Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Step 1: Identification of Jointness
De Groot's (2006) classification of functions from natural and semi-natural landscapes
distinguishes five categories of functions: regulation, habitat, production, information
and carrier functions. 4 What is particularly appealing in this approach is that:
The function categories are independent from each other. The functions provided
by the farms can be depicted in a coordinate system with categories of function as
axes; because these categories of functions are independent, the axes are orthogo-
nal, and thus distances can be measured between farms in this coordinate system.
There is a clear distinction between the functions, the ecosystems and compo-
nents involved in these functions, and the goods and services provided by these
functions (such a clear distinction is often ignored in the literature).
Jointness at the Farm Gate
At the farm level, starting from De Groot's work to identify the existence of multi-
functionality, the identification of jointness focuses on the supply of goods and ser-
vices at the farm level. We relied on studies that aim at assessing functions from Farm
Accountancy Data Network (FADN) data and expertise (Perret 2006) . Using this
expertise, identification of multifunctionality between an array of different economic,
environmental and social outputs can be systematically undertaken (Table 2.1 ).
The identification of jointness between various economic, environmental and
social characteristics associated with agriculture enables a basic comparison
between farms in terms of whether or not they exhibit multifunctionality character-
istics. Comparison and ranking of farms based on these attributes can therefore
serve as an indicator of multifunctionality. However, this binary approach does not
provide information as to whether particular characteristics are simply not exhib-
ited or are negatively affected by a particular production activity. Additionally, this
system cannot be used to identify whether characteristics are met and not met at
different levels of commodity production. This system of identification could be
extended to acknowledge these possibilities (Table 2.2 ).
To elaborate, a production activity yielding high quality agricultural products
(commodity outputs) could be associated with positive externalities like landscape
quality and negative externalities like the emission of air pollutants which reduces
environmental quality and the magnitude of these externalities could differ depending
on the magnitude of the commodity output. Although the essence of the multifunc-
tionality concept concerns joint production of goods and not bads, it is worthwhile
4 De Groot (2006) proposes to 'translate the ecological complexity into a more limited number of
ecosystem functions. These functions, in turn, provide the goods and services that are valued by
humans. (...) ecosystem functions are defined as “the capacity of natural processes and components
to provide goods and services that satisfy human needs, directly or indirectly”'.
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