Promoting ecological restoration at a scale commensurate with international sustainability commitments requires coherent policies and multi-stakeholder approaches. Since the recognition of agricultural multi-functionality in 1996, several policies have been introduced in Switzerland to balance rural development, food security, and environmental objectives. The lessons learnt after 20-odd years of implementation can guide future land management decisions. This paper, which originates from the Europe-wide research undertaken for the EU-supported SUPER-G project (SUstainable PERmanent Grassland: https://www.super-g.eu/), focuses on the effects of Swiss agro-environmental policies on sustainable permanent grasslands in the country. We use a socio-ecological systems approach and stakeholder analysis to assess the outcomes of policy instruments on grassland biodiversity, ecosystem services and farmers’ income. The data comprise a qualitative analysis of official policy documents and grey literature as well as semi-structured interviews with key Swiss stakeholders. Preliminary results show that better ecological outcomes could have been achieved and trade-offs mitigated with more integrated and inclusive solutions. These findings can improve the calibration of policy instruments to enable land managers to restore and maintain permanent grasslands in good condition. Questions of applicability and upscaling to other bio-geographical regions and socio-economic contexts further reveal the need for integrated monitoring and assurance systems for investors, land managers, and consumers.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Society for Ecological Restoration