Background information

The central aim of this research programme was to assess the effects of climate change and adaptive strategies (i.e. sets of concrete adaptation measures) on agriculture, nature and other land-use functions in the rural landscape of the Netherlands. To achieve this aim, this research focused on four case study areas, using two climate scenario and one plausible socio-economic scenario. We investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of adaptation strategies, in close cooperation with the stakeholders. These strategies are meant to:

    • achieve a climate proof ecological structure that allows meeting high standard climate proof nature targets
    • Give positive perspectives to agriculture, the drinking water sector and other land-use functions
    • Optimize the overall functionality of the landscape, in terms of water management, biodiversity, agriculture, drinking water and recreation

We predicted the autonomous developments of hydrology, nature and agriculture under a range of future conditions. These conditions comprise two contrasting climate scenarios. Furthermore, the conditions are defined by a number of region-specific policy options concerning spatial planning, drainage, water prices, etc. These options have been defined together with the stakeholders. Policy recommendations are formulated, following an integrated impact assessment of the autonomous adaptation strategies under the various policy options. Read the summary (pdf), the scientific aspects (pdf) and the societal aspects (pdf) of this research.

The work packages

The programme consists of three work packages (WP). The first WP (WP1), "Integration: multifunctional adaptation to climate change" (pdf), is the coordinating and integrating work package. In WP1 contacts with the regional case studies and the project scenario development has been coordinated. Future land use and management maps had been created using Agent-Based Modelling, whereby the actors are farmers and nature managers. These land use and management maps have feed the remaining projects in WP2 and WP3.
WP2 is "Water and biodiversity in the future climate" (pdf). The impacts of climate change on the water balance, vegetation and population dynamics have been studied and adaptation strategies have been proposed. The spatial and abiotic requirements for adaptation measures have been quantified and attitudes of nature managers towards adaptation options have been explored. Questions answered are: Which adaptive measures in policy, nature and water management are feasible options to help eliminate potential climate change threats and create opportunities for nature development?
WP3 is "Drivers and consequences of adaptation by farmers" (pdf). The driving factors behind adaptation strategies for different farm types have been analyzed. Questions answered are: What are the consequences of agricultural adaptation strategies to climate, market and environment and how can ecosystem services provided by farmers contribute to water and nature adaptation?  

Hotspots and other stakeholders involved

The hotspots that have committed themselves to this programme are the following:

    • Hotspot Shallow waters and peat meadow areas
    • Hotspot Dry rural areas
    • Hotspot South-West Netherlands Delta
    • Hotspot Wadden Sea

Stakeholders are involved at many levels and at all stages of the research:

    • on individual level (farmers and nature managers), and co-operations of individual stakeholders and companies (LTO and Natuurmonumenten; drinking water companies)
    • governmental institutions (Staatsbosbeheer, provinces, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency The Netherlands (PBL), and water boards / STOWA), ministries (LNV, VROM, and V&W).

Currently the following stakeholders have already expressed their interest in our proposal:

    • the provinces of Zuid-Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Noord-Brabant
    • Water board Aa en Maas
    • Drinking water companies Brabant Water and Vitens
    • Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality