Safe Operating Space

Research on strategies for long term safeguarding the biodiversity and the related functionality, resilience and adaptability of agricultural landscapes to possible futures is fragmented. The concept of a “Safe operating space” (SOS) was first developed on the global scale (→ planetary boundaries [e.g. biodiversity loss, climate change] define the space for sustainable development  with respect to the earth system - if boundaries are crossed, then important subsystems could shift into a new state, with potentially  disastrous consequences for humans). SALBES applies this concept to agricultural landscapes, and takes necessary expanding steps e.g. to cover socio-economic dimensions for effective biodiversity and ESS oriented governance of agricultural landscapes (Häyhä et al., 2016). This includes the combination of agricultural land use and the Green Infrastructure (GI), which can only be accomplished in cooperation with stakeholders. Consequently, three main components have to be developed and integrated:

i) the assessment of Green Infrastructure in an encompassing sense;

ii) adaptive management strategies for the landscape

and iii) a multi-actor approach (MAA) to facilitate both.

To develop a SOS towards long term safeguarding of biodiversity and related functionality, appropriate policies and practices are needed, able to respond to trends, including climate change.

On the picture below there can be identified significant planetary systems which are integrated in the planetary boundaries concept. Read the instructions under the picture to understand the concept and to recognize the extension of the current nature pollution and loss. 



The inner green shading represents the proposed safe operating space for nine planetary systems. The red wedges represent an estimate of the current position for each variable. The boundaries in three systems (rate of biodiversity loss, climate change and human interference with the nitrogen cycle), have already been exceeded.