Impacts of land-use and management changes on cultural agroecosystem services and environmental conflicts—A global review

Ksenija Hanaček, Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd As an outcome of interactions and interdependencies with people, agroecosystems provide cultural ecosystem services (CES), such as traditional knowledge, recreation, and places for social gatherings. Today however, agroecosystems undergo biophysical changes because of land-use and management changes (LUMC), such as intensive agriculture, urbanisation, and land abandonment. Typically, environmental conflicts emerge between stakeholders with differing interests in land areas around the LUMC. Cumulatively, these changes and conflicts have substantial influence on the CES appreciation of the farmland, triggering different types of responses, including social mobilisation and resistance. A comprehensive analysis of these processes was missing in the literature. Here we present a systematic review of CES provided by agroecosystems at the global level, we explore their interconnections through network analysis, and analyse the interrelation between LUMC, CES and environmental conflicts. The review includes 155 peer-reviewed articles, representing empirical data from 81 countries. Twenty main categories of CES and their subcategories delivered by agroecosystems are identified. Through the network analysis we demonstrate how CES are interrelated, with agricultural heritage as a connecting core. In a comprehensive map, we further identify which LUMC types have influence upon specific CES categories, and what are the causes, outcomes of, and responses to environmental conflicts that emerge from these processes. CES and agroecosystems cannot be seen separately from one another, as a reflection of secular or recently-created relationships people have with their environments. While these relationships are dynamic, LUMC may lead to their impairment or even loss, with ensuing impacts on biocultural diversity. The resulting environmental conflicts push most frequently for greater participation of actors involved in farming, socio-cultural revalorisation of farmland activities and the promotion of multi-functionality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-59
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Agroecosystems
  • Cultural ecosystem services
  • Environmental conflicts
  • Land-use management changes


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