Mapping the global distribution of locally-generated marine ecosystem services: The case of the West and Central Pacific Ocean tuna fisheries Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-05-25 Evangelia G. Drakou, John Virdin, Linwood Pendleton
Ecosystem service (ES) maps are instrumental for the assessment and communication of the costs and benefits of human-nature interactions. Yet, despite the increased understanding that we live a globalized tele-coupled world where such interactions extend globally, ES maps are usually place-based and fail to depict the global flows of locally produced ES. We aim to shift the way ES maps are developed by bringing global value chains into ES assessments. We propose and apply a conceptual framework that integrates ES provision principles, with value chain analysis and human well-being assessment methods, while considering the spatial dimension of these components in ES mapping. We apply this framework to the case of seafood provision from purse seine tuna fishery in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The ES maps produced demonstrate the flow of a marine ES to a series of global beneficiaries via different trade and mobility pathways. We identify three types of flows – one to one, closed loop and open loop. We emphasize the need to consider a series of intermediate beneficiaries in ES mapping despite the lack of data. We highlight the need for a shift in ES mapping, to better include global commodity flows, across spatial scales.
Assessment and valuation of recreational ecosystem services of landscapes Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-05-10 Johannes Hermes, Derek Van Berkel, Benjamin Burkhard, Tobias Plieninger, Nora Fagerholm, Christina von Haaren, Christian Albert
Recreational ecosystem services (RES), understood as the numerous benefits people obtain from landscapes and the natural environment, are a topical area of policy, research and society. This Editorial introduces the current state of RES research, provides an overview of the 21 contributions comprising this Special Issue of Ecosystem Services, and outlines opportunities for further research. This issue’s publications employ diverse methods for assessing and valuing RES at different scales in Europe and beyond. The papers present advancements in mapping and valuation, provide evidence for the contributions of biodiversity and landscapes to the generation of RES and human well-being, and shed light on distributional effects across different beneficiaries. Taken together, contributions emphasize that RES may be a prime vehicle for reconnecting people with nature with positive effects on societal well-being. The diversity of approaches currently applied in RES research reflects much creativity and new insights, for example by harnessing georeferenced social media data. Future research should aim towards harmonizing datasets and methods to enhance comparability without compromising the need for context-specific adaptations. Finally, more research is needed on options for integrating RES information in decision making, planning and management in order to enhance actual uptake in public and private decisions.
Machine learning for ecosystem services Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-05-05 Simon Willcock, Javier Martínez-López, Danny A.P. Hooftman, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Stefano Balbi, Alessia Marzo, Carlo Prato, Saverio Sciandrello, Giovanni Signorello, Brian Voigt, Ferdinando Villa, James M. Bullock, Ioannis N. Athanasiadis
Recent developments in machine learning have expanded data-driven modelling (DDM) capabilities, allowing artificial intelligence to infer the behaviour of a system by computing and exploiting correlations between observed variables within it. Machine learning algorithms may enable the use of increasingly available ‘big data’ and assist applying ecosystem service models across scales, analysing and predicting the flows of these services to disaggregated beneficiaries. We use the Weka and ARIES software to produce two examples of DDM: firewood use in South Africa and biodiversity value in Sicily, respectively. Our South African example demonstrates that DDM (64–91% accuracy) can identify the areas where firewood use is within the top quartile with comparable accuracy as conventional modelling techniques (54–77% accuracy). The Sicilian example highlights how DDM can be made more accessible to decision makers, who show both capacity and willingness to engage with uncertainty information. Uncertainty estimates, produced as part of the DDM process, allow decision makers to determine what level of uncertainty is acceptable to them and to use their own expertise for potentially contentious decisions. We conclude that DDM has a clear role to play when modelling ecosystem services, helping produce interdisciplinary models and holistic solutions to complex socio-ecological issues.
Probabilistic modeling of the relationship between socioeconomy and ecosystem services in cultural landscapes Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-05-04 A.D. Maldonado, P.A. Aguilera, A. Salmerón, A.E. Nicholson
There is a strong relationship among cultural landscapes, socio-economy and the provision of ecosystem services. The goal of this paper is to study the relationships between socioeconomic changes and the generation of ecosystem services in cultural landscapes in Andalusia (Spain). In order to do that, a causal Object-Oriented Bayesian network (OOBN) approach was carried out. We proposed 3 socioeconomic scenarios: (i) no intervention (rural abandonment); (ii) rural intensification; and (iii) rural development (sustainability). We computed the relative change between the prior and posterior distribution of each variable considered in the model. We also computed the entropy of the ecosystem service variables (ESVs), as a measure of their uncertainty, before and after the introduction of socioeconomic changes. Afterwards, a statistical test was performed in order to find significant differences among the 3 scenarios, regarding the relative change of the state high of the ESVs. Moreover, a t-test was carried out to compare the uncertainty of the prior and posterior distributions of the ESVs. The results showed significant differences among the scenarios. OOBNs are a powerful tool to deal with complex socio-ecological systems. Moreover, the use of Bayesian networks provides a sound way of quantifying uncertainty in a transparent way.
Most finance to halt desertification also benefits multiple ecosystem services: A key to unlock investments in Land Degradation Neutrality? Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-22 Simone Quatrini, Neville D. Crossman
Quantifying the demand for multiple ecosystem services is difficult because it is subjective and heterogeneous. Using land degradation as a case study, this paper explores land restoration finance as a proxy for global ecosystem service demand. Land degradation has been high on the UN agenda since the 1992 Rio Summit, together with climate change and biodiversity. The supply of many ecosystem services is declining due to land degradation and desertification, particularly in drylands. The inclusion of a Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target in the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reaffirmed the commitment by the international community to tackle this global environmental challenge. If this vision adequately reflects society’s values, as expressed through demand for ecosystem services, we should see land restoration finance targeting areas where potential ecosystem service supply could be enhanced the most. To test this hypothesis, we used spatial analysis of key ecosystem services, as well as comparative analysis of synergistic values and other indicators of financial resources committed between 2008 and 2013 to address land degradation. These activities can generate multiple benefits for many ecosystem functions and services. Official activity-level environmental ratings – called Rio Markers – were used to identify those activities that were intended to produce multiple ecosystem services benefits in terms of land restoration, biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation. Our analysis concludes that many land restoration activities are synergistic and reveals other important aspects: (i) developing countries report, on average, higher synergistic values than developed countries and development finance organizations; (ii) donor countries report more conservatively than recipient countries; (iii) multi-purpose synergistic projects attract more funders than single-purpose ones. In some cases countries with high ecosystem service supply receive higher investment, but this finding is not strong, indicating that investment could be more strategically targeted. These findings suggest, in particular, that the synergistic features of multi-purpose land restoration activities could be harnessed to enhance investment effectiveness and impact. This, in turn, would make LDN finance more prominent in development aid portfolios and in public/private sustainable investment strategies.
Playing before paying? A PES simulation game for assessing power inequalities and motivations in the governance of Ecosystem Services Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-19 Pierre Merlet, Gert Van Hecken, René Rodriguez-Fabilena
Market-based conservation instruments, such as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), have become a dominant paradigm for environmental policies. Despite their broad endorsement, the implementation of PES schemes often rests on deep-seated power asymmetries and, therefore, risks reproducing existing inequalities. Thus, examination of PES should include how these schemes are constructed and negotiated between different actors, explicitly recognising their varying social positions, value frameworks and conflicting or collaborative relations. In this article we present a ‘PES simulation game’ as an alternative methodology to enhance understanding of complex negotiations between diverse actors involved in Ecosystem Services (ES) governance. The game mimics historical processes of agrarian change and social differentiation, simulates a range of ES governance interventions, and creates space for participants to collectively reflect on the motivational and socio-political dynamics triggered by the interventions. We discuss some of the main game dynamics as well as reflections generated by the game while examining a PES intervention in the Nicaraguan agricultural frontier. We illustrate the game’s potential for improving understanding of farmers’ constraints in decision-making processes and of the ways in which patron-client relationships within divergent value systems interact with specific ES governance interventions.
Quantifying the visual-sensory landscape qualities that contribute to cultural ecosystem services using social media and LiDAR Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-18 Derek B. Van Berkel, Payam Tabrizian, Monica A. Dorning, Lindsey Smart, Doug Newcomb, Megan Mehaffey, Anne Neale, Ross K. Meentemeyer
Landscapes are increasingly recognized for providing valuable cultural ecosystem services with numerous non-material benefits by serving as places of rest, relaxation, and inspiration that ultimately improve overall mental health and physical well-being. Maintaining and enhancing these valuable benefits through targeted management and conservation measures requires understanding the spatial and temporal determinants of perceived landscape values. Content contributed through mobile technologies and the web are emerging globally, providing a promising data source for localizing and assessing these landscape benefits. These georeferenced data offer rich in situ qualitative information through photos and comments that capture valued and special locations across large geographic areas. We present a novel method for mapping and modeling landscape values and perceptions that leverages viewshed analysis of georeferenced social media data. Using a high resolution LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) derived digital surface model, we are able to evaluate landscape characteristics associated with the visual-sensory qualities of outdoor recreationalists. Our results show the importance of historical monuments and attractions in addition to specific environmental features which are appreciated by the public. Evaluation of photo-image content highlights the opportunity of including temporally and spatially variable visual-sensory qualities in cultural ecosystem services (CES) evaluation like the sights, sounds and smells of wildlife and weather phenomena.
Leisure activities and social factors influence the generation of cultural ecosystem service benefits Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-07 James McGinlay, David J. Parsons, Joe Morris, Anil Graves, Marie Hubatova, Richard B. Bradbury, James M. Bullock
The relationship between cultural ecosystem services (CES) and the many diverse aspects of biodiversity is complex and multi-faceted. A large public survey in Wiltshire, UK, was used to assess associations between public benefits from certain species groups in the local countryside, and (i) social antecedents, (ii) engagement in different outdoor leisure activities (iii) indirect nature experience via media-related activities and (iv) species group charisma and abundance. Practitioners of leisure activities with a nature-related theme, whether outdoor activities or indoor media-related activities, reported significantly higher levels of benefit from named species groups, as did respondents whose personal background demonstrated an elevated degree of nature-relatedness. Benefits were also related to the charisma of the species group: enhanced benefit through nature-related activities and social factors was significant for less charismatic species, but inconclusive for more charismatic species. Respondents who participated in outdoor leisure activities without a nature focus were unlikely to report enhanced benefits from species groups in the local landscape. To maximise people’s CES benefits from broader aspects of biodiversity it may be necessary to encourage an active interest in biodiversity, leading people to participate or seek knowledge and understanding, and in turn develop a stronger sense of connectedness to nature.
Large-scale river restoration pays off: A case study of ecosystem service valuation for the Emscher restoration generation project Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-06 Nadine V. Gerner, Issa Nafo, Caroline Winking, Kristina Wencki, Clemens Strehl, Timo Wortberg, André Niemann, Gerardo Anzaldua, Manuel Lago, Sebastian Birk
Though the Ecosystem Service (ESS) approach is considered promising for integrated ecosystem management, its operationalisation is hampered by the lack of agreed evaluation instruments. To demonstrate the suitability of a structured ESS evaluation, we conducted a case study estimating the impact of the restoration of the Emscher River and its tributaries on the provision, use and benefit of ESS. The Emscher restoration is a large-scale project with immense temporal and financial efforts. To assess the values generated by this restoration, we applied an ESS evaluation framework and quantified the regulation and maintenance ESS ‘self-purification capacity’, ‘maintaining nursery populations and habitats’ and ‘flood protection’ as well as cultural ESS such as aesthetic, recreational, educational and existence values. Final ESS were monetized using economic methods, e.g. ‘damage costs avoided’, ‘contingent valuation’ and ‘benefit transfer’. We estimated a market value/direct economic impact of 21,441,572 € per year as a result of the restoration. Furthermore, a non-market value for people who care about the local environment of 109,121,217 € per year was determined, representing the benefit with ‘non-use value’ from the Emscher restoration. Our case study demonstrated the successful application of the structured evaluation framework in practice. Its implications and limitations are discussed.
Citizens’ perspectives on marine protected areas as a governance strategy to effectively preserve marine ecosystem services and biodiversity Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-06 Stefania Tonin
Improving and conserving marine ecosystems to maintain and promote their sustainability and to enhance or protect biodiversity and ecosystems’ services and functions is clearly a necessity. The importance of biodiversity in supporting ecosystem services and functioning has been established; thus, the worldwide creation of marine protected areas (MPAs), the goals of which vary with location, design, management, and compliance enforcement has been increasing. This paper explores the opinions regarding the creation of MPAs in Italy, people’s willingness to pay (WTP) for the conservation of marine biodiversity and ecosystem services, and maintenance of MPAs. The results indicate that most people would be willing to pay an entrance fee to MPAs, that is, depending of the valuation scenario proposed the mean WTP for a visit ranged from about €5 to €21 per person, and preferred environmental organizations as the most trustworthy organization type to manage the MPAs.
Learning on ecosystem services co-production in decision-making from role-playing simulation: Comparative analysis from Southeast Europe Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-04 Elena Gissi, Vito Garramone
Role-playing simulations (RPSs)—a type of serious games—involve face-to-face mock decision making with multi-stakeholder negotiation. In decision making, they are often adopted to operate representations of central features of reality, highlighting rules and trade-offs, knowledge and learning-by-doing, motivations and negotiation processes. This study applies an RPS to investigate the mechanisms of activation of ecosystem services (ES) flow, as a result of co-production of the actors involved in a decision-making process. Against a common setting and predetermined objectives, arrangements negotiating ES and associated motivations are analyzed in relation to the RPS characters and their roles in the ES flow. This study applies a comparative experimental approach to support a transnational capacity-building process on sustainable local development through renewable energy sources. The RPS was replicated in 10 sessions in eight Southeast European countries, with almost 230 participants from marginal rural landscapes. From the results, we highlight the variability of the selection of ES, and the arrangements and motivations within each RPS session. ES arrangements emerge from group-based decision-making processes, where pools of players are pivotal in analyzing, assessing, and orienting decisions, beyond pre-existing expert knowledge on ES. Strengths and limitations of the method are discussed in the context of simulation practices.
Linking ecosystem services to livelihoods in southern Africa Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-04 Samantha M. Wisely, Kathleen Alexander, Themb'a Mahlaba, Lin Cassidy
While there is agreement that ecosystem services provide critical life support, local communities can be disengaged from the process of conservation, allocation and decision-making. How do we move from concepts, which are often seen as hand waving by natural resource users and policymakers, to concrete valuation appreciated at the level of the household, community and policy maker? In this special issue, we explore examples from southern Africa where ecosystem services are engaged and identified by users as important and critical to improved livelihoods as well as advancing business outcomes. Two papers focus on how small, disenfranchised communities can be empowered to build a common vision of natural resource priority and identify a voice in the planning process. The second two papers in this issue investigate the role of two functional mammal guilds, bats and mesocarnivores, in reducing crop depredation. The final paper investigates how ecovolunteerism can fulfill conservation and community development gaps that occur when governments and NGO’s do not avail themselves to local communities. Together these research papers provide a holistic and synthetic view about the links between humans and ecosystems, help to assess community level capacity for sustainability and stewardship, and define what the metrics of success look like.
Can multifunctional livelihoods including recreational ecosystem services (RES) and non timber forest products (NTFP) maintain biodiverse forests in the Brazilian Amazon? Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-04-01 Sónia M. Carvalho Ribeiro, Britaldo Soares Filho, William Leles Costa, Laura Bachi, Amanda Ribeiro de Oliveira, Patricia Bilotta, Allaoua Saadi, Elaine Lopes, Tim O'Riordan, Humberto Lôbo Pennacchio, Lúcio Queiroz, Susanna Hecht, Raoni Rajão, Ubirajara Oliveira, Carlos Cioce Sampaio
In this paper we use large scale spatially explicit modelling and case study based analyses to assess the links between recreational ecosystem services and the benefits for wellbeing of traditional livelihoods in the Brazilian Amazon. Our results show that, at the scale of the Brazilian Amazon, associations between recreational ecosystem services and extractivist activities of Brazil nut and rubber are very weak with no significant differences regarding Brazil nut (p = 0.61) and rubber (p = 0.41) income across the different tourism development classes. However, qualitative analysis of the case studies reveals that where there are multifunctional livelihoods, recreational ecosystem services are indeed helping to enhance non timber forest product extractivist social values that otherwise would be suppressed by prevailing “cattle ranching” lifestyles. We therefore support innovative ways to make both recreational ecosystem services and non timber forest products extraction not merely a juxtaposition of activities, but integrated into multifunctional livelihoods.
Bringing transparency into the process: Social network analysis as a tool to support the participatory design and implementation process of Payments for Ecosystem Services Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-26 Barbara Schröter, Jennifer Hauck, Isabel Hackenberg, Bettina Matzdorf
Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are criticized, amongst other reasons, for their basis in ideas suited to the neoliberal political economy and for the unequal distribution of power inherent in such models. However, PES can be a natural resource management approach that combines social and environmental objectives so that they not only serve to protect ecosystems such as tropical forests and wetlands but also to improve social conditions and rural development. Particularly for community-based PES, tools are needed to bring transparency to PES institutional settings and actor constellations by revealing power relations, as well as to empower local actors to engage in social learning through participatory processes. Considering both of these aspects will improve the equity aspects of PES and establish a social context conducive to a payment scheme that considers local behaviors and attitudes towards conservation. Close collaboration – in knowledge co-production processes – between social science and practitioners can address these challenges and support the PES design and implementation process. In this paper, we demonstrate how Net-Map, as a specific tool for Social Network Analysis (SNA), can make actor relations visible for the purpose of group discussion within participation processes. We present how the results of participatory Net-Map Interviews can be used for participatory PES development, implementation and evaluation. In particular, we explain and discuss this for three case studies in Costa Rica. We conclude that this combination – using empirical data from social sciences for participatory planning – facilitates the creation of a common understanding of the PES-governance models, the creation of ownership, and the consolidation of transparency and trust amongst the participants, as well as reflection on the existing social capital necessary for implementation. The results of the Net-Map tool support the design of inclusive and adaptive processes that shape institutions, choices, design and the implementation of policy instruments such as PES. The additional value of the tool is that it makes these processes transparent by generating knowledge during a participatory process and helps to balance the actors’ interests and values. This method of undertaking research in combination with workshops has its limitations, as it reveals – to a group – confidential information given in personal interviews. Further, for the scenario development of PES design, actors must have a certain level of openness and creativity so that the PES design does not merely end up being a copy of the initially net-mapped PES example.
Valuing environmental education as a cultural ecosystem service at Hudson River Park Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-21 Walter Hutcheson, Porter Hoagland, Di Jin
The Hudson River and its estuary is once again an ecologically, economically, and culturally functional component of New York City’s natural environment. The estuary's cultural significance may derive largely from environmental education, including marine science programs for the public. These programs are understood as “cultural” ecosystem services but are rarely evaluated in economic terms. We estimated the economic value of the Hudson River Park’s environmental education programs. We compiled data on visits by schools and summer camps from 32 New York City school districts to the Park during the years 2014 and 2015. A “travel cost” approach was adapted from the field of environmental economics to estimate the value of education in this context. A small—but conservative—estimate of the Park’s annual education program benefits ranged between $7500 and 25,500, implying an average capitalized value on the order of $0.6 million. Importantly, organizations in districts with high proportions of minority students or English language learners were found to be more likely to participate in the Park’s programs. The results provide an optimistic view of the benefits of environmental education focused on urban estuaries, through which a growing understanding of ecological systems could lead to future environmental improvements.
Assessing the aesthetic quality of landscapes in Germany Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-13 Johannes Hermes, Christian Albert, Christina von Haaren
The power of consensus: Developing a community voice in land use planning and tourism development in biodiversity hotspots Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-07 K.A. Alexander, M. Ramotadima, Claire E. Sanderson
In regions rich in natural resources, nature-based tourism is advancing rapidly. This form of development is identified as an important economic opportunity for local communities but can impact ecosystem services through rapid landscape transformation, threatening the livelihoods of the most impoverished sectors of a community. While it is accepted that communities should participate in the planning process, variation in community and household-level landscape dependencies and priorities can create a fractured viewpoint that is difficult to integrate into the land planning process. Power structures and special interests can subvert participatory processes and input at the community level. In the Chobe District, Northern Botswana, tourism, and other related developments had occurred at a rapid pace around the Chobe National Park creating access barriers, in some instances, to essential natural resource areas. We evaluate community landscape dependencies and participatory approaches to the development of inclusive land use maps. Spatial information on land use dependencies from household surveys were used to form the bases of reiterative village-level participatory mapping exercises (n = 179 households, six villages). The activities were conducted through traditional leadership structures. Landscape dependencies were widespread across study villages in both natural resource and agricultural sectors. Cluster and CART analysis of household data identified important variation in landscape dependencies between and within study villages. Fishing was the most important factor predicting gender of headship with male-headed households using this resource more frequently. Spatial data from these household consultations were used to create a draft map that was reiteratively refined through participatory map building exercises until final approval was provided by community members and their traditional leaders in a village. Scaled consultations and involvement of the traditional leadership limited the ability of power structures to control the process and/or subvert the interests of more vulnerable members of a community. Mapping outputs were later successfully used in land planning exercises and consultations. Development of inclusive community consensus on landscape dependencies should be undertaken before lucrative tourism ventures and land allocations are advanced in competition to the needs of more vulnerable and often voiceless sectors of a community.
Bigger, more diverse and better? Mapping structural diversity and its recreational value in urban green spaces Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-07 Emma Soy Massoni, David N. Barton, Graciela M. Rusch, Vegard Gundersen
Are bigger green spaces more diverse in terms of their natural and manmade elements? Does higher diversity mean they are more attractive to users and encourage more diversity of activities, and thereby provide a wider range of recreational ecosystem services? We assessed and classified the recreational services in green urban spaces in the city of Oslo, by combining multidimensional biophysical mapping based on the structural diversity index (SDI), with users’ importance scores as an approach to non-monetary valuation of urban parks. Our results reveal that size is a weak and non-linear determinant of structural diversity. On the other hand, stated preferences are correlated with structural elements. Urban green spaces classification could be improved by combining structural diversity indicators with structural preference studies. At the same time, our structural diversity measure did not cover the full range of recreational services across the spectrum of urban green spaces. We discuss potential extensions of the structural diversity index for urban green space in order to cover a wider range of green spaces – from cemetaries to peri-urban forest – and the recreational opportunities provided by them.
Dependencies on natural resources in transitioning urban centers of northern Botswana Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-07 S. Joos-Vandewalle, R. Wynberg, K.A. Alexander
Investigations into natural resource use and access are often limited to rural areas; such use is not considered an integral part of urban livelihood strategies, especially amongst the poor. With growing urban food insecurity, poverty, and unequal access to services, natural resource use may provide a viable alternative to cash-based resources, thus, allowing households to navigate the rural–urban continuum as they address livelihood needs. This may be especially pertinent for growing, but small, urban landscapes that are in transition. We investigated the use of and access to natural resources in households in rural (Lesoma), peri-urban (Kazungula), and urban (Kasane) settlements in northern Botswana. Semi-structured questionnaires for 85 households were used to investigate household demographics, variety of natural resources used, the availability, use, and importance of natural resources, threats to resources, harvesting locations, and extent of resource commercialization. Significant differences were identified in the mean number of resources used by households across the three settlements (Kruskal–Wallis Chi-squared = 9.29, df = 2, p = 0.01). Using the post hoc test Conover with Bonferroni adjustment, mean natural resource use between the urban and peri-urban villages did not differ significantly (p = 1). However, both types of villages differed from the rural village in mean resource use (urban p = 0.007 and peri-urban p = 0.012). Nevertheless, urban and peri-urban households reported use of a broad range of natural resources, highlighting the importance of these products in transitioning landscapes. Across the study villages, natural resource harvesting occurred predominantly on communal land. Primary barriers to resource access were perceived to be strict government regulations and decreasing resource availability. Natural resource commercialization was identified as a potential opportunity but was often carried out only on a small scale. The use of natural resources is intuitively thought to be associated with rural areas, but our results suggest that such resources form an important part of livelihoods across urban and peri-urban landscapes as well. This continued reliance on natural resources raises important planning questions about how to ensure both the ongoing conservation of forested and other natural areas, and the availability of associated resources for urban livelihoods. In this regard, small urban towns that are rapidly transitioning from rural landscapes provide a targeted opportunity for early intervention. Our findings underpin the vital role that natural areas play in supporting the livelihoods of the urban poor and highlight the need to encourage land designation and management of such areas not only for conservation but also as a safety net for vulnerable urban households.
Uncertainties related to climate change and forest management with implications on climate regulation in Finland Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-03 Jari Vauhkonen, Tuula Packalen
Forests play an important role in one of the most important ecosystem services, climate regulation. In order to mitigate climate change, various international agreements aim at decreasing emissions through Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) activities. In a legislative proposal by the European Union, emissions from forests are accounted for in relation to an estimate of average emissions for a range of years in the past. However, different forest structures, management activities, growth variations and impacts of changing climate may result in considerably different future emissions. We assessed the magnitude of potential uncertainties due to changing climate and forest management to the projections of carbon stocked in above- and belowground forest biomass in Finland until 2050. We used an area-based matrix model, which was developed to incorporate climate-induced tree growth as a time-inhomogeneous Markov chain. The potential amounts of both the carbon stored and extracted varied considerably depending on the level and allocation of future harvests. If realized, climate- or management-induced growth improvements could increase the carbon stocks by up to one third in the end of the simulated period. Projections based solely on business-as-usual transitions and harvests could therefore lead to inefficient decisions regarding future carbon stocks and harvesting possibilities.
Ecosystem services in life cycle assessment: A synthesis of knowledge and recommendations for biofuels Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-02 Danielle Maia de Souza, Gabriela Russo Lopes, Julia Hansson, Karin Hansen
There is an increasing trend in promoting the use of biofuels for transportation as a low-fossil carbon energy source, but little knowledge on their multidimensional environmental impacts. Whole-system approaches, such as life cycle assessment (LCA), have been extensively employed to analyze the environmental performance of different biofuels. However, it remains unclear to which extent biofuels impact ecosystems and the services they provide, in particular related to different management practices. To overcome this challenge, this paper draws recommendations to better holistically address ecosystem services (ES) in LCA, with a focus on biofuels. We first pinpoint some of the challenges in accounting for the concept of ES in decision-making and review some of the existing ES classification frameworks and the usefulness of the cascade model. Second, we discuss the implications of identified context-specific aspects on the modeling of biofuel production impacts on ES in LCA. Finally, we propose a conceptual framework to link ES classification systems, the cascade model and the LCA approach. Although some challenges still remain unsolved, due to the existing life cycle impact assessment structure, existing ES frameworks and the cascade model are helpful tools to better include ES into LCA of different biofuels.
Landscape, facilities and visitors: An integrated model of recreational ecosystem services Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-03-02 Sylwia Kulczyk, Edyta Woźniak, Marta Derek
Recreation is a complex and important ecosystem service. Therefore, there is a need for approaches that can account for this complexity, and integrate both environmental and socio-economical perspectives. The Recreational Ecosystem Services (RES) model proposed in this paper responds to this need. RES are understood as the delivery of services, conditioned by recreational use. Demand is, however, shaped by supply, in the form of natural potential, and recreational infrastructure. New mapping methods are proposed and tested using the example of water-based recreation in the Great Masurian Lakes, Poland. A combination of three levels of landscape potential, recreational infrastructure and use made it possible to identify and map 27 types of RES and calculate their monetary value. Although the study was carried out in a relatively natural area, the findings showed that it was not landscape potential, but recreational facilities that was correlated with recreational use. This suggests that the responsible management of an area can significantly influence recreational use and develop various RES patterns.
Overoptimism and the undervaluation of ecosystem services: A case-study of recreational fishing in Townsville, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-26 Marina Farr, Natalie Stoeckl
There are numerous methods for estimating the value of different types of ecosystem services. Some methods use observed behaviours to draw inferences about value, but (observed) behaviours are based upon expectations, which can be incorrect. Using data from anglers living in Townsville, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in a travel-cost model, we show how expectations about the number of fish people believe they will catch on a recreational fishing trip greatly influence estimates of the value of catch reductions (a loss in angler welfare). Experienced fishers have much more accurate expectations about catch than infrequent fishers, highlighting that valuation estimates derived from observable behaviours are most robust when the service being valued is well-known and when people are able to accurately judge the outcome of their behaviours. More broadly, it is clear that under conditions of uncertainty – such as climate change – overly optimistic visions of the future will likely lead us to undervalue (and thus potentially degrade) key ecosystem services – perhaps substantially.
Interregional flows of ecosystem services: Concepts, typology and four cases Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-21 Matthias Schröter, Thomas Koellner, Rob Alkemade, Sebastian Arnhold, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Karl-Heinz Erb, Karin Frank, Thomas Kastner, Meidad Kissinger, Jianguo Liu, Laura López-Hoffman, Joachim Maes, Alexandra Marques, Berta Martín-López, Carsten Meyer, Catharina J.E. Schulp, Jule Thober, Sarah Wolff, Aletta Bonn
Conserving and managing global natural capital requires an understanding of the complexity of flows of ecosystem services across geographic boundaries. Failing to understand and to incorporate these flows into national and international ecosystem assessments leads to incomplete and potentially skewed conclusions, impairing society’s ability to identify sustainable management and policy choices. In this paper, we synthesise existing knowledge and develop a conceptual framework for analysing interregional ecosystem service flows. We synthesise the types of such flows, the characteristics of sending and receiving socio-ecological systems, and the impacts of ecosystem service flows on interregional sustainability. Using four cases (trade of certified coffee, migration of northern pintails, flood protection in the Danube watershed, and information on giant pandas), we test the conceptual framework and show how an enhanced understanding of interregional telecouplings in socio-ecological systems can inform ecosystem service-based decision making and governance with respect to sustainability goals.
Synergies between industry and nature – An emergy evaluation of a biodiesel production system integrated with ecological systems Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-19 Fabrizio Saladini, Varsha Gopalakrishnan, Simone Bastianoni, Bhavik R. Bakshi
Techno-ecological synergy (TES) is a framework that encourages integration of technological and ecological systems. Specifically, it incorporates the role of natural capital in engineering assessment and design by quantifying both demand and supply of ecosystem services. Emergy can provide valuable support to improve and interpret TES evaluation, as it is a methodology particularly useful for evaluating systems at the biosphere–technosphere interface. The present study evaluates how the TES framework based on emergy can shed new light by comparing conventional technological alternatives and ecological alternatives for meeting a particular ecosystem service demand. Both the demand and supply of ecosystem services are quantified in consistent units of emergy to obtain aggregated TES metrics. Specifically it was found that additional equipment to treat air pollutants have a higher emergy investment as compared to the forest ecosystem, while the technological unit to treat wastewater requires less emergy as compared to the horizontal subsurface flow wetland, its ecological counterpart. This new approach is tested by application to a biodiesel production plant and by calculating emergy metrics. This work shows that emergy can provide a fundamental improvement to the current TES framework, as it provides an aggregated metric for multiple ecosystem services.
Marine recreational ecosystem service value estimation: A meta-analysis with cultural considerations Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-16 Stephen Hynes, Andrea Ghermandi, Daniel Norton, Heidi Williams
Marine and coastal ecosystems provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities that are highly valued by society. For the purposes of conducting a meta-analysis we build an extensive global dataset of marine recreational ecosystem service values from the literature. Using this database we developed a number of meta-regression specifications with the objective of evaluating the study specific effects of location, ecosystem, valuation methodology and statistical estimation methods on the reported value estimates. Furthermore, the paper investigates if cultural differences between studies are an important determinant that should be considered in international (meta-analytical) value transfer. This was achieved by including a number of cultural parameters from previous societal studies and surveys into our meta-regression models. We found that accounting for differences in cultural dimensions across recreation valuation studies had a significant influence on value estimates. While a multi-level modelling approach that controls for study effects, proved to be a better fit than a standard one level specification, we found that the absolute in-sample transfer errors associated with the standard OLS model were slightly less on average based on the differences between the actual and predicted values in our meta-database.
Exploring ecosystem services assessment through Ecological Footprint accounting Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-10 Maria Serena Mancini, Alessandro Galli, Luca Coscieme, Valentina Niccolucci, David Lin, Federico Maria Pulselli, Simone Bastianoni, Nadia Marchettini
Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans derive from Nature. In the last decades, research efforts have been made to better understand the connections between the natural sphere and the human sphere as well as to propose novel approaches to measure the value of ecosystem services. While economic valuation has so far been the most commonly used approach – expressing ecosystem services’ value in monetary units – recent efforts have focused on alternative qualitative or biophysical accounting approaches to express the value of ecosystem service in physical units. The role of Ecological Footprint accounting as a biophysical approach for measuring the value of ecosystem services through a surface-equivalent unit is here investigated. This accounting tool allows keeping track of both the human demand on, and the Nature’s supply of, a precise sub-set of ecosystem services thus being able to make an ecological balance at the country level. A comparison between Ecological Footprint and economic valuation analyses is finally performed, for the forest ecosystem type, to highlight complementarities and correlations of these different approaches.
Recreational ecosystem services in European cities: Sociocultural and geographical contexts matter for park use Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-10 L.K. Fischer, J. Honold, A. Botzat, D. Brinkmeyer, R. Cvejić, T. Delshammar, B. Elands, D. Haase, N. Kabisch, S.J. Karle, R. Lafortezza, M. Nastran, A.B. Nielsen, A.P. van der Jagt, K. Vierikko, I. Kowarik
The role of urban parks in delivering cultural ecosystem services related to outdoor recreation is widely acknowledged. Yet, the question remains as to whether the recreational opportunities of parks meet the demands of increasingly multicultural societies and whether recreational patterns vary at spatial scales. In a pan-European survey, we assessed how people use urban parks (in five cities, N = 3814) and how recreational patterns relate to respondents’ sociocultural and geographical contexts (using 19 explanatory variables). Our results show that across Europe (i) respondents share a general pattern in their recreational activities with a prevalence for the physical uses of parks, especially taking a walk; (ii) the geographic context matters, demonstrating a high variety of uses across the cities; and that (iii) the sociocultural context is also important; e.g., the occupation and biodiversity valuations of respondents are significantly associated with the uses performed. The sociocultural context matters particularly for physical park uses and is associated to a lesser extent with nature-related uses. Given that our results attest to a high variety of park uses between sociocultural groups and the geographical context, we conclude that it is important to consider the specific backgrounds of people to enhance recreational ecosystem services in greenspace development.
An integrated biophysical and ecosystem approach as a base for ecosystem services analysis across regions Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-09 Dor Fridman, Meidad Kissinger
In an interconnected world, the ‘food system’ sustainability of any given region is increasingly dependent on ecosystem services originated from supporting regions in different parts of the world. However, commonly used research approaches, such as place based ecosystem service assessments and interregional biophysical accounting, have limited capacity to capture the complex interactions across regions. This research addresses this gap by integrating a global biophysical accounting of food crops with its related local ecosystem dis-services. It combines agricultural and ecosystem indicators to describe different classes of biophysical pressures and potential dis-services from growing 4 key agricultural staples exported to Israel from different agricultural areas around the world. Each class stands as a ‘functional region’ in which either a trade-off or a synergy exists between agricultural efficiency and environmental impact. The research finds that over half of Israel’s crops supply was produced in areas with high soil loss potential, and almost 15% of it originates from areas with high water scarcity. It implies that changes to Israel’s supply sources have the potential to reduce consumption related impacts on ecosystem services. The functional regions typology may be used as a global road map mediating interregional flows assessments with place-based ecosystem service assessments.
Reprint of: Environmental justice and ecosystem services: A disaggregated analysis of community access to forest benefits in Nepal ☆ Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-02 Sunita Chaudhary, Andrew McGregor, Donna Houston, Nakul Chettri
The concept of ecosystem services is influencing how environmental stakeholders pursue dual conservation and community development goals. While rapidly growing in popularity, the ecosystem services approach has been criticized for adopting a homogenous approach to communities and failing to consider social diversity and associated power structures influencing access to benefits. In this paper, we adopt an environmental justice lens to analyse access to ecosystem services in a case study of community forestry in Nepal. Using mixed methods, our disaggregated analysis shows that access to ecosystem services is differentiated by social characteristics such as caste, income and gender with uneven distributive outcomes and participation. High-income groups were able to disproportionately access the benefits despite the social equity provisions built into policy and institutional structures. Our study shows that some of the protections oriented at assisting disadvantaged groups were experienced as onerous and should be amended if they are to have beneficial outcomes. In highlighting entrenched inequities, we argue that the ecosystem services approach needs to make environmental justice more central to avoid further marginalising the marginalized, and have far and just outcomes. The current emphasis on aggregated analysis may contribute little to practically implementing programs that will contribute to sustainable socio-ecological wellbeing.
Assessing contributions of volunteer tourism to ecosystem research and conservation in southern Africa Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-01 Kim G. Roques, Susan K. Jacobson, Robert A. McCleery
Highlights • We provide data on 2,085 volunteer tourists that visited southern Africa. • We present 8 years of conservation outputs from Mozambique and Swaziland projects. • Our results validate a previously developed conservation evaluation framework. • Volunteer tourism can deliver conservation benefits but these need evaluating.
Getting into the water with the Ecosystem Services Approach: The DESSIN ESS evaluation framework Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-01-17 Gerardo Anzaldua, Nadine V. Gerner, Manuel Lago, Katrina Abhold, Mandy Hinzmann, Sarah Beyer, Caroline Winking, Niels Riegels, Jørgen Krogsgaard Jensen, Montserrat Termes, Jaume Amorós, Kristina Wencki, Clemens Strehl, Rita Ugarelli, Marius Hasenheit, Issa Nafo, Marta Hernandez, Ester Vilanova, Sigrid Damman, Stijn Brouwer, Josselin Rouillard, David Schwesig, Sebastian Birk
Driven by Europe’s pressing need to overcome its water quality and water scarcity challenges, the speed of innovation in the water sector is outpacing that of science. The methodologies available to assess the impact of innovative solutions to water-related challenges remain limited and highly theoretical, which sets boundaries on their application and usefulness to water practitioners. This hampers the uptake of new technologies and innovative management practices, thus foregoing potential gains in resource efficiency and nature protection, as well as wider benefits to society and the economy. To address this gap, the DESSIN project developed a framework to evaluate the changes in ecosystem services (ESS) associated with technical or management solutions implemented at the water body, sub-catchment or catchment level. The framework was developed with a specific focus on freshwater ecosystems to allow for a more detailed exploration of practical implementation issues. Its development, testing and validation was carried out by conducting ESS evaluations in three different urban case study settings. The framework builds upon existing classification systems for ESS (CICES and FEGS-CS) and incorporates the DPSIR adaptive management scheme as its main structural element. This enables compatibility with other international initiatives on ESS assessments and establishes a direct link to the EU Water Framework Directive, respectively. This work furthers research on practical implementation of the Ecosystem Services Approach, while pushing the discussion on how to promote more informed decision-making and support innovation uptake to address Europe’s current water-related challenges.
Assessing and valuing the recreational ecosystem services of Germany’s national parks using travel cost models Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-01-09 Marius Mayer, Manuel Woltering
This paper estimates the recreational ecosystem services (RES) of 15 German national parks (NLP) in one of the most comprehensive RES valuations of NLP systems performed to date. The RES were evaluated using zonal travel cost models (TCM) based on 24,548 representative interviews conducted with a uniform methodology between 2004 and 2015. Reaction functions were estimated for each park as double-log regression models. The lower-limit consumer surplus of recreation in German NLP totals EUR 385.3–621.8 million (including only visitors whose trip decisions were influenced by the parks’ protected status), while an upper-limit value reached EUR 1.690–2.751 billion (including all visitors). Thus, NLP generate enormous non-monetary values for German society. The standardized approach applied could be used to harmonize assessments and valuations of RES in protected areas. Finally, the article advances the theory of RES assessment, valuation and mapping by highlighting the importance of on-site visitation data. RES do not exist a priori, but emerge as co-products of ecosystems and visitors’ perceptions and valuations. For this reason, we discourage the use of context-specific RES results in benefit transfer approaches.
Quantifying ecosystem service flows at multiple scales across the range of a long-distance migratory species Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-01-05 Darius J. Semmens, Jay E. Diffendorfer, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Ruscena Wiederholt, Karen Oberhauser, Leslie Ries, Brice X. Semmens, Joshua Goldstein, John Loomis, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Brady J. Mattsson, Laura López-Hoffman
Migratory species provide ecosystem goods and services throughout their annual cycles, often over long distances. Designing effective conservation solutions for migratory species requires knowledge of both species ecology and the socioeconomic context of their migrations. We present a framework built around the concept that migratory species act as carriers, delivering benefit flows to people throughout their annual cycle that are supported by the network of ecosystems upon which the species depend. We apply this framework to the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) migration of eastern North America by calculating their spatial subsidies. Spatial subsidies are the net ecosystem service flows throughout a species’ range and a quantitative measure of the spatial mismatch between the locations where people receive most benefits and the locations of habitats that most support the species. Results indicate cultural benefits provided by monarchs in the U.S. and Canada are subsidized by migration and overwintering habitat in Mexico. At a finer scale, throughout the monarch range, habitat in rural landscapes subsidizes urban residents. Understanding the spatial distribution of benefits derived from and ecological support provided to monarchs and other migratory species offers a promising means of understanding the costs and benefits associated with conservation across jurisdictional borders.
Increasing the credibility of expert-based models with preference surveys – Mapping recreation in the riverine zone Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-01-04 Sven-Erik Rabe, Remo Gantenbein, Kai-Florian Richter, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey
Integrating social media analysis and revealed preference methods to value the recreation services of ecologically engineered wetlands Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-28 Andrea Ghermandi
Social media provide a wealth of behavioral data that can be used to investigate the provision of environmental services. In this study, the preferences revealed by photo-sharing social media users are analyzed through travel cost modeling to infer the monetary value of recreation in 115 man-made wetland ecosystems. Photographs’ metadata and other publicly available information are used to determine the frequency of recreational trips and the home location of visitors. The mean willingness to pay for access to 115 wetlands is found to range between $5.3 and $374 (2015 international $). The comparison of estimated recreational benefits with the capital, operation and maintenance costs of 74 wetlands reveals that such benefits are considerable and should be taken into account in the design and management of these systems. The approach demonstrates the potential for ecosystem service valuation techniques to incorporate the large amounts of behavioral data available from online resources.
Developing an indicator for the physical health benefits of recreation in woodlands Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-23 Darren Moseley, Thomas Connolly, Louise Sing, Kevin Watts
Woodlands provide a range of ecosystem services (ES), yet indicators largely focus on the more tangible and quantifiable ‘goods’ such as timber rather than the benefits from cultural ES such as recreation. Physical health ‘benefits’ from recreation can improve life chances and reduce the burden on public health budgets. Whilst woodland managers recognise that these types of cultural ES are important, they often need quantitative measures to demonstrate their value and justify resource allocation. We develop a quantitative indicator of the benefits from physical recreation in woodlands using on-site visitor survey data. For each woodland sampled, we calculate the energy expenditure realised from recreational activities undertaken by each individual visitor. These values are converted to Quality Adjusted Life Years (a measure of the health benefits that combine duration and quality of life) and economically assessed. We demonstrate that annual recreation values vary considerably between woodlands due to the range of facilities provided, activities undertaken, frequency of visits and proximity of population. Monetary estimates ranged from £6 to £8542 per person to £2581 to £70,832 per woodland. This new indicator has the potential to inform future woodland management and enable managers to consider a wider portfolio of ES.
Predation by small mammalian carnivores in rural agro-ecosystems: An undervalued ecosystem service? Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-21 Samual T. Williams, Naudene Maree, Peter Taylor, Steven R. Belmain, Mark Keith, Lourens H. Swanepoel
Africa is endowed with a diverse guild of small carnivores, which could benefit stakeholders by providing ecosystem services while fostering conservation tolerance for carnivores. To investigate the potential of small carnivores for the biological control of rodents within agro-ecosystems, we assessed both the ecological and social landscapes within two rural villages in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, South Africa. We employed a camera trapping survey underpinned by an occupancy modelling framework to distinguish between ecological and observation processes affecting small carnivore occupancy. We also used questionnaires to investigate perceptions of small carnivores and their role in pest control. We found the greatest diversity of small carnivores in land used for cropping in comparison to grazing or settlements. Probability of use by small carnivores was influenced negatively by the relative abundance of domestic dogs and positively by the relative abundance of livestock. Greater carnivore diversity and probability of use could be mediated through habitat heterogeneity, food abundance, or reduced competition from domestic carnivores. Village residents failed to appreciate the role of small carnivores in rodent control. Our results suggest that there is significant, although undervalued, potential for small carnivores to provide ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems.
(Dis) integrated valuation – Assessing the information gaps in ecosystem service appraisals for governance support Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-15 D.N. Barton, E. Kelemen, J. Dick, B. Martin-Lopez, E. Gómez-Baggethun, S. Jacobs, C.M.A. Hendriks, M. Termansen, M. García- Llorente, E. Primmer, R. Dunford, P.A. Harrison, F. Turkelboom, H. Saarikoski, J. van Dijk, G.M. Rusch, I. Palomo, V.J. Yli-Pelkonen, L. Carvalho, F. Baró, J. Langemeyer, J. Tjalling van der Wal, P. Mederly, J.A. Priess, S. Luque, P. Berry, R. Santos, D. Odee, G. Martines Pastur, G. García Blanco, S-R. Saarela, D. Silaghi, G. Pataki, F. Masi, A. Vădineanu, R. Mukhopadhyay, D.M. Lapola
The operational challenges of integrated ecosystem service (ES) appraisals are determined by study purpose, system complexity and uncertainty, decision-makers’ requirements for reliability and accuracy of methods, and approaches to stakeholder–science interaction in different decision contexts. To explore these factors we defined an information gap hypothesis, based on a theory of cumulative uncertainty in ES appraisals. When decision context requirements for accuracy and reliability increase, and the expected uncertainty of the ES appraisal methods also increases, the likelihood of methods being used is expected to drop, creating a potential information gap in governance. In order to test this information gap hypothesis, we evaluate 26 case studies and 80 ecosystem services appraisals in a large integrated EU research project. We find some support for a decreasing likelihood of ES appraisal methods coinciding with increasing accuracy and reliability requirements of the decision-support context, and with increasing uncertainty. We do not find that information costs are the explanation for this information gap, but rather that the research project interacted mostly with stakeholders outside the most decision-relevant contexts. The paper discusses how alternative definitions of integrated valuation can lead to different interpretations of decision-support information, and different governance approaches to dealing with uncertainty.
Economic value of bat predation services – A review and new estimates from macadamia orchards Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-13 Peter John Taylor, Ingo Grass, Andries J. Alberts, Elsje Joubert, Teja Tscharntke
The economic value of natural regulation of agricultural pests by bats has been estimated both by avoided cost models and by experimental predator-exclusion approaches. We review published studies globally from both complementary approaches. We further present an economic model for the avoided cost of bat predation on stinkbugs, the major economic pest of macadamias in South Africa, currently the world’s largest macadamia producer. We calculated both the direct (reduced stinkbug damage due to bat predation) and indirect (reduced pesticide use) avoided costs. We estimated the density of bats in a macadamia-growing region of South Africa to be 7.5–22.5 bats/ha, based on opportunistic data from the Merlin DeTEct (Inc.) avian-avoidance radar system. Current economic parameters for macadamia production, stinkbug injury coefficients and life history were obtained from the literature and from the Southern African Macadamia Association (SAMAC).We estimated the level of bat predation on pest stinkbugs in macadamia orchards from published dietary studies combined with both high and low published values for insect consumption rates relative to bat body mass. We found that the protected yield due to bat predation of stink bugs amounted to 0.53% (low consumption rates) to 1.29% (high consumption rates) of annual macadamia production in South Africa for 2015. Based on current macadamia prices, the approximate avoided cost values of these combined direct and indirect bat predation services varied between 9% and 23% of the current annual estimated cost of damage caused by stinkbugs to South African macadamia orchards (US$613/ha). Losing bats to disease epidemics, wind farms, human persecution or excessive or highly toxic pesticide applications could therefore significantly increase annual losses to the macadamia industry in South Africa caused by stinkbugs.
Revealing spatial and temporal patterns of outdoor recreation in the European Alps and their surroundings Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-09 Uta Schirpke, Claude Meisch, Thomas Marsoner, Ulrike Tappeiner
Handling a messy world: Lessons learned when trying to make the ecosystem services concept operational Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-09 Kurt Jax, Eeva Furman, Heli Saarikoski, David N. Barton, Ben Delbaere, Jan Dick, Guy Duke, Christoph Görg, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Paula A. Harrison, Joachim Maes, Marta Pérez-Soba, Sanna-Riikka Saarela, Francis Turkelboom, Jiska van Dijk, Allan D. Watt
The concept of ecosystem services is widely used in the scientific literature and increasingly also in policy and practice. Nevertheless, operationalising the concept, i.e. putting it into practice, is still a challenge. We describe the approach of the EU-project OpenNESS (Operationalisation of Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital), which was created in response to this challenge to critically evaluate the concept when applied to real world problems at different scales and in different policy sectors. General requirements for operationalization, the relevance of conceptual frameworks and lessons learnt from 27 case study applications are synthesized in a set of guiding principles. We also briefly describe some integrative tools as developed in OpenNESS which support the implementation of the principles. The guiding principles are grouped under three major headlines: “Defining the problem and opening up the problem space”, “Considering ethical issues” and “Assessing alternative methods, tools and actions”. Real world problems are often “wicked” problems, which at first are seldom clear-cut and well-defined, but often rather complex and subject to differing interpretations and interests. We take account of that complexity and emphasise that there is not one simple and straightforward way to approach real world problems involving ecosystem services. The principles and tools presented are meant to provide some guidance for tackling this complexity by means of a transdisciplinary methodology that facilitates the operationalisation of the ecosystem services concept.
Optimising recreation services from protected areas – Understanding the role of natural values, built infrastructure and contextual factors Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-08 E.C. Heagney, J.M. Rose, A. Ardeshiri, M. Kovač
Effective management of recreation within protected areas requires a comprehensive understanding of the drivers of site visitation. To date, large multi-site studies that compare recreation demand for protected areas in response to underlying site attributes are rare, and have generally been restricted to high-profile, high-visitation sites. Our study, undertaken in south-eastern Australia, is the first to use random utility travel cost methods to explore recreational preferences across all sites within a large protected area network. We applied a novel zero-inflation statistical correction to identify the value of recreation demand arising in response to a broad range of site attributes, including protected area size, remoteness, natural values and built infrastructure. We find a strong influence of built infrastructure on recreation demand, but only a subset of the 9 infrastructure types modelled consistently generated recreation demand across the protected areas network. Other infrastructure contributed positively or negatively to tourism demand depending on contextual factors like site remoteness and the availability of recreation substitutes. We discuss the implications for protected area management at both the site- and network- scales, and as well as implications for designing more effective travel cost studies that allow the robust transfer of study findings to other protected area sites.
The choice of forest site for recreation: A revealed preference analysis using spatial data Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-28 Fitalew Agimass, Thomas Lundhede, Toke Emil Panduro, Jette Bredahl Jacobsen
In this paper, we investigate the factors that can influence the site choice of forest recreation. Relevant attributes are identified by using spatial data analysis from a questionnaire asking people to indicate their most recent forest visits by pinpointing on a map. The main objectives of the study are (1) to examine the preferences of visitors for different forest attributes using data from actual visits and (2) to illustrate how many alternative sites need to be considered for estimation in case of a large number of potential recreational sites. Estimation is performed using a conditional logit as well as a random parameter logit model. The variables that are found to affect the choice of forest site to a visit for recreation include: forest area, tree species composition, forest density, availability of historical sites, terrain difference, state ownership, and distance. Regarding the second research objective, we empirically show the possibility of getting consistent parameter estimates through random selection of alternatives. We find that increasing the number of alternatives increases consistency of parameter estimates.
Ecosystem services and Antarctica: The time has come? Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-28 Jane Verbitsky
Antarctica's status as a unparalleled place of international scientific collaboration was entrenched in the Antarctic Treaty 1959, and its designation as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” formally referenced in the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (PEPAT) 1991 (PEPAT 1991, Article 2). The continent's importance for maintenance of the global ecosphere has more recently been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Anisimov et al., 2007). However, the expanded scale and scope of commercial tourism in Antarctica over the last quarter century raises issues about whether the laissez-faire approach to tourism management that has been taken under the auspices of Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) governance is sufficient to protect the Antarctic environment and its “wilderness” values from the negative impacts of tourism (PEPAT, Article 3(1)). This is an subject that has occupied a number of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCPs), who form the decision-making group within the ATS, and resulted in a recent question by The Netherlands to fellow ATCPs as to whether “a system of obligatory or voluntary payments by individual tourists or tourist organizations (as a payment for ‘ecosystem services’)?” should be established within the ATS (The Netherlands, ATCM XI, 2012). This paper considers the Dutch question about payment for ecosystem services in Antarctica as a potential tourism regulatory tool. It also examines the legal and related political issues that a proposal for introduction of ecosystem services would generate in an area of the earth which, de facto, is treated as an international commons, but is also the site of continuing contestation and challenge over abeyant claims to sovereignty by seven states within the ATCP group. Issues canvassed in this context include: the different political-philosophical approaches to tourism and the environment evinced by the ATCPs; the limited number of states signatory to the Treaty and the increase in non-state actor activity in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, and concomitant difficulties of monitoring and compliance in a geographically expansive and remote area of the earth; and the potential of ecosystem services in Antarctica to help realise some of the United Nations’ post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
When we cannot have it all: Ecosystem services trade-offs in the context of spatial planning Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-27 Francis Turkelboom, Michael Leone, Sander Jacobs, Eszter Kelemen, Marina García-Llorente, Francesc Baró, Mette Termansen, David N. Barton, Pam Berry, Erik Stange, Marijke Thoonen, Ágnes Kalóczkai, Angheluta Vadineanu, Antonio J. Castro, Bálint Czúcz, Christine Röckmann, Daniel Wurbs, David Odee, Elena Preda, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Graciela M. Rusch, Guillermo Martínez Pastur, Ignacio Palomo, Jan Dick, Jim Casaer, Jiska van Dijk, Joerg A. Priess, Johannes Langemeyer, Jyri Mustajoki, Leena Kopperoinen, Martin J. Baptist, Pablo Luis Peri, Raktima Mukhopadhyay, Réka Aszalós, S.B. Roy, Sandra Luque, Verónica Rusch
Spatial planning has to deal with trade-offs between various stakeholders’ wishes and needs as part of planning and management of landscapes, natural resources and/or biodiversity. To make ecosystem services (ES) trade-off research more relevant for spatial planning, we propose an analytical framework, which puts stakeholders, their land-use/management choices, their impact on ES and responses at the centre. Based on 24 cases from around the world, we used this framing to analyse the appearance and diversity of real-world ES trade-offs. They cover a wide range of trade-offs related to ecosystem use, including: land-use change, management regimes, technical versus nature-based solutions, natural resource use, and management of species. The ES trade-offs studied featured a complexity that was far greater than what is often described in the ES literature. Influential users and context setters are at the core of the trade-off decision-making, but most of the impact is felt by non-influential users. Provisioning and cultural ES were the most targeted in the studied trade-offs, but regulating ES were the most impacted. Stakeholders’ characteristics, such as influence, impact faced, and concerns can partially explain their position and response in relation to trade-offs. Based on the research findings, we formulate recommendations for spatial planning.
Maximising the value of research on ecosystem services: Knowledge integration and guidance tools mediating the science, policy and practice interfaces Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-24 Marta Pérez-Soba, Peter Verweij, Heli Saarikoski, Paula A. Harrison, David N. Barton, Eeva Furman
Progress towards sustainable development ultimately depends on policy makers’ and practitioners’ capacities to protect Natural Capital (NC) stocks so that they are not exploited beyond Earth’s capability to renew them. This involves a sound understanding of the benefits and values derived by society from NC and ecosystem services (ES). Scientific evidence to support this understanding is growing rapidly, but access to the data, methods, tools and expertise that underpins this evidence base is fragmented, particularly at the science – policy – practice interfaces. Two large EU research projects have therefore developed a joint knowledge platform – called Oppla – aimed at providing access to a wide range of resources on NC and ES. This new approach in the EU Research Area aims not only at integrating knowledge into one single platform, but also at making this knowledge operational amongst communities of science, policy and practice. Furthermore, it fosters the more efficient use of research funds by providing an open and freely available platform in which existing and new NC and ES projects can integrate their outcomes. This paper focuses on the knowledge integration and some guidance tools within Oppla to help users to find research outcomes.
An integrated framework to assess impacts on ecosystem services in LCA demonstrated by a case study of mining in Chile Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-21 Carlos Felipe Blanco, Alexandra Marques, Peter M. van Bodegom
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool to quantitatively assess the environmental impacts associated to a product’s life cycle. Since its conception, LCA has improved considerably in sophistication and scope. Yet efforts to incorporate ecosystem services (ES) are still at an early stage. We present a novel framework for assessing ES in LCA that integrates models from adjacent fields and partitions the required modeling steps into different phases of LCA. Physical models are first used to determine how physical units of ecosystems are transformed by industrial processes; ES models are then used to determine the losses or gains of ES per ecosystem unit, and economic valuation is used to normalize and weigh the total ES losses/gains. We demonstrate the framework for a case study on water extraction by the mining industry in Chile and compare ES losses that result from the transformation of wetland and coastal ecosystems respectively. The proposed framework advances current efforts to assess ES beyond land use impacts in LCA by presenting a coherent approach to deal with spatial and temporal variability of ES production and by incorporating socioeconomic aspects of ES use. It also facilitates the coupling of LCA with other ES databases currently being developed
Operationalising ecosystem service assessment in Bayesian Belief Networks: Experiences within the OpenNESS project Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Ron I. Smith, David N. Barton, Jan Dick, Roy Haines-Young, Anders L. Madsen, Graciela M. Rusch, Mette Termansen, Helen Woods, Laurence Carvalho, Relu Constantin Giucă, Sandra Luque, David Odee, Verónica Rusch, Heli Saarikoski, Cristian Mihai Adamescu, Rob Dunford, John Ochieng, Julen Gonzalez-Redin, Suvi Vikström
Nine Bayesian Belief Networks (BBNs) were developed within the OpenNESS project specifically for modelling ecosystem services for case study applications. The novelty of the method, its ability to explore problems, to address uncertainty, and to facilitate stakeholder interaction in the process were all reasons for choosing BBNs. Most case studies had some local expertise on BBNs to assist them, and all used expert opinion as well as data to help develop the dependences in the BBNs. In terms of the decision scope of the work, all case studies were moving from explorative and informative uses towards decisive, but none were yet being used for decision-making. Three applications incorporated BBNs with GIS where the spatial component of the management was critical, but several concerns about estimating uncertainty with spatial modelling approaches are discussed. The tool proved to be very flexible and, particularly with its web interface, was an asset when working with stakeholders to facilitate exploration of outcomes, knowledge elicitation and social learning. BBNs were rated as very useful and widely applicable by the case studies that used them, but further improvements in software and more training were also deemed necessary.
Legal aspects of ecosystem services: An introduction and an overview Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Volker Mauerhofer
This introductory contribution to a Special Issue (SI) titled “Legal Aspects of Ecosystem Services” intends to provide both a short introduction on the SI-topic as well as a brief overview on the content of each paper therein. The introduction aims to provide an overall entry point into the topic from a legal as well as an interdisciplinary perspective. It first offers initial insights into the relationship between the rule of law as one socially constructed normative framework and ecosystem services. Furthermore, it also points out interrelations among rule-focused, economic-focused and information-focused incentives, all with the potential to influence human behaviour with regard to ecosystem services. The overview delivers as a sort of short-cut a table of authors, levels of the geopolitical scale addressed, types of analysis implemented and themes focused upon within the Special Issue. It further provides an overview of the main direction of each contribution to this SI. The conclusions strive to provide a brief summary of the “why”, the “when”, the “where”, the “how” and the “what” of current and future research on legal aspect of ecosystem services.
Large mammal diversity matters for wildlife tourism in Southern African Protected Areas: Insights for management Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Ugo Arbieu, Claudia Grünewald, Berta Martín-López, Matthias Schleuning, Katrin Böhning-Gaese
Relationships between biodiversity and cultural ecosystem services have been little studied compared to other ecosystem services, although fundamental for environmental management. Recreational ecosystem services like wildlife tourism are specific cultural ecosystem services that often involve relationships between the supply of opportunities to interact with biodiversity and the demand of wildlife tourists. Here, we first investigated whether different biodiversity measures based on three metrics applied to four components of large mammal diversity influenced the distribution of visitors within four Protected Areas (PAs) in Southern Africa. Second, we explored whether these effects were context-specific across the four PAs. We counted large mammals and visitor numbers along 196 road transects to test these relationships. All species-mammal diversity metrics related positively to visitor numbers. Subsets of mammal diversity were also positively associated with the distribution of visitors in all PAs. Relationships between supply and demand for the recreational service of wildlife tourism were mainly context-specific: the relationships between biodiversity measures and visitor numbers differed among PAs. Our results could help managers to optimize the use of recreational services within PAs, by diversifying viewing opportunities while reducing disturbance to wildlife. The supply-demand approach presented here offers promising avenues for further assessments of recreational ecosystem services.
Practical application of spatial ecosystem service models to aid decision support Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Grazia Zulian, Erik Stange, Helen Woods, Laurence Carvalho, Jan Dick, Christopher Andrews, Francesc Baró, Pilar Vizcaino, David N. Barton, Megan Nowel, Graciela M. Rusch, Paula Autunes, João Fernandes, Diogo Ferraz, Rui Ferreira dos Santos, Réka Aszalós, Ildikó Arany, Bálint Czúcz, Arto Viinikka
Ecosystem service (ES) spatial modelling is a key component of the integrated assessments designed to support policies and management practices aiming at environmental sustainability. ESTIMAP (“Ecosystem Service Mapping Tool”) is a collection of spatially explicit models, originally developed to support policies at a European scale. We based our analysis on 10 case studies, and 3 ES models. Each case study applied at least one model at a local scale. We analyzed the applications with respect to: the adaptation process; the “precision differential” which we define as the variation generated in the model between the degree of spatial variation within the spatial distribution of ES and what the model captures; the stakeholders’ opinions on the usefulness of models. We propose a protocol for adapting ESTIMAP to the local conditions. We present the precision differential as a means of assessing how the type of model and level of model adaptation generate variation among model outputs. We then present the opinion of stakeholders; that in general considered the approach useful for stimulating discussion and supporting communication. Major constraints identified were the lack of spatial data with sufficient level of detail, and the level of expertise needed to set up and compute the models.
Integrating methods for ecosystem service assessment: Experiences from real world situations Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-15 Rob Dunford, Paula Harrison, Alison Smith, Jan Dick, David N. Barton, Berta Martin-Lopez, Ezsther Kelemen, Sander Jacobs, Heli Saarikoski, Francis Turkelboom, Wim Verheyden, Jennifer Hauck, Paula Antunes, Réka Aszalós, Ovidu Badea, Francesc Baró, Pam Berry, Laurence Carvalho, Vesa Yli-Pelkonen
The Ecosystem Services (ES) concept highlights the varied contributions the environment provides to humans and there are a wide range of methods/tools available to assess ES. However, in real-world decision contexts a single tool is rarely sufficient and methods must be combined to meet practitioner needs. Here, results from the OpenNESS project are presented to illustrate the methods selected to meet the needs of 24 real-world case studies and better understand why and how methods are combined to meet practical needs. Results showed that within the cases methods were combined to: i) address a range of ES; ii) assess both supply and demand of ES; iii) assess a range of value types; iv) reach different stakeholder groups v) cover weaknesses in other methods used and vi) to meet specific decision context needs. Methods were linked in a variety of ways: i) as input–output chains of methods; ii) through learning; iii) through method development and iv) through comparison/triangulation of results. The paper synthesises these case study-based experiences to provide insight to others working in practical contexts as to where, and in what contexts, different methods can be combined and how this can add value to case study analyses.
Socio-geographic indicators to evaluate landscape Cultural Ecosystem Services: A case of Mekong Delta, Vietnam Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-11 Loc Ho Huu, Thomas J. Ballatore, Kim N. Irvine, Thi Hong Diep Nguyen, Thi Cam Tien Truong, Shimizu Yoshihisa
Too often, taxonomies treat cultural aspects of Ecosystem Services (ES) as a broadly labeled, residual category after accounting for other utilitarian benefits. Such an approach overlooks several important inter-relationships among the largely different integrated components of cultural ES, i.e. recreational, spiritual, education concerns, etc. In this paper, the need of more explicit typologies is underscored via a case study, where the authors represented the discrepancies between two tiers of Cultural ES: those associated with Spiritual Values and Recreational Opportunities using a socio-georaphically-based tri-indicator analytical framework. More specifically, two survey-based (Richness and Quality of ES), and one GIS-based (Willingness to Travel (WTT)) indices were proposed to evaluate a full range of cultural benefits derived from seven popular tourism sites of Ha Tien Town, Kien Giang, Vietnam. These numerical indicators pointed out the significant differences between ritual values and recreational based benefits, underlining the crucial need of fuller taxonomies of cultural services within the ES analytical framework. With respect to the study area, the measurements of Quality and Richness detected major synergies and tradeoffs among the evaluated benefits, supporting the need to balance management between developing tourism activities and preserving cultural identity of the landscapes. The last indicator, WTT utilizes map data from OpenStreetMap to produce an objective metric in evaluating landscape quality, taking into account the frequency and the potential costs in traveling to respective sites. This indicator constitutes a reliable and equitable method to represent relevant Cultural ES of landscapes besides the popular yet controversial money-based indices, e.g. Willingness to Pay or Willingness to Accept.
The densification normative of the ecosystem services concept in Brazil: Analyses from legislation and jurisprudence Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-06 Alexandre Altmann, Márcia Silva Stanton
The concept of ecosystem services acquired a growing attention in Brazil in the last fifteen years. This fact was observed in the development of legal norms and court decisions throughout the country. Using the theory of densification normative by Thibierge et al. (2013), this paper analyses the theory’s seven parameters in two legal sources – legislation and jurisprudence – which identify a densification normative process over the concept of ecosystem services. This paper concludes that, under the prism of this theory, this densification normative process is being observed and it may contribute to the assignment of legal value to ecosystem services.
Knowledge needs for the operationalisation of the concept of ecosystem services Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-27 Esther Carmen, Allan Watt, Laurence Carvalho, Jan Dick, Ioan Fazey, Gemma Garcia-Blanco, Bruna Grizzetti, Jennifer Hauck, Zita Izakovicova, Leena Kopperoinen, Camino Liquete, David Odee, Eveliene Steingröver, Juliette Young
As environmental challenges and their management are increasingly recognised as complex and uncertain, the concept of ecosystem services has emerged from within scientific communities and is gaining influence within policy communities. To better understand how this concept can be turned into practice we examine knowledge needs from the perspective of the different stakeholders directly engaged with the operationalisation of ecosystem systems concept within ten socio-ecologically different case studies from different countries, levels of governance and ecosystems. We identify four different but interrelated areas of knowledge needs, namely; (i) needs related to develop a common understanding, (ii) needs related to the role of formal and informal institutions in shaping action on the ground, (iii) needs related to linking knowledge and action, and (iv) and needs related to accessible and easy to use methods and tools. These findings highlight the need to view knowledge as a process which is orientated towards action. We discuss the potential to develop transdisciplinary research approaches and the development of tools and methods explicitly as boundary objects in the ecosystem service science community to develop more collaborative practices with other stakeholders and facilitate the operationalisation of the concept of ecosystem services across contexts.
Selecting methods for ecosystem service assessment: A decision tree approach Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-21 Paula A. Harrison, Rob Dunford, David N. Barton, Eszter Kelemen, Berta Martín-López, Lisa Norton, Mette Termansen, Heli Saarikoski, Kees Hendriks, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Bálint Czúcz, Marina García-Llorente, David Howard, Sander Jacobs, Martin Karlsen, Leena Kopperoinen, Andes Madsen, Graciela Rusch, Grazia Zulian
A range of methods are available for assessing ecosystem services. Methods differ in their aims; from mapping and modelling the supply and demand of ecosystem services to appraising their economic and non-economic importance through valuation techniques. Comprehensive guidance for the selection of appropriate ecosystem service assessment methods that address the requirements of different decision-making contexts is lacking. This paper tackles this gap using the experience from 27 case studies which applied different biophysical, socio-cultural and monetary valuation methods to operationalise the ecosystem service concept towards sustainable land, water and urban management. A survey of the reasons why the case study teams selected particular methods revealed that stakeholder-oriented reasons, such as stakeholder participation, inclusion of local knowledge and ease of communication, and decision-oriented reasons, such as the purpose of the case study and the ecosystem services at stake, were key considerations in selecting a method. Pragmatic reasons such as available data, resources and expertise were also important factors. This information was used to develop a set of linked decision trees, which aim to provide guidance to researchers and practitioners in choosing ecosystem service assessment methods that are suitable for their context.
Mapping human influence intensity in the Tibetan Plateau for conservation of ecological service functions Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-21 Shicheng Li, Yili Zhang, Zhaofeng Wang, Lanhui Li
Human activities pose severe threats to ecosystems. As the Earth’s third pole, the Tibetan Plateau (TP) provides various ecosystem services for human beings, including water resources for nearly 40% of the world’s population. In this study, four categories of human pressures on the environment were analyzed firstly and then summed cumulatively to map the human influence intensity (HII) in the TP for 1990–2010 at county and 1 km scales. Subsequently, HII characteristics within valuable regions for water retention and biodiversity conservation were analyzed. The results showed that HII of the TP was low overall. The eastern and southeastern TP and the central part of the Tibet Autonomous Region saw high HII. For 1990–2010, the 1 km scale mean HII increased by 28.43%, which is much greater than the global level of 9% for 1993–2009, suggesting that the TP and the ecosystem services it provided may face with more threats. HII increase was mainly observed in the northeastern TP. Rapid increase of human activities within valuable regions for water retention and biodiversity conservation during 1990–2010 were detected, especially for the former. The obtained temporally-consistent HII datasets will be conducive to ecosystem services related decision making.
Innovative legal tools applied in land stewardship for the conservation of ecosystem services in Catalonia Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-18 Aitana De la Varga Pastor, Joan Pons Solé
In this paper we analyse how the conservation of ecosystem services (ES) is integrated in Spanish and Catalan legislation on land stewardship. Analysing their implementation in Catalonia, we demonstrate that the legal land stewardship framework has innovative tools that can be supplemented by payments for ecosystem services (PES) and tax incentives toward comprehensive ES protection. By analysing several experiences in Catalonia currently under development, we verify that implementing all of these instruments and encouraging the involvement of public administrations and civil society as a whole is crucial to conserving ES. Overall, we demonstrate the importance of incorporating into law not only ES but also measures available for protecting them and the alternative instruments used to develop them.
Stakeholders’ perspectives on the operationalisation of the ecosystem service concept: Results from 27 case studies Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-16 Jan Dick, Francis Turkelboom, Helen Woods, Irene Iniesta-Arandia, Eeva Primmer, Sanna-Riikka Saarela, Peter Bezák, Peter Mederly, Michael Leone, Wim Verheyden, Eszter Kelemen, Jennifer Hauck, Chris Andrews, Paula Antunes, Réka Aszalós, Francesc Baró, David N. Barton, Pam Berry, Grazia Zulian
The ecosystem service (ES) concept is becoming mainstream in policy and planning, but operational influence on practice is seldom reported. Here, we report the practitioners’ perspectives on the practical implementation of the ES concept in 27 case studies. A standardised anonymous survey (n = 246), was used, focusing on the science-practice interaction process, perceived impact and expected use of the case study assessments. Operationalisation of the concept was shown to achieve a gradual change in practices: 13% of the case studies reported a change in action (e.g. management or policy change), and a further 40% anticipated that a change would result from the work. To a large extent the impact was attributed to a well conducted science-practice interaction process (>70%). The main reported advantages of the concept included: increased concept awareness and communication; enhanced participation and collaboration; production of comprehensive science-based knowledge; and production of spatially referenced knowledge for input to planning (91% indicated they had acquired new knowledge). The limitations were mostly case-specific and centred on methodology, data, and challenges with result implementation. The survey highlighted the crucial role of communication, participation and collaboration across different stakeholders, to implement the ES concept and enhance the democratisation of nature and landscape planning.
Some contents have been Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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