maintain a mode of olive production based on maximizing quantity (lack of water, increased erosion, and the appearance of pollution from olive inputs) because the market is more competitive. Many lands are no longer profitable and are abandoned. Also, the dehesa is abandoned due to the decline of livestock (considered something from

producing countries increases competition at the expense of decreasing profitability of the current model. The increase in sustainable tourism (rural, ecotourism, archaeological, religious, sport) is a new source of possible support for the local economy (29% respondents). Another important driver of change is related to the abandonment of the countryside by young people, who are mainly migrating to big cities searching for a better future (a consequence of the model of industrialized agriculture implemented and supported by European institutions during the past 30 years). This phenomenon affects mostly the populations of mountain areas, inducing the abandonment of livestock farms, with powerful environmental and economic consequences (25% respondents) as livestock declines because of the loss of pastures, lack of markets and low social perception of shepherding work (22% respondents). Finally, the economic crisis brings unemployment, low wages and migration, but it also brings the emergence of new potential opportunities and a return to more sustainable uses in the area (21% respondents). 4.2.2. Four scenarios by 2030: maps of future landscape configurations and storylines To evaluate the desired and plausible future of SM (objective 2), we identified four scenarios. The current and emerging drivers of change are influencing and pushing each scenario in different ways, provoking ecological, social, cultural and economic changes by 2030, with effects on particular components of the social-ecological system and its

Table 5 Main ecological, social-cultural and economic pressures in Sierra Morena, key actions and potential management changes (including land use changes) for each scenario according to stakeholders (+ means positively influenced; − negatively influenced; 0 means it generates no changes). Dimension/topic

Scenario 1

Scenario 2

Scenario 3

Scenario 4

Prioritized Drivers

Institutions Management Institutions Management Institutions Management Economy Economy Socio-cultural

PAC Strategies and subsidies Declining extensive livestock Increased tourism Agricultural intensification Current legislation in Protected natural areas Abandoning forest management New and more profitable markets Economic Crisis Abandonment of the countryside

+ + – + + 0 + + 0

+ 0 0 – – 0 0 – –

+ – + – + – + + 0

– – + – + – + + 0

Emergent Drivers

Economy Institutions Institutions

Secondary industry Environmental education Increase of Associations

+ – +

0 0 0

+ + +

+ + +

Other factors taken into account

Administration Administration Administration Management Ecology/management Socio-cultural

Number of hunters Risk of fires Relationship between managers/farmers Variety of land uses Biodiversity Traditional and local knowledge

– + 0 – – 0

0 + 0 0 0 –

– – + 0 + 0

+ – + + + +

Key actions

Diversity of uses in Mediterranean and Pine forest Restoration of “dehesa” successional dynamics Change to other non-agricultural predominant uses

– – –

0 0 –

0 + +

+ + +

Management changes

Increasing the size of the land in property Increased irrigation Agro- environment action

+ + +

0 – +

0 – +

– – +


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Fig. 3. Maps of the future land use changes distribution and percentage of each land use for future scenarios a) Scenario1 “Intensified and green olive production” b) Scenario 2 “Business as usual” c) Scenario 3 “Back to livestock”d) Scenario 4 “Mosaic landscape”.

each criterion (ES) for each alternative scenario according to a biophysical and a social evaluation (Appendix 3 in supplementary material). In general terms, the two evaluations generated quite different results (Fig. 4). Scenario 4, which represents a multifunctional landscape that combines a great diversity of uses and stakeholders, is clearly the most balanced according to all the criteria analysed (ES) and scored the best according to social evaluation. This scenario also shows a general balance of scores across all criteria in the biophysical evaluation, scoring the highest on pollination, erosion control and traditional and local knowledge and scoring moderately on livestock and provision of habitats. The results for scenario 3, characterized by the conservation of the dehesa landscape and the improvement of a secondary industry related to livestock, are quite similar in both evaluations, showing the best performance in livestock production and a very high score on provision of habitats. The rest of the criteria maintain medium scores in the biophysical evaluation, while pollination and erosion control have high and very high scores in the social evaluation. Scenario 1, which shows a growing olive industry looking for an agro-environmental final product, has the best score on agricultural production, a low score on traditional ecological knowledge and local identity, and a low score on erosion control according to both evaluations. However, there is an incongruous appraisal of the provision of other ES, such as provision of habitats, pollination and dispersion and livestock production, which are scored lower by social evaluation. Finally, scenario 2, which represents business as usual, seems to be the lowest-scoring on most of the criteria and according to both assessments. Looking at the biophysical results, this scenario maintains an average production of food from agriculture and livestock. This scenario does not seem to affect traditional and local knowledge in the area but it negatively influences other regulating ES, specifically the provision of habitats. On the other hand, the stakeholders considered

the past) and regeneration problems. All of this causes the Mediterranean forest to expand; herbivore communities grow until overpopulation and fires become very common. Scenario 3 “Back to livestock”. Livestock is an important driver in the area. An expansion of dehesa is observed and dehesa olives, where livestock can graze within the olive groves, appear. Extensive livestock quality increases due to a focus on organic products (appearance of quality brands). Livestock products are more diversified (cheese, milk, wool, meat) and they become highly appreciated in the national market. Olive farmers appreciate the benefit of introducing sheep into their olive groves, which produces an ecological olive oil (also quality brands emerge) while also benefitting livestock (economically and ecologically). In protected areas, livestock are allowed to enter, improving fire control. Some conflicts with hunting emerge because of the potential transmission of diseases to livestock. Scenario 4 “Mosaic landscape”. This shows a mosaic of people, landscapes and uses. Uses within the pine forest and the Mediterranean forest return. Mixed forests expand and livestock are allowed to enter protected areas for fire control. Sustainable rural and nature tourism increases. Livestock stabilizes and the dehesa stops decreasing. There are ecological olive groves and “new dehesa” with both olive groves and livestock. Additionally, a mixed agricultural use is observed, e.g. new crops such as grapevines, cereals and almonds. Overall, this scenario favours the emergence of more local markets, quality brands, and reinforced unions between farmers and shepherds. The scenarios were titled, showing divergences among the groups of stakeholders (see Table 6). In Appendix 2 supplementary material we present the complete original storylines of the four scenarios. 4.3. Trade-offs and synergies among biophysical and social assessment of ecosystem services in future scenarios Two impact matrixes were generated to score the performance of 480

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Table 6 Characterization of the four future scenarios presented in the workshop, based on the names given to each of them by stakeholder groups.

Scenario 1

Scenario 2

Scenario 3

Scenario 4

Local development group

A sea of olive groves where choke. A possible alternative

A scenario to run away

Too good to be true

Fabled stage

Biodiversity and environmental conservation group

End of livestock in favour of olive monoculture: environmental catastrophe

Imminent future but react

Sustainable livestock and conservation in SM

Diversification of natural and economic resources: realistic and achievable goal

One step from reality

An announced death

The ideal livestock

A perfect coexistence

The perfect olive grove

Future or reality?

Utopian reality

From the mountains to the countryside a possible reality

Population trend

Middle and low zone, maintained

Decrease, exodus

Maintained in the three zones


Strongest sector

Olive cooperatives

Olive (abandon beginning)





Quality oil

Intensive olive


Only in protected areas

Only in protected areas





Every summer



Only High zone

Less diffused Overpopulations

Names given to the scenario


Agriculture management group Livestock management group

Mosaic of uses (mixed forests, new crops, vineyards, almond...) Local, regional, national and global. Local, regional and Emblematic species national as products marks. Ecological olive and Quality livestock, livestock ecological livestock Coalitions with Open to livestock shepherds and farmers Transhumant and Rural, alternative and rural nature Under control thanks Under control thanks to livestock and forest to livestock uses Conflict (transmitters Only High and of diseases) medium zone Livestock

Fig. 4. Trade-off among biophysical and social evaluation of ES in the four scenarios.

that an increase in agricultural production adversely affects all other ES, with pollination, livestock and traditional and local knowledge being particularly diminished, followed closely by the rest.

4.4. Ranking of alternatives and coalitions among stakeholders NAIADE generated an overall ranking according to the biophysical and social evaluations (Fig. 5). In both final rankings, the Scenario 4


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Fig. 5. Biophysical and social ranking in the NAIADE model using minimum operator (⋏) (α = 0.5).

and Scenario 3 were ranked as the first and second best options, respectively. The most important difference between the biophysical and social rankings concerns Scenarios 2 and 1. According to the biophysical evaluation, both scenarios get the worst score, without a possible comparison between them. In contrast, the social ranking, according to the stakeholders’ evaluation, shows that Scenario 1 is preferred over Scenario 2, which receives the worst score. The poor performance of this scenario is due to the persistence of the current state, where no solutions are sought, and to the great uncertainty in the system. Finally, the sensitivity analysis demonstrated the consistency of our data and the robustness of our results. The dendogram of coalitions built with NAIADE showed a likely alliance among the livestock and forestry management group and the biodiversity and environmental conservation group (similarity degree of 0.805). The biodiversity and environmental conservation group would view as negative any destabilization of the system that could affect habitats and damage the environmental properties of the cultural landscape of Sierra Morena. The livestock and forestry management sectors prefer a conservation of current dehesa areas and a better mixed use of the forest. Thus, both groups share a common desire to protect the land from fires and to increase biodiversity. On the other hand, the distance from the other two groups is quite clear (similarity degree of 0.6415 with the rural development group and 0.5862 with the agriculture management group). This result reveals how rural development in the area is mainly mediated by olive grove production and is less affected by the high score of livestock activities and the dehesa landscape.

desirable by local stakeholders, but they are still considered quite plausible. Remarkably, these two future scenarios are also the lowestranked according to the biophysical MCE. Current landscape management strategies in the Mediterranean basin focus mainly on production objectives, entailing ecosystem intensification or abandonment even if this triggers a harmful decrease in regulating and cultural services (Martín-López et al., 2011). The “intensified and green olive production” scenario, based on an intensification of the olive industry oriented to global markets, represents the conversion of multi-functional landscapes into simple, productive, mono-functional ones. This would disturb the stability of rural areas, strongly limiting their capacity to provide a wide range of ES and their capacity to meet the social-economic and ecological needs and expectations of many stakeholders. In general, land-use intensification promotes a loss of habitats (Slee, 2005), which undermines the ecosystem’s capacity to carry out primary processes (i.e., capturing, storing and transferring energy, carbon dioxide, nutrients and water), thus affecting many other processes at the population and community levels that are directly related to biodiversity and the supply of ES (Costanza et al., 1997; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), 2005; Oikonomou et al., 2011). Even when agro-environmental practices are introduced, most of the stakeholders in Sierra Morena also perceive that increases in productivity are due to increased exploitation of soil and water resources, at the expense of the deterioration of several processes that generate many other ES, compromising health, food sovereignty and sustainability. The Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment (Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment (SNEA), 2013) has shown how agro-ecosystems in Spain are maintaining or increasing their provisioning services, but they are doing so with a significant loss of agro-biodiversity and with increasing requirements for external inputs, such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or insecticides. Most stakeholders realize that increased production with lowered quality leads to falling prices and lack of profitability in the long term. Therefore, they are beginning to shift their mindsets toward a point of view that highly values extensiveness and product quality, looking for new markets and healthier food production strategies (Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment (SNEA), 2013). The “back to livestock” scenario could be considered as an intermediate situation between the two previously mentioned scenarios. This scenario is perceived as more desirable by most stakeholders; it is also ranked higher in the multicriteria biophysical assessment, as it would enable the supply of a wider range of ecosystem services. Here, rural abandonment has stopped, encouraged by a profitable industry settled around extensive livestock farming. The agricultural

5. Discussion and conclusions 5.1. Empirical lessons: cultural Mediterranean landscapes at the edge of a cliff Our results confirm the findings of other studies regarding the two main trends discussed here, i.e., intensification of olive grove production fostered by global markets and European agricultural policies, and progressive abandonment of forested environments and dehesas in the less productive areas. Such changes are negatively affecting the historical multi-functionality of Mediterranean cultural landscapes, with important impacts on ecosystem services that affect human wellbeing (Rescia et al., 2010; Gordon et al., 2010; Padilla et al., 2010). Our results from the scenario analysis show how two of the future scenarios developed for SM, i.e., the “business as usual” and the “intensified olive production” scenarios, effectively represent the above-mentioned opposite trends, contributing strongly to the sparing of land uses (Green et al., 2005). None of these scenarios is considered to be socially 482

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Our results also confirm that cultural ecosystem services are mainly affected by changes, though they generally promote the multi-functionality of landscapes (Plieninger et al., 2015b). Traditional and local knowledge, which is key to the survival of cultural landscapes, shows a critical negative trend, strongly related to the lower profitability of traditional land uses; land has either been converted to intensive agriculture or abandoned over the last fifty years (Vidal-Legaz et al., 2013). The loss of cultural and/or aesthetic values also strongly relates to the reduction in landscape diversity (Benayas et al., 2007). However, we also note that rural and nature tourism is the only exception (Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment (SNEA), 2013). This new ES is, in many cases, recovering rural areas, but it is also creating new conflicts that have become more severe due to competition between rural and nature tourism and intensification of the landscape or conservation initiatives such as rewilding (Bellot et al., 2001; Saurí-Pujol et al., 2001; Navarro and Pereira, 2012). Regarding possible alliances for political collaboration, our results suggest that the social actors mostly related to livestock and forestry management and biodiversity and environmental conservation have convergent perceptions about likely and desirable future pathways. As suggested by Palomo et al. (under review), efforts should be made to build bridges and collaborations between these stakeholders, while local development actors may eventually play a mediating role between these groups and the actors mostly related to agricultural management.

intensification process is also reversed, thanks to the return to more extensive uses linked to livestock, mostly in the dehesas but also in forests (where livestock are allowed entry both for grazing and to reduce fire risk) and in olive groves (in this case combining organic olive production with the entry of sheep). This scenario promotes the increasing provision of habitats due to the opening of the landscape and creates new niches and a remarkable improvement in pollination, perhaps caused by the increasing diversity of flora generated in the areas where livestock grazing occurs. García-Llorente et al. (2012) have shown that in the Mediterranean region landscapes subject to an intermediate level of disturbance (certain degrees of extensive human management) are not only a good reservoir of biodiversity (in agreement with Connell’s intermediate disturbance hypothesis), but they also appear to be the most capable of providing a varied flow of ecosystem services. Multi-functional dehesas that dominate in the “back to livestock” scenario represent an example of agroecosystems subject to intermediate levels of disturbance, where the alternation of forestry, agriculture, livestock and many other gathering uses allows high microhabitat diversity and hence high biodiversity rates (Blondel, 2006). The “mosaic landscape” scenario represents other version of a multifunctional landscape in terms of ecosystem services supply and human wellbeing. Remarkably, local actors perceived this scenario as the most desirable one, quite homogeneously benefiting a wide range of stakeholders and ensuring a balanced supply of the three types of ES. Biophysical multicriteria assessment also pointed to this scenario as the best in terms of ES supply. Here, multi-functionality and habitat diversity are not only associated with intermediate disturbances in certain land uses but also with the sharing of landscapes by a matrix of patches of different land uses (Phalan et al., 2011). The resulting mosaic landscape of this scenario promotes spatial diversity and crop heterogeneity, which are strategies that have been employed for millennia in Mediterranean agricultural landscapes (Sendzimir et al., 2007). Unfortunately, these types of multi-functional agricultural matrices are not being fostered by current management practices. Although the EU Common Agricultural Policy seems to promote greening measures (Hart and Menadue, 2013), these new incentives are few and small. This leads to the abandonment of less profitable crops and practices in exchange for more intensive agricultural ones (e.g., intensive conventional olive groves). The “mosaic landscape” scenario can also be considered as the most resilient and adaptive in the face of the uncertainty associated with current patterns of global change. It closely resembles the Adaptive Mosaic from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment scenarios (Cork et al., 2005), which results in a multi-functional landscape based on the maintenance of traditional and local knowledge, the strengthening of local institutions, and investments in human and social capital, thus acknowledging the importance of resilience, fragility, and the local flexibility of ecosystems. The spatial complexity and heterogeneity associated with landscape mosaics allows the co-existence of multiple habitats and ecological niches that favour biodiversity and the supply of a wide range of ecosystem services. This adaptive mosaic also increases ecological connectivity, which is essential for ecological resilience (Pineda and Schmitz, 2011). Unfortunately, this multifunctional mosaic was perceived as the most difficult to achieve by local stakeholders, who consider it as the least plausible. To redirect the future to this scenario or another more desirable one, many changes should occur: changes in power relationships, in the main drivers of change, in the top-down flows of planning and management decision-making, and in the mentality of the people of Sierra Morena. Mostly, local stakeholders still think “the future is not in their hands”, and so they continue to see the multifunctional “Mosaic landscape” scenario as a utopian situation, something unattainable although highly desired. Participatory SMCE, like the one developed here, may contribute to the empowerment of local communities and the stimulation of their local identity, two factors that are vital for the maintenance of multi-functional rural landscapes, either traditional or modern (García-Llorente et al., 2012).

5.2. Combining different methodological frameworks and participatory tools to inform landscape planning: strengths and weaknesses Introducing a socio-cultural approach within the social-ecological systems framework has been considered critical for developing effective territorial planning of cultural landscapes (Martín-López et al., 2014), taking into account that stakeholders are the ultimate “sculptors” of these landscapes through their traditional and local knowledge and management practices (Blondel, 2006). In our case study, the combination of social multicriteria evaluation techniques with the ecosystem services framework has demonstrated to be suitable for understanding the current drivers of change, the future trends of land use change, and their potential effects for society. SMCE processes, extensively used for trade-off analyses in participatory landscape planning (Munda, 2005), facilitate addressing complex problems (i.e., high degrees of uncertainty and multiple interests at stake) by combining a mixed set of both qualitative and quantitative information and by including multiple stakeholders’ views in the evaluation process. In our particular case study, by including ES as criteria for evaluation within the SMCE process, we made clearly visible to all stakeholders, independently of their expert knowledge, the multiple benefits provided by ecosystems. It also allowed us to interact with stakeholders in a co-learning process to link such benefits to their own needs and expectations of wellbeing at individual and community scale. Our integrated approach has also highlighted the trade-offs between ES provided by different ecosystems at different spatial scales and also according to the different socioeconomic interests of stakeholder groups (Bernués et al., 2016). Assessing the potential impacts of land use changes in connection to stakeholder perceptions of ES enhances governance legitimacy (Langemeyer et al., 2016). Additionally, most ecosystem services have the characteristics of commons or public goods, and the best option to analyse the trade-offs among them is the use of participatory social multicriteria assessments (Garmendia et al., 2012). Further, we have combined social multicriteria evaluations with an innovative participatory tool for landscape planning: the scenario analysis (Oteros-Rozas et al., 2015). Scenarios, as simplified descriptions of how the future may develop based on a set of assumptions about key driving forces, have facilitated mutual understanding among stakeholders with different interests at stake, encouraging the search for a shared vision of how the landscape should look like. The participatory development and characterization of plausible alternative futures has 483

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options under different drivers), they only receive by experts a final ranking. Thus, it usually remains obscure for them how the results were generated and the mathematical procedure behind the ranking of alternatives. To minimise this limitation, in our study case, the stakeholders were involved along the entire process in several iterative validations of results. Despite all the weaknesses acknowledged above, we believe that the integration of the ES framework with SMCE, using scenario analysis to build the different alternatives to be assessed, offers a very innovative and useful approach to guide participatory landscape planning and inform decision-making processes. In summary, the combination of these different frameworks and methodological tools in our study case has (a) allowed us to deal well with a scarcity of scientific information and cartography of ecosystem services flows, which are necessary to test the effects of different management alternatives on ES supply; (b) promoted the involvement of decision makers in a proactive sciencemanagement participatory dialogue that brings together existing experimental and experiential knowledge regarding ES trends; (c) facilitated the integration of conflicting stakeholder perspectives to comprehensively address the trade-offs between ecological, social and economic values; and (d) encouraged a more holistic understanding of the functioning of the landscape, which is necessary to build robust models of territorial planning that address the most socially desired landscape configuration in terms of supplying multiple ES.

also helped to uncover social perceptions about ES and envision potential future management options (Martín-López et al., 2012). The combination of SMCE and scenario analysis has facilitated the involvement of local stakeholders, decision makers and experts with specific skills in a proactive science-management dialogue in a transparent way (Palomo et al., 2011; Ravera et al., 2011). It has also facilitated conflict analysis and the identification of possible stakeholders’ coalitions for improving future landscape planning (e.g., the potential alliance between the livestock-forestry group and the environmental conservation group that shared similar views). Another important methodological contribution of this research is the dual approach we have used, combining a MCE based on social perceptions with a MCE based on biophysical criteria. First, the integration of local perceptions and scientific information created more reliable but also more robust knowledge, overcoming the limitations of data collected only by biophysical assessment. Second, both analyses, remarkably, provided a very similar final ranking of scenarios, particularly regarding the assessment of best and worst alternatives. These results reinforce the idea that social perceptions are based in strong experiential and realistic knowledge and should have more influence on territorial planning processes, particularly when there is a scarcity of robust scientific information and cartography of ecosystem services flows (Martín-López et al., 2012; García-Nieto et al., 2013). However, caution is needed, as our results also show the existence of important differences in how the intermediate alternatives are ranked socially and biophysically, and particularly in how certain ecosystem services are assessed (e.g., erosion control usually receives high scores through stakeholders’ perceptions, when the biophysical evaluation shows that this service is very degraded in most land uses). Despite the strengths mentioned above, the combination of SMCE and ES assessment, and its potential applicability as an operational tool in participatory landscape planning, still faces some limitations that should be acknowledged. In particular, it remains challenging how to integrate cross-scale interactions when dealing with multiple spatial scales of ES supply and demand (Langemeyer et al., 2016). Further, an issue of representativeness and legitimacy always exists in SMCE, as it is not possible to capture all individual preferences in the whole population (Hanley, 2001). Although in our study case we made a huge effort to invite all institutions and economic sectors, we cannot ensure that all the interests at stake were evenly represented. Related to this point, power asymmetries appear as a largely ignored blind spot in participatory ES assessments that may lead to biased evaluations, even when the different stakeholder values and interests are taken into account (Berbés-Blázquez et al., 2016). It can also be considered as a limitation the fact that social values are always dynamic and, thus, stakeholder preferences on the different alternatives may change over time (Oikonomou et al., 2011). In our study case, for example, it is clear that stakeholders’ perception regarding impact of olive grove intensification has changed a lot in the recent past, and it is now changing again as a result of increased environmental awareness and fluctuations in olive oil markets. There is also an important issue related to the fact that many multicriteria evaluation methods frame decisions as trade-offs, and thus might not be appropriated when combined with ES used as criteria, because they are not capable of dealing with incommesurability (e.g., between cultural and provisioning services) (Saarikoski et al., 2016). In our case, we have used NAIADE, which is not affected by this limitation as the procedure considers incommensurable values explicitly by allowing adjustment of the degree of compensability in the aggregation of the different criteria (Munda, 1995). Finally, another important weakness, not yet solved by this work, is the “opaqueness” for stakeholders of the process behind the final alternative ranking, even when used in combination with the ES framework (Stirling, 2006). While stakeholders might contribute to the definition and scoring of criteria (i.e. important and vulnerable ES) and alternatives (i.e. future scenarios of land use changes and management

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