Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Perceived feasibility of sward management options in permanent grassland of Alpine regions and expected effects on delivery of ecosystem services

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sophie Tindale, Professor Lynn FrewerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s). Agriculture in Alpine regions plays an important role for multiple ecosystem services (ES) supplied from permanent grassland (PG). This paper investigates the feasibility of sward renewal, overseeding, and rising plate meters on PG for the Swiss Alpine region and analyses their expected effects on ES supply. Sward renewal and overseeding are management options implemented in response to a decline of grassland yields and nutritive value or sward damage. Rising plate meters focus on increased grass utilisation for improving profitability of grassland farms in a sustainable manner. The aim was to improve the understanding which of these three PG management practices could be promoted to deliver a wide range of agricultural and non-agricultural ESs in the Swiss Alpine region. Through interviews with 75 farmers (including organic and intensive/extensive non-organic farmers) and a Delphi-methodology on a panel of experts (N = 10 experts with different expertise), we found that sward renewal is perceived to have negative effects on biodiversity, carbon storage, flood control, prevention of soil erosion, and prevention of loss of organic matter in Alpine regions. Therefore, sward renewal should not be promoted, although about half of the farmers interviewed had already carried out the practice on plots following severe sward damage in Alpine regions. Overseeding is perceived to have positive effects on biodiversity, prevention of soil erosion, and grass production. Thus, the high level of overseeding that is currently practiced in the Swiss Alpine region is probably sustainable. Rising plate meters do not play a significant role in PG management in the Alpine region because calibration in PG with diverse grassland botanical composition in the Alpine region is too difficult.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mack G, El Benni N, Sporri M, Huguenin-Elie O, Tindale S, Hunter E, Newell Price P, Frewer LJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment, Development and Sustainability

Year: 2024

Volume: 26

Pages: 4579-4601

Print publication date: 01/02/2024

Online publication date: 05/01/2023

Acceptance date: 30/12/2022

Date deposited: 02/01/2023

ISSN (print): 1387-585X

ISSN (electronic): 1573-2975

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s10668-022-02899-y


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
774124 (SUPER-G)
European Community