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Multifunctional Agriculture: Harnessing Biodiversity for Sustaining Agricultural Production and Ecosystem Services. Strong Research Environment 2010–2015.

The research environment SAPES was officially finalized in December 2015, but our research on biodiversity and ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems continues in other projects.

SAPES is a research environment combining ecological and socio-economic research. Our goals are to increase the understanding of interactions between farmer’s choices, agricultural land-use, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and to create state-of-the-art decision support tools to aid adaptive governance of agro-ecosystems.

Our aim is to understand how land-use and farm management affect farmland biodiversity and thus, ecosystem services. We are also interested to learn more about the factors influencing farmer’s decision making. This information will then be used to generate agri-environment schemes that are better adapted to benefit farmers, biodiversity and ecosystem services. Finally, we will provide decision-makers with support tools that can be used to guide the development towards more applicable and implementable measures and schemes that benefit ecosystem services.

SAPES is a collaboration between Lund University, Stockholm University and the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala. Together we develop a strong research environment working for a sustainable agriculture where biodiversity and ecosystem services are managed as assets to society.

SAPES as a strong research environment is financed for the five-year period 2010–2015 by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS and involves about 30 researchers and 20 PhD students from ecology, agronomy and economy.

We welcome you to browse through this webpage and to learn more about SAPES and our research!

Vision and objectives

SAPES vision is that the scientific knowledge and tools produced by our research environment will be used for guiding the development of a sustainable agriculture where biodiversity and ecosystem services are managed as assets to society. Our integration of knowledge of ecological and socio-economic processes at scales from farms to regions will result in several synergies.

First we determine consequences of agricultural land-use at multiple scales on biodiversity, to understand trade-offs and synergies among ecosystem services.

Secondly, interactions among organisms producing ecosystem services are examined, for example between above- and below-ground organisms and different trophic levels.

Thirdly, we explore win-win opportunities for integrating biodiversity conservation with agricultural production to benefit ecosystem services.

Fourthly, land use modelling based on farmers' decision-making under different governance regimes is improved through interaction with stakeholders and mutual learning.

Finally, we combine economic and ecological modelling to value ecosystem services and predict how alternative governance regimes will affect future land use and ecosystem services under different scenarios about the future.

Our interdisciplinary approach integrates the chain governance–land use–landscape structure–biodiversity–ecosystem services, to create state-of-the-art decision support tools to aid adaptive governance of agro-ecosystems.

Three themes within SAPES

To achieve this goal, our work is divided into three themes.

  • Theme 1 focuses on the ecological processes and links between agricultural land-use, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • In theme 2, we want to understand farmers’ land-use decisions, how they are influenced by different governance regimes and how this feeds back to ecosystem service functioning.
  • Finally, theme 3 brings together results from theme 1 and 2 in a synthesis work used to develop state-of-the-art decision support tools for policy makers and stakeholders.

The work within each of the themes is based on relevant previous and ongoing research and brought forward by enhanced effort on synthesis studies. An additional important function of SAPES is to support this work by providing databases, training, dissemination and stakeholder interactions.

Read more about each theme

Theme 1 
Synergies and trade-offs between agricultural production and delivery of multiple ecosystem services

Theme 2 
Understanding land-use decisions: Economic valuation and governance of agricultural landscapes

Theme 3 
Contributing to adaptive governance of agro-ecosystems: Synthesize research results into state-of-the-art decision tools