Analytic Network Process: a further method for the analysis of agricultural policy impacts on landscape services?
More than 70% of land in European Union is directly influenced by human activities related to agriculture and forestry. Therefore, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the main drivers of change of rural landscapes. The CAP has evolved through is history from a specific “production-oriented” policy aiming at ensuring food supply at lower costs for European consumers to a “wide-oriented” policy aiming at enhancing the multifunctional role of agriculture. Nowadays, the CAP is facing a new programming period where significant changes are envisaged. In this context, the analysis of direct and indirect effects of the CAP on agricultural landscape is noteworthy in order to support an optimal provision of landscape services from agriculture to society.
One challenging issue is the possibility to assess non-tangible preferences of society and the inclusion of such preferences in the design of agricultural policies. But design of such policies is not trivial because i) agricultural landscapes are complex systems composed by social and environmental features with local specificities, ii) different land-use policies and decision makers interact together and iii) despite a consistent body of literature targeting the assessment and evaluation of societal preferences, a methodology able to cope with the multifaceted processes involved is still lacking.
The Analytic Network Process (ANP) is a multicriteria technique that was specifically designed to cope with complex systems and the presence of trade-offs that hampers the decision process. One of the main features of the ANP is the possibility to assess intangibles and the inclusion of inconsistencies of judgement by means of an absolute scale of measurement. The ANP is composed by a network of clusters and a net of relations and feedbacks between the clusters the goal of which is to reproduce the main elements or mechanisms contributing to a specific process. The pair-wise comparison of the elements of each cluster allows for the calculation of a final matrix where the influence (or importance) of each element are presented. The influence of the elements is expressed as a priority vector which accounts for all the possible direct and indirect interactions inside the network.
In this paper we present preliminary results from the application of the Analytic Network Process in the EU-FP7 Project CLAIM. Our analysis focuses on the composition of elements and clusters and their potential role in driving landscape valorisation. The results are the outcome of two pilot tests performed in Austria and Italy. Beside the importance of these tests for the finalization of the method and the application in 9 European case studies, the results are a useful insight on the potential of the ANP in the evaluation of feedback effects between agricultural landscape and society.