Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Climate change effects on land use and ecosystems: Socio-economic scenarios for the CEECs

The methodology and scenarios developed by the research team of ACCELERATES were extended to Central and Eastern Europe, considering their different historical background and non homogeneity of transition process and EU integration. A hierarchical approach with 3 levels (EU Global, EU Agricultural Sector, and regional (NUTS, NUTS2 and/or NUTS3 level) was used in the development of socio-economic scenarios for the years 2020, 2050 and 2080.

The global driving forces were based on the scenario storylines described in Special Report on Emission Scenarios. The SRES storylines do not describe explicitly the decision-making structure, institutions and type of government, but the project took these into consideration for the CEECs due to their historical importance.

Key drivers (28 variables) that shape future agricultural land use were identified, including groups of drivers as follows: geographical situation, economy and policy, agricultural policy, resource competition, EU accession, role of international institutions, technological innovation and deployment, development of infrastructure, market demand and supply.

On the third level the following indicators were examined for the present current situation:
- Structure of economy, local economic importance of agriculture;

- Share of utilised agricultural are and its structure (share of arable, permanent pasture, semi-natural grassland, mountain grassland area, area of organic production);

- The farm structure, the production mix;

- Yields and the prices of major products, availability, prices and quality of the most important production factors utilised by farmers;

- Productivity and efficiency of resources use, trend in input-output ratio and farm income, trend in use of chemicals, in nitrogen balances of soil and so on.

All available indicators were compared with their own before transition, with the same indicators of other CEECs countries and with those of the EU-15. Analysis included a systematic investigation of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of regions under the current situation and for different time horizons in different future scenario assumptions. The results also demonstrated weaknesses in the comparability of agricultural statistics in the CEECs.

Considering that agriculture in the CEECs is not homogenous, the main drivers in a region were selected by the local, sector experts or stakeholders. The similarities, but also differences between the old members of the EU and the CEECs were identified. The results make it evident that general economic development is more important for structural change in land use than the economic situation in the agricultural sector itself. This is also likely to hold for the future. Countries with low GDP per capita tend to have a higher role of agriculture in the GDP and employment.

A decline in economic indicators can be found as the distance increases to the EU border area (the western part of the CEECs) or to capital, and large cities. Due to less developed industry and underdeveloped infrastructure and, a larger share of rural areas, with expected net migration into the urban area, more land is required for road and building comparing to the EU-15 in all scenarios. During the transition period agriculture in the CEECs has suffered more than other sectors.

Lack of capital, outdated machinery, low productivity and subsistence and semi-subsistence farms (especially in Romania and Poland), inadequate farm size, uncertainties in landownership, and under developed land markets create a barrier to the adaptation to change over the longer term. Because of this, the year 2020 was considered a transition year, and the scenarios included mechanisms for how to get to the future.

An interesting result was the impact of the food chain as an important driver in all CEECs. Whilst in the 2020 scenarios the policy and market drivers were dominant, in the scenarios of 2050 and 2100, technical development, growth and breakdown of population, and environmental issues were considered to be more important driving forces. It was shown that some factors, which now seem to be barriers to development, would become stimulators later. Because of the low levels or lack of basic infrastructure, these are the main issues for the future viability and competitiveness of the CEECs.

The role of WTO depends on international trade. Most of the CEECs face the problem of ill-defined property rights and its influence on agricultural practice. The direction of change in some model parameters is diverse between the old members of the EU and the CEECs due to differences in the baseline, for example, the trend in fertilizer and pesticide use and the level of subsidy measured by PSE.

The results provide a qualitative description of the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of CEEC regions.

More information on the QUILT project can be found at:

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Szent Istvan University
Pater K. u. 1.
2103 Gödöllõ
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