PhD defence: Mario Torralba – Københavns Universitet

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PhD defence: Mario Torralba

Mario Torralba defends his thesis,

Analysis of ecosystem service supply, trade-offs and social-ecological interactions in European wood-pastures

Professor Dr. Tobias Plieninger, IGN

Assessment Committee:
Professor Lynn Huntsinger, UC Berkeley - USA
Assistant Professor Berta Martín-López, Leuphana University - Germany
Professor Henrik Vejre (chair), IGN

Wood-pastures are complex social-ecological systems that host multiple values and provide a wide range of ecosystem services. However, their current management in Europe is shifting from traditional towards more intensive farm models while wood-pasture surface is declining throughout the continent.
The thesis systematically reviews how the ecosystem service framework has been used to assess European wood-pastures and other agroforestry systems and the outcomes these assessments have achieved.
Further, based on a specific wood-pasture dominated landscape in the Southwest of Spain, diverse biophysical and sociocultural approaches are employed to assess ecosystem service supply at the farm and landscape scales.
All previous work is integrated into a cross-site social-ecological analysis of ecosystem services supply and trade-offs in four distinctive oak-based wood-pasture dominated landscapes across Europe (Östergötland in Sweden, Southern Transylvania in Romania, Llanos de Trujillo in Spain and La Serena in Spain).
The thesis provides an understanding of the dynamics and mechanisms interacting in the generation of ecosystem services in European wood-pastures, and the factors that govern this supply. The results show that wood-pastures offer a wide range of ecosystem services, which is due to, on the one hand, the high multifunctionality that characterizes them and, on the other hand, the multiple socio-cultural values they host. However, the specific interactions between the social and ecological components and their outcomes rely highly on the place-based and context-related properties of the social-ecological system.
There is potential to design sustainability policies that foster and promote the values of wood-pastures in Europe. To do so,  a holistic and transdisciplinary approach is needed that considers the complexity of the system and goes beyond simplistic win-win assumptions, while allowing flexible policies that can be adapted to the different and changing regional contexts.

The thesis is available for inspection at the PhD administration office 04.1.413 at Øster Voldgade 10