Planning and Design for Sustainable Places Lab

 

Contact:

Davide Geneletti

via Mesiano, 77 I-38123 Trento, Italy

davide.geneletti@unitn.it

Phone: +39 0461 282685

 

   authors: 

 

A. Grêt-Regamey

 

B. Weibel

 

K. J.  Bagstad

 

M. Ferrari

 

D. Geneletti

 

H. Klugh

 

U. Schirpke

 

U. Tappeiner

 

   journal: 

 

PlosOne, 12

 

   links: 

On the Effects of Scale for Ecosystem Services Mapping.

 

Abstract

 

Ecosystems provide life-sustaining services upon which human civilization depends, but their degradation largely continues unabated. Spatially explicit information on ecosystem services (ES) provision is required to better guide decision making, particularly for mountain systems, which are characterized by vertical gradients and isolation with high topographic complexity, making them particularly sensitive to global change. But while spatially explicit ES quantification and valuation allows the identification of areas of abundant or limited supply of and demand for ES, the accuracy and usefulness of the information varies considerably depending on the scale and methods used. Using four case studies from mountainous regions in Europe and the U.S., we quantify information gains and losses when mapping five ES - carbon sequestration, flood regulation, agricultural production, timber harvest, and scenic beauty - at coarse and fine resolution (250 m vs. 25 m in Europe and 300 m vs. 30 m in the U.S.). We analyze the effects of scale on ES estimates and their spatial pattern and show how these effects are related to different ES, terrain structure and model properties. ES estimates differ substantially between the fine and coarse resolution analyses in all case studies and across all services. This scale effect is not equally strong for all ES. We show that spatially explicit information about non-clustered, isolated ES tends to be lost at coarse resolution and against expectation, mainly in less rugged terrain, which calls for finer resolution assessments in such contexts. The effect of terrain ruggedness is also related to model properties such as dependency on land use-land cover data. We close with recommendations for mapping ES to make the resulting maps more comparable, and suggest a four-step approach to address the issue of scale when mapping ES that can deliver information to support ES-based decision making with greater accuracy and reliability.

 

 

   authors: 

   journal: 

 

Journal of Transport Geography, 39:21-35

 

   links: 

Assessing the effects of access policies on travel mode choices in an Alpine tourist destination.

 

Abstract

 

Alternative Transportation Systems (ATS) can contribute to an overall reduction of visitation-related impacts in natural areas if their design and management are informed by a clear understanding of the factors influencing visitors’ mode choice. This is particularly relevant in areas served by multiple alternative transportation options at different locations because mode choices in this case can largely modify visitation patterns. This study investigated mode choices in a popular hiking area of the Dolomites (Italian Alps) that is reachable by car, bus, and lifts (i.e. cable car and chairlift). A stated preference survey was used to elicit visitor sensitivities to a series of management and experiential conditions, while simulation was applied to predict mode choice as a consequence of various access policies. While indicating lift as the most preferred transportation option, results suggest the existence of two main kinds of visitor: one preferring road-accessible trailheads and another preferring lift-accessible trailheads. These two kinds seem to reflect a traditional view (i.e., very sensitive to fares, road closures, and overcrowding) and a more modern one (i.e., moderately sensitive to lift fares, relatively insensitive to crowding), respectively. Simulations performed for both groups led to four management principles: road traffic is not reduced significantly without disincentives for car use; overly cheap lift fares are counterproductive; fare-frequency trade-off is key to ensure adequate bus ridership within both groups; and road closures may be comprehensively more effective than road tolls. The findings of this study may support managers and administrators in setting up access policies that better preserve natural resources and visitors’ recreational experience.

 

 

   authors: 

 

C. Zamorano-Elgueta

 

L. Cayuela

 

J. M. Rey-Benayas

 

P. J. Donoso

 

D. Geneletti

 

R. J. Hobbs

 

   journal: 

 

Ecosphere, 5(7):90

 

The differential influences of human-induced disturbances on tree regeneration community: a landscape approach.

 

Abstract

 

Understanding the processes shaping biological communities under interacting disturbances is a core challenge in ecology. Although the impacts of human-induced disturbances on forest ecosystems have been extensively studied, less attention has been paid to understanding how tree regeneration at the community level responds to such disturbances. Moreover, these previous studies have not considered how these effects change according to major social and environmental factors that can influence forest use at a landscape scale. In this study, we investigate the effects of cattle grazing and selective logging on the composition of tree regeneration communities in relation to forest successional stage and land tenure regime in Chilean temperate forests, a global biodiversity hotspot. We recorded seedlings, saplings and basal area of stumps of tree species (as a surrogate for selective logging), and number of cattle dung pats (as a surrogate for cattle pressure) in 129 25 x 20 m plots in small (<200 ha) and large properties in different successional stages (old-growth, intermediate, secondary forests). The regeneration of the ten more abundant species as predicted by human disturbance, land tenure, forest successional stage, and number of parent trees was modelled using generalised linear models. Predictions for each individual model were made under different scenarios of human disturbance. The predicted regeneration results were assembled and subjected to ordination analyses and permutation multivariate analyses of variance to determine differences in regeneration composition under each scenario. In most cases, best-fit models contained at least one of the explanatory variables accounting for human disturbance. The effects of selective logging on tree regeneration varied depending on land tenure regime, but cattle grazing always exhibited a negative effect. Our results revealed that cattle have a more negative effect on forest regeneration than selective logging, especially in old-growth forests and small properties. Our analytical approach contributes to the understanding of the differential influence of human-induced disturbances on the tree regeneration community at a landscape scale. It can inform conservation policies and actions, which should focus on addressing themain disturbance factors and on developing strategies to conserve the most sensitive species to such disturbances.

 

 

   authors: 

   journal: 

 

Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 32(1):17-18

 

   links: 

Integration of impact assessment types improves consideration of alternatives.

 

Abstract

 

Impact assessment should contribute to both the development of alternatives (‘design phase’) and their comparison (‘choice phase’). If impact assessment is fragmented into many specialist types, these two phases are inevitably carried out separately. This may be acceptable for the choice phase, but it is detrimental to the design phase, because a genuine and creative development of alternatives requires all expertise and values to be integrated. The paper argues this point and concludes that better integration is necessary to ensure that impact assessment adds more value to decision-making, by using all the relevant expertise throughout the different phases, and contributing to put forward more sustainable alternatives.

 

 

   authors: 

 

M. Ferrari

 

D. Geneletti

 

   journal: 

 

Annali di Botanica, 4:65-71

 

   links: 

Mapping and assessing multiple ecosystem services in an alpine region: A study in Trentino, Italy.

 

Abstract

 

This research aims to identify ecosystem services relevant for Trentino (a region in the Italian Alps), and to assess them through spatial indicators. 51 experts were involved in the identification of relevant ecosystem services and appropriate indicators to represent them. Indicators were computed using the database available at administrative level. Indicators represent the actual or the potential supply of ecosystem services, expressed in terms of either stock or flow. Moreover, indicators may refer to biophysical, economic or socio-cultural values. In total, the experts selected 25 ecosystem services and 57 assessment indicators. Accordingly, the selected indicators were mapped over different spatial units of ecosystem services representation, including land use and forest types. This research was the first attempt to assess a multiple set of ecosystem services for Trentino. The results provide new information that can be used to achieve the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy by 2014. The proposed approach can be reasonably extended to other Alpine areas with similar morphology, land cover and land use.

 

 

 

   authors: 

 

M. Demuzere

 

K. Orru

 

O. Heidrich

 

E. Olazabal

 

D. Geneletti

 

H. Orru

 

A. G. Bhave

 

N. Mittal

 

E. Feliu

 

M. Faehnle

 

   journal: 

 

Journal of Environmental Management, 146:107-115

 

Mitigating and adapting to climate change: Multi-functional and multi-scale assessment of green urban infrastructure.

 

Abstract

 

In order to develop climate resilient urban areas and reduce emissions, several opportunities exist starting from conscious planning and design of green (and blue) spaces in these landscapes. Green urban infrastructure has been regarded as beneficial, e.g. by balancing water flows, providing thermal comfort. This article explores the existing evidence on the contribution of green spaces to climate change mitigation and adaptation services. We suggest a framework of ecosystem services for systematizing the evidence on the provision of bio-physical benefits (e.g. CO2sequestration) as well as social and psychological benefits (e.g. improved health) that enable coping with (adaptation) or reducing the adverse effects (mitigation) of climate change. The multi-functional and multi-scale nature of green urban infrastructure complicates the categorization of services and benefits, since in reality the interactions between various benefits are manifold and appear on different scales. We will show the relevance of the benefits from green urban infrastructures on three spatial scales (i.e. city, neighborhood and site specific scales). We will further report on co-benefits and trade-offs between the various services indicating that a benefit could in turn be detrimental in relation to other functions. The manuscript identifies avenues for further research on the role of green urban infrastructure, in different types of cities, climates and social contexts. Our systematic understanding of the bio-physical and social processes defining various services allows targeting stressors that may hamper the provision of green urban infrastructure services in individual behavior as well as in wider planning and environmental management in urban areas.

   links: 

 

   authors: 

 

C. Fürst

 

P. Berry

 

D. Geneletti

 

A. Khamzina

 

S. Sanfo

 

   journal: 

 

Change and Adaptation in Socio-ecological Systems,1:35–39

 

Inaugural editorial.

 

Abstract

 

This inaugural editorial introduces the research topics addressed by the journal Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems (CASES). A recent literature analysis revealed that the amount of integrative, interand transdisciplinary research activities on climate and global change, adaptive strategies, actor behaviors and response opportunities has increased significantly in the last few decades. Also, research activities on major drivers for the change and adaptation of socio-ecological systems, namely climate change, socio-economic and political changes and technological development have increased considerably since the 1950s. A publication platform that allows for overarching perspectives, integrative viewpoints, and the exchange of ideas among related disciplines in Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) science is provided by the new journal CASES.

 

   links: 

 

   authors: 

 

D. Uribe

 

D. Geneletti

 

R. F. del Castillo

 

F. Orsi

 

   journal: 

 

Sustainability, 6(2):935-951

 

   links: 

Integrating Stakeholder Preferences and GIS-Based Multicriteria Analysis to Identify Forest Landscape Restoration Priorities

 

Abstract

 

A pressing question that arises during the planning of an ecological restoration process is: where to restore first? Answering this question is a complex task; it requires a multidimensional approach to consider economic constrains and the preferences of stakeholders. Being the problem of spatial nature, it may be explored effectively through Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) performed in a Geographical Information System (GIS) environment. The proposed approach is based on the definition and weighting of multiple criteria for evaluating land suitability. An MCDA-based methodology was used to identify priority areas for Forest Landscape Restoration in the Upper Mixtec region, Oaxaca (Mexico), one of the most degraded areas of Latin America. Socioeconomic and environmental criteria were selected and evaluated. The opinions of four different stakeholder groups were considered: general public, academic, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governmental officers. The preferences of these groups were spatially modeled to identify their priorities. The final result was a map that identifies the most preferable sites for restoration, where resources and efforts should be concentrated. MCDA proved to be a very useful tool in collective planning, when alternative sites have to be identified and prioritized to guide the restoration work.

 

 

 

   authors: 

 

E. Ianni

 

E. Silva Rivera 

 

D. Geneletti

 

   journal: 

 

Environment, Development and Sustainability, 16(6):1197-1208

 

   links: 

Sustaining cultural and biological diversity in rapidly changing communities: the revitalization of the Voladores ritual in northern Veracruz (Mexico).

 

Abstract

 

This paper aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on the protection of cultural and biological diversity, and their interconnectedness. It highlights the importance of understanding the dynamic and complex strategies that cultures are developing to protect their biocultural diversity in the face of the ongoing cultural, economic, and social reductionist transformations occurring worldwide. We analyze Totonac society in the present time, and provide evidence on how cultural revitalization processes are emerging from the grass roots, by focusing on the ceremony of the Voladores, a pre-Hispanic ritual performed by several indigenous groups in Mesoamerica. The preoccupation of Totonac communities to safeguard this millenary tradition fostered a process of dialogue, reinforced local institutions, and catalyzed the development of strategies to preserve a tree species and its habitat.

 

 

 

   authors: 

 

D. A. Rosas Vazques

 

D. Geneletti

 

F. Pena

Scenario modelling to support Strategic Environmental Assessment: Application to spatial planning of coastal wetlands in La Araucanía Region, Chile.

 

   journal: 

 

Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 16(2)

 

   links: 

Abstract

 

In order to support Strategic Environmental Assessment of spatial plans, different scenarios were developed for the future configuration of wetlands along the coast of La Araucanía Region for 2020. To assess each scenario, landscape metrics related to landscape dynamics and structure were used. The results indicate that in general terms the wetland cover diminished and fragmented under different scenarios, including one which was designed for the sustainability of natural areas. It is concluded that the techniques used were relatively easy to implement by means of GIS technologies, which facilitate spatially explicit modelling of future scenarios. Furthermore, landscape metrics were a key element for assessing the effects of each model. There are currently only few experiences on the use of spatially explicit scenarios in SEA and our research suggests that this may be a useful and valid tool for supporting spatial planning decisions.
 

 

 

 

   authors: 

 

L. Speziale

 

D. Geneletti

 

   journal: 

 

Ecological Processes, 3(1):10

 

   links: 

Applying an ecosystem services approach to support land-use planning. A case study in Koboko District, Uganda.

 

Abstract

 

This paper presents a case study of the application of an ecosystem services framework to support land-use planning. The district of Koboko, in northwestern Uganda, formed the study area. The overall purpose was to improve the understanding of links between human actions, their impact on ecosystems and the services they provide, and, ultimately, consequences for human wellbeing. The framework developed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was used as a main conceptual reference.

The analysis comprised four main stages: (1) identification of the main ecosystems and their services; (2) analysis of human wellbeing components, focusing on poverty issues; (3) assessment of the interrelations between ecosystem services and human wellbeing; (4) identification of the main drivers of change and development of future spatial development scenarios.

The scenarios were developed starting from the main drivers of change and show the dependency of human wellbeing on ecosystems services, identifying how spatial development strategies can affect that dependency. Quantitative information was not easily available, therefore scenario development made use of both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The results of qualitative and quantitative approaches were consistent, proving the strength and flexibility of the method.

Scenario results aim to provide guidance for local government land-use planning, focusing on the promotion of sustainability through ecosystem services preservation. The spatially explicit analysis illustrated how different policies affect urban development; it was clearly shown that even with very different demographic outcomes, the impact of sectorial policies guaranteed a good level of suitability for new residential areas.

 

 

   authors: 

 

D. Reckien

 

J. Flacke

 

R. J. Dawson

 

O. Heidrich

 

M. Olazabal

 

A. Foley

 

D. Geneletti

 

F. Pietrapertosa

 

   journal: 

 

Climatic Change, 122:331–340

 

   links: 

Climate change response in Europe : what’s the reality? Analysis of adaptation and mitigation plans from 200 urban areas in 11 countries.

 

Abstract

 

Urban areas are pivotal to global adaptation and mitigation efforts. But how do cities actually perform in terms of climate change response? This study sheds light on the state of urban climate change adaptation and mitigation planning across Europe. Europe is an excellent test case given its advanced environmental policies and high urbanization. We performed a detailed analysis of 200 large and medium-sized cities across 11 European countries and analysed the cities’ climate change adaptation and mitigation plans. We investigate the regional distribution of plans, adaptation and mitigation foci and the extent to which planned greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions contribute to national and international climate objectives. To our knowledge, it is the first study of its kind as it does not rely on self-assessment (questionnaires or social surveys). Our results show that 35 % of European cities studied have no dedicated mitigation plan and 72 % have no adaptation plan. No city has an adaptation plan without a mitigation plan. One quarter of the cities have both an adaptation and a mitigation plan and set quantitative GHG reduction targets, but those vary extensively in scope and ambition. Furthermore, we show that if the planned actions within cities are nationally representative the 11 countries investigated would achieve a 37 % reduction in GHG emissions by 2050, translating into a 27 % reduction in GHG emissions for the EU as a whole. However, the actions would often be insufficient to reach national targets and fall short of the 80 % reduction in GHG emissions recommended to avoid global mean temperature rising by 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.

 

 

 

   authors: 

 

C. Bragagnolo

 

D. Geneletti

 

   journal: 

 

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 57(1):50-77

 

   links: 

Dealing with land use decisions in uncertain contexts: a method to support Strategic Environmental Assessment of spatial plans.

 

Abstract

 

Predicting the environmental effects of spatial plans is made harder by the uncertainties affecting the future evolution of the planning region. Decisions contained in sectoral policies play a significant role, hence they need to be properly considered in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of spatial planning. A method to support SEA, based on the comparison of land use zoning options, under different sectoral policies, is developed and tested in the peri-urban region of Milan. Land use scenarios are generated and then assessed against a set of environmental indicators. The results showed the environmental consequences associated with poor co-ordination between spatial and sectoral decisions.

 

 

 

   authors: 

 

S. De Gregorio Hurtado

 

M. Olazabal

 

M. Salvia

 

F. Pietrapertosa

 

E. Olazabal

 

D. Geneletti

 

V. D’Alonzo

 

E. Feliú

 

S. Di Leo

 

D. Reckien 

 

Implications of governance structures in urban climate action: evidence from Italy and Spain.

 

Abstract

 

Cities are widely recognised as being pivotal to fight climate change. 
Cities magnify the drivers of climate change, experience the impacts and also concentrate the highest room for action. Given the 70% of the global emissions that cities are responsible for, national governments are unable to meet their international commitments for addressing mitigation and adaptation without the action and cooperation of cities. 
In turn, the capacity of local governments to address climate change is largely determined by the institutional architecture within which they are integrated. As a result, the relationship between the different arenas of authority and the integration of cities in national and international networks is considered critical in shaping the global capacity to govern climate change. This work aims to understand how multi-level climate governance and alliances of cities (national and
international) are influencing the climate change capacity and performance of municipalities. This has been done by focusing on two national contexts of the European Union, Italy and Spain, in which climate policy, multi-level governance frameworks, the effects of the national and international networks of cities, and the climate response of cities are analysed through an extensive review of scientific and grey literature, and institutional documents. The results concur with existing literature on the importance of constructing collaborative multi-level climate frameworks at the national scale, that fully integrate the local level, in order to support cities to develop consistent climate action and raise awareness of the responsibility they have in this policy field.

 

 

   journal: 

 

BC3 Working Paper Series 2014-02

 

   links: