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Open AccessArticle

Beyond Biodiversity Conservation: Land Sharing Constitutes Sustainable Agriculture in European Cultural Landscapes

1
Division of Agroecology, Department of Crop Science, Georg-August University Göttingen, Grisebachstrasse 6, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2
Institute of Ecology, Faculty of Sustainability, Leuphana University, Universitätsallee 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1395; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051395
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 23 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture: The State of the Great Debates)
While the academic land sharing–land sparing debate peaked in the recognition that neither strategy alone may offer the best solution to integrate commodity production with biodiversity conservation, the lack of integrating the local realities of people and their cultural landscapes beyond mere biodiversity conservation is hampering the knowledge transfer from our scientific discourse to the policy agenda. Here, we focus on European cultural landscapes, which represent prime examples for the success but also the fragility of social-ecological agricultural systems that benefit from land sharing. In contrast, we challenge the effectiveness of land sparing for sustainable agriculture. Moreover, we question whether and how either sparing or sharing can actually be implemented on the ground. We conclude that creating and maintaining sharing systems nowadays is a normative choice that society can take. Based on this, we caution against the ongoing prioritization of optimizing the economic benefits perceived from such systems. We highlight the limitations of economic instruments to safeguard the multifunctionality of sharing landscapes. Taken together, we suggest that deliberations on the sparing–sharing discussion ought to be moved from a limited perspective on biodiversity towards a holistic consideration of landscapes as spaces that are shaped by and satisfy manifold aspects of human well-being, ranging from cultural to materialistic needs. View Full-Text
Keywords: agrobiodiversity; food security; landscape multi-functionality; normative values; spatial scales agrobiodiversity; food security; landscape multi-functionality; normative values; spatial scales
MDPI and ACS Style

Loos, J.; Von Wehrden, H. Beyond Biodiversity Conservation: Land Sharing Constitutes Sustainable Agriculture in European Cultural Landscapes. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1395.

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