Management of ecological entities in agricultural landscapes is often challenged by a complex ownership structure governed by a cadastral system dictated by agricultural interests and historical land use practices. The cadastral division is suspected to obstruct the deliverance of ecosystem services (ES) from the landscape. The objective of this analysis is to quantify the cadastral fragmentation of selected landscape-scale ES. Contiguous ecological units and landscape entities as designated in Danish municipal planning were analyzed. The designations comprised the existing ES represented by EU Natura 2000 areas, drinking water protection areas and valuable landscapes, and potential ES in areas designated for potential wetlands, afforestation and recreational trails. In each designated area the cadastral structure in terms of number of units, size, and number of affected properties was analyzed. In all cases a large number of rather small (mean area <10 ha) cadastral units with different owners characterize the designated areas providing particular ES. Accordingly large numbers of properties were affected by the designations. The reasons for the high numbers of cadastral units pertain to the historical background of the cadaster as a tool of optimizing agricultural production. This suggests inherited difficulties in imposing a uniform management regime in cases where regulatory tools are dependent on the attitude of the individual land owner. Difficulties are also arising in situations where potential ES are to be unfolded in spatial explicit contexts; all landowners must be aligned in terms of new regulation if the particular service is to be released simultaneously and uniformly in a spatial defined area. It is concluded that sound ecosystem and landscape management that follows boundaries defined by natural phenomenon is impeded by cadastral divisions.
Ecological Modelling, 2015, Vol 295, Issue Special issue, p. 176-187