DOI: 10.3390/resources12090099 ISSN:

A Comprehensive Approach to Assess the Impact of Agricultural Production Factors on Selected Ecosystem Services in Poland

Waldemar Bojar, Wojciech Żarski, Renata Kuśmierek-Tomaszewska, Jacek Żarski, Piotr Baranowski, Jaromir Krzyszczak, Krzysztof Lamorski, Cezary Sławiński, Konstadinos Mattas, Christos Staboulis, Dimitrios Natos, Ahmet Ali Koç, Ahmet Bayaner, Álvaro Ojeda Roldán, Obdulia Parra Rivero
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

The conservation of environmental resources is aimed at ensuring the continuity of ecosystem services for future generations and maintaining ecosystem integrity. Given the extensive reliance of agriculture on the environment, it is crucial to identify factors that impact the quality of ecosystem services (ESs), which can be regulated at large and heterogeneous national or European scales. This research, conducted within the Polish use case of the AGRICORE project, aims to demonstrate the feasibility of establishing indicators depicted in three ES categories, which can be shaped under the actions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The study was conducted based on national sources, mostly the database of the Central Statistical Office. The analyses of regression showed a significant impact of selected agricultural productivity factors on the key performance indicators (KPIs) assessing the level of selected ESs. The yield of cereal grains, which quantitatively expresses the potential of current crop production, depended to the greatest extent (r = 0.81) on a comprehensive indicator of the agricultural production space suitability, as well as on the rise of the level of nitrogen fertilization (r = 0.68), and also on the reduced share of permanent grassland in the agricultural area (r = −0.53). It was proved that in territorial units, in which the level of nitrogen fertilization per 1 ha was greater, the share of soils with favorable pH > 5.5 was also greater. The gross nitrogen balance had a positive and significant correlation with the level of investment subsidies (r = 0.86), the share of agricultural land in the total area (r = 0.67), and the level of nitrogen fertilization (r = 0.66). Notably, there were positive correlations between the level of environmental subsidies and the increase in forestation (r = 0.68) and also between air quality and the share of cereals in the sowing structure (r = 0.86). Additionally, the impact of agricultural productivity factors on cultural eco-services was found, e.g., the share of ecological land had a positive impact on the number of natural monuments, the area of nature reserves, the number of agritourists, and agritourism nights, while the share of cereals in the sowing structure negatively correlated with the most of analyzed cultural indicators. These results are useful for the development of a module for the ABM model that employs the desired environmental parameters to provide different assessments of the impact of selected agricultural productivity factors and ecosystem services on the economic farm status.

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