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Bertsch-Hoermann, B; Egger, C; Gaube, V; Gingrich, S.
(2021): Agroforestry trade-offs between biomass provision and aboveground carbon sequestration in the alpine Eisenwurzen region, Austria
REG ENVIRON CHANGE. 2021; 21(3), 77 FullText FullText_BOKU

Mountain agroecosystems deliver essential ecosystem services to society but are prone to climate change as well as socio-economic pressures, making multi-functional land systems increasingly central to sustainable mountain land use policy. Agroforestry, the combination of woody vegetation with crops and/or livestock, is expected to simultaneously increase provisioning and regulating ecosystem services, but knowledge gaps concerning trade-offs exist especially in temperate industrialized and alpine regions. Here, we quantify the aboveground carbon (C) dynamics of a hypothetical agroforestry implementation in the Austrian long-term socio-ecological research region Eisenwurzen from 2020 to 2050. We develop three land use scenarios to differentiate conventional agriculture from an immediate and a gradual agroforestry implementation, integrate data from three distinct models (Yield-SAFE, SECLAND, MIAMI), and advance the socio-ecological indicator framework Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP) to assess trade-offs between biomass provision and carbon sequestration. Results indicate that agroforestry strongly decreases HANPP because of a reduction in biomass harvest by up to - 47% and a simultaneous increase in actual net primary production by up to 31%, with a large amount of carbon sequestered in perennial biomass by up to 3.4 t C ha(-1) yr(-1). This shows that a hypothetical transition to agroforestry in the Eisenwurzen relieves the agroecosystem from human-induced pressure but results in significant trade-offs between biomass provision and carbon sequestration. We thus conclude that while harvest losses inhibit large-scale implementation in intensively used agricultural regions, agroforestry constitutes a valuable addition to sustainable land use policy, in particular when affecting extensive pastures and meadows in alpine landscapes.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Bertsch-Hörmann Bastian
Egger Claudine-Caroline
Gaube Veronika
Gingrich Simone
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Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Mountain agriculture
Land use policy
Ecosystem services
Long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER)

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