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ALPSCAPE: Vulnerability of the Alpine landscape and Habitat

Year of publication2005
Author(s)Peter Bebi
Co-authorsWalz A., Kytzia S., Lundstroem C., Lardelli C., Regamey A.
Publication typeJournal, booklet
As Alpine natural systems are fragile and interactions between landscape, ressources and economy of such regions are complex, integral tools to evaluate potential future land-use and development options would be highly valuable. The project ALPSCAPE aimed at developing an integrated modeling framwork to deduce scenarios of future development in Alpine regions. For the study area „Landschaft Davos“ we linked models of the landscape (regression based models), of resources (SFA/EFA) and of the economy (IOT-Tables). To deduce scenarios of future developments until 2050 and changes of sustainability indicators we involved local actors and wrote “storylines”, in which we introduced results of the numeric models. The assumptions of the three main scenarios addressed in this study included 1) a stop of national agriculture subsidies, 2) a climate change scenario and 3) the organisation of a Mega Sport Event in Davos. We deduced global indicators for the whole region, but calculated and monetarized also spatially explicit changes of ecosystem services for the three main scenarios. Beside these scenarios we evaluated additional tourist development strategies for the study area. The system of the Landschaft Daovs is in its current state highly dependent on tourism demand and shows various isolation effects between the management of regional natural resources and the rest of the economy. Current landscape changes are driven by a drastic increase of forest cover and settlement area. With the assumthion of the scenario “Stop of agriculture subsidies” the forest cover would further increase by c. 26% until 2050. The relatively marginal direct economic loss (-2% factore income) stand in contrast to significant changes of ecosystem services and other indicators of sustainabiliy. Among those, the self-sufficiency rate for food would decrease from 27% to 7 or 0% dependent on assumtions about the demand wihin the Landschaft Davos for local products. The scenario “climate change” may have - from all considered scenarios – the highest impact on the economy with a potential loss of 10% in factor income and jobs in Davos, if the area looses its assurance of snow until 2050. The economic consequences of the scenario “Mega Sport Event” over a time period of 25 years (including pre- and post phase of the event) are limited and concentrated in a peak during the year of the event, while environmental effects may be considerable. The effect of the scenario on several indicators depend strongly on assumptions about the effects on the long-term reputation of the host-city and on the use of regional ressources for the necessary investments. A comparison of alternative development strategies for the tourism in Davos shows a high potential of meausures which decrease seasonality and a poor sustainabilty effect of vacation rentals and secondary homes. The project shows a high potential of integrative, transdisciplinary approaches to valuate different development strategies in Alpine regions. Thus, the modeling framework may be valuable for decision-makers to evaluate advantages and disadvantages of different development options and select sustainable and economic feasible strategies. Similar integrative approaches, which link models of the landscape, of resources and of the economy, seem promising for various other Alpine regions and with respect to other aspects of sustainability.