30 May 2022
30 May 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Transforming “Living Labs” into: ”Lighthouses”: a promising policy to achieve land-related sustainable development?

Johan Bouma1, Johan Bouma
  • 1Wageningen University, 6708 Wageningen, the Netherlands
  • retired

Abstract. The until that time rather abstract debate about sustainable development has been focused by introducing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and the related European Green Deal in 2019. Restricting attention to agriculture, proposed targets and indicators are, however, not specific enough to allow a focus for developing innovative and sustainable management practices. Clarity is needed because farmers are suspicious of Governmental actions defining environmental rules and regulations. The European policy arena has recognized this problem and has presented the Mission concept that requires joint learning between farmers, scientists and citizens. For the soil Mission, “Living Labs” are proposed that should evolve into: “Lighthouses” when environmental thresholds for each of at least six land-related ecosystem services,are met. This presents “wicked” problems that can be “tamed” by measuring ecosystem services in a given :”Living Lab” that are associated with the land-related SDGs. Thresholds with a regional character are needed to seperate the “good” from the “not good enough”. Contributions by the soil to ecosystem services can be expressed by assessing soil health. By introducing the Mission concept, the policy arena challenges the research community to rise to the occasion by developing effective interaction models with farmers and citizens that can be the foundation for innovative and effective environmental rules and regulations. We argue and illustrate with a specific example, that establishing :”:Living Labs” can be an important, if not essential, contribution to realizing the lofty goals of the SDGs and the Green Deal.

Johan Bouma

Status: open (until 31 Jul 2022)

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Johan Bouma

Johan Bouma


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Short summary
In the new: "Soil Deal for Europe" , land users, most of them farmers, and scientists are required to work jointly in: "Living Labs" to develop sustainable land use systems. We propose in our paper that threshold values for different ecosystem services in line with the UN SDGs and the EU Green Deal, have to be met to define: "LIghthouses" that demonstrate successfull sustainable land use systems, functioning as inspiring examples. A case study illustrates the important role of soils.