Mediterranean landscapes under change: Combining social multicriteria evaluation and the ecosystem services framework for land use planning

The study was carried out in the Sierra Morena mountain range (Jaén), which presents a multifunctional Mediterranean cultural landscape composed of different land uses (dehesas, olive groves, pine forests, Mediterranean forests and scrublands). The landscape is undergoing a rapid process of land use change. Therefore, the involvement of local stakeholders through participatory processes is essential for proper landscape management and decision-making. In the study, we combine the Multicriteria Social Criteria Evaluation (SMCE) and ecosystem services frameworks for an assessment of possible future scenarios under different drivers of land use change, analysing how such changes would affect the people living in or making use of the services. Among four future scenarios, the so-called “mosaic landscape” scenario was widely recognised as the most desirable future landscape configuration for Sierra Morena, as it allows for the provision of a balanced flow of ecosystem services and reduces trade-offs and conflicts between ecosystem services. The combination of SMCE with the ecosystem services framework and future scenario analysis enables robust co-creation of knowledge and provides relevant information for participatory management of cultural landscapes and stakeholder relationships through a socially relevant but also rigorous methodology.

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