We investigated a potential future location advantage tax charged on recreational facilities as a means to finance landscape management and maintenance through the demand for outdoor recreation. However, the results of our analysis and the input of various stakeholders brought us to consider landscape management and maintenance within the broader framework of existing governmental policies, thus drawing other landscape functions than just outdoor recreation into the equation.
Landscape management and maintenance are regulated through the Dutch nature management plan (NBP). Our aim is to analyze how the current NBP can be optimized to meet the various objectives at play. The NBP includes regionally specific goals. For the Kromme Rijn area, the NBP focuses on the restoration of habitat for a set of focal species (Utrecht Province 2017). Agricultural land is assigned to be taken out of production and most commonly converted to natural grassland. The NBP also promotes the restoration of green linear elements (e.g. hedges and tree lines) on agricultural land. Conform to EU policy (Bird and Habitat Directive and Rural Development Programme), restoration of these elements is voluntary but eligible for subsidy. The transition to organic management is – based on several stakeholder workshops (March 2016 and December 2017) – viewed as an important alternative for farmers. This transition is not addressed in the NBP, nor is it eligible for subsidy. Additional environmental objectives such as aesthetic quality or orchard production that are relevant for the Kromme Rijn area are also not addressed in the NBP. Adding those environmental objectives will help spatial planners by designing future plans that can simultaneously meet multiple competing demands.
Utrecht Province, 2017. Natuurbeheerplan 2017. Herziene Versie, Utrecht, the Netherlands.