In the last decade efforts have been carried out by the scientific community aimed at building integrated frameworks to support the decision-making process when sustainability issues are addressed. This paper proposes a further advancement in integrated assessment procedures by setting up an operational multi-scale and transparent framework, which comprises the assessment of European regions in terms of sustainability, and the identification of the impact that policy options might have on the sustainability of these regions. The framework is designed for use in ex ante sustainability impact assessment of policy scenarios on multifunctionality of land use and integrates economic, environmental and social issues across a variety of sectors (agriculture, forestry, transport, tourism and energy). The proposed method provides a conceptual framework applicable at different scales (European, regional), and takes into account the great variability of European regions. The described methodology is based on linear additive models to weight and aggregate selected indicators to a set of land use functions identified to describe the goods and services provided by the different land uses that summarise the most relevant economic, environmental and social issues of a region. The framework is designed to allow the evaluation of impacts at an international scale (e.g. the European Union), or on selected regions.\ud \ud The aggregation framework can be used to evaluate the impact that policy options have on the sustainability of multifunctional land use systems with competing demands. A conceptual envelope, called the “trade-off evaluation space”, delineates all possible developments in the functions of the land. The sustainability limits identify the subset of ‘acceptable’ policy options within the trade-off evaluation space, so that the distance of each land use function from sustainability limits can be estimated and trade-offs between the different functions of the multifunctional land use system can be identified. The proposed methodology is adaptable to different contexts: if the assumption is taken that all land use functions are equally weighted the framework can be used to analyse policy cases and take decisions on policy options at the European or regional level. However, at the local-scale the framework can also be applied through a participatory approach and the distribution of weights can be rediscussed with local stakeholders. In both cases the proposed system can be used as a tool for discussion among all interested parties
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