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Scale sensitivity of drivers of environmental change across Europe

Tzanopoulos, J., Mouttet, R., Letourneau, A., Vogiatzakis, I. N., Potts, S. G. ORCID:, Henle, K., Mathevet, R. and Marty, P. (2013) Scale sensitivity of drivers of environmental change across Europe. Global Environmental Change, 23 (1). pp. 167-178. ISSN 0959-3780

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2012.09.002


The development of effective environmental management plans and policies requires a sound understanding of the driving forces involved in shaping and altering the structure and function of ecosystems. However, driving forces, especially anthropogenic ones, are defined and operate at multiple administrative levels, which do not always match ecological scales. This paper presents an innovative methodology of analysing drivers of change by developing a typology of scale sensitivity of drivers that classifies and describes the way they operate across multiple administrative levels. Scale sensitivity varies considerably among drivers, which can be classified into five broad categories depending on the response of ‘evenness’ and ‘intensity change’ when moving across administrative levels. Indirect drivers tend to show low scale sensitivity, whereas direct drivers show high scale sensitivity, as they operate in a non-linear way across the administrative scale. Thus policies addressing direct drivers of change, in particular, need to take scale into consideration during their formulation. Moreover, such policies must have a strong spatial focus, which can be achieved either by encouraging local–regional policy making or by introducing high flexibility in (inter)national policies to accommodate increased differentiation at lower administrative levels. High quality data is available for several drivers, however, the availability of consistent data at all levels for non-anthropogenic drivers is a major constraint to mapping and assessing their scale sensitivity. This lack of data may hinder effective policy making for environmental management, since it restricts the ability to fully account for scale sensitivity of natural drivers in policy design.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:33259
Uncontrolled Keywords:Scale Drivers of change Pressure Policy Environmental change Non-linearity

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