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Journal Cover Ecosystem Services
  [SJR: 1.053]   [H-I: 6]   [6 followers]  Follow
    
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 2212-0416
   Published by Elsevier Homepage  [2970 journals]
  • Shedding light on the usability of ecosystem services–based decision
           support systems: An eye-tracking study linked to the cognitive probing
           approach
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 19
      Author(s): Thomas Michael Klein, Thomas Drobnik, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey
      The requirements for communicating ecosystem services (ES) information often are not considered in operationalizing ES concepts. In particular, the heterogeneous uses of ES require different functionalities and qualities for the information provided, which must be considered when processing ES data into different types of information. The relevant factors that influence the usability of ES information include the users’ knowledge and cognitive ability as well as case study–specific factors. This missing knowledge can affect the transformation of the ES concept into practice, thus preventing the use of ES for further development or for transformation to sustainable management. Providing information that is relevant and useful for decision-making thus depends on understanding potential users’ demands and their cognitive processes involving the information in making decisions. In this contribution, we present the evaluation of specific design features of a prototype ES decision support system assessed in an eye-tracking experiment. The study was conducted with more than 100 participants who were split into two groups. The participants in both groups had a background in spatial planning but differed in their connection to the case study region. The tool presented various GIS-based modeled land-use scenarios driven by a new spatial planning policy recently adopted in Switzerland that lead to various impacts on ES in the region. The ES information was shown with additional land-use indicators as well as information about the landscape aesthetic in landscape visualizations. The results show that there were significant differences between the participants in the way they perceived, interpreted and used the information for ES-based decision-making tasks. We also identified critical key factors defining the types of representation of the information that influence perception and cognitive processes. In summary, the results of the study provide design recommendations for representing ES information based on the intended use and identify critical representation features that could potentially influence the perception of ES information.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2016-05-14T06:27:27Z
       
  • Assessing the services of high mountain wetlands in tropical Andes: A case
           study of Caripe wetlands at Bolivian Altiplano
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 19
      Author(s): Vanessa Gandarillas R., Yong Jiang, Kenneth Irvine
      High mountain wetlands in the tropical central Andes are a representative ecosystem critically important for both global biodiversity and local livelihoods of indigenous communities. This study was intended to characterize and highlight the socio-economic importance of high mountain wetlands in relation to the livelihood and indigenous culture of local human settlements. In this study, we focused on wetlands at Caripe in the Altiplano, a community located at the northeast edge of the Sajama National Park in central western Bolivia. We adopted the ecosystem serve framework combined with economic valuation to assess five major wetland services considered either benefiting local households or of global conservation value, including water supply, livestock grazing, recreation, cultural and natural heritage and aesthetics, and biodiversity. We conducted a field survey including household interviews to collect information needed for assessing considered wetland services that characterizes indigenous community residents, their livelihoods in relation to wetlands, local perceptions on wetlands and provided services, and household willingness to pay in labor time for protecting the cultural services of wetlands. The study found that: 1) the community was characterized by relatively young people of poor education, with most raising livestock and living in extreme poverty; 2) most community households valued local wetlands and were concerned about wetland degradation; 3) lack of awareness or knowledge about wetlands ecological complexity in relation to human impact could be the reason for wetland degradation; 4) the services of wetlands were not equally important to the community; 5) local perception and judgment on wetlands status were based much on the availability, stability, and quality of the services they can derive; 6) livestock grazing generated the highest economic benefit estimated at about US$ 323 per year per hectare of wetlands, followed by biodiversity with an economic benefit of US$200 per year per hectare; 7) the economic value of cultural and natural heritage and sense of aesthetics was estimated at US$ 55 per year per hectare; and 8) the services of recreation and water supply had the lowest economic value of about US$17 per year per hectare and US$9 per year per hectare, respectively. This study sheds some light on the importance of high Andean wetlands to indigenous communities in the Altiplano while identifying research needs for the future.


      PubDate: 2016-05-14T06:27:27Z
       
  • Are the major imperatives of food security missing in ecosystem services
           research?
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 19
      Author(s): Gisella S. Cruz-Garcia, Erwan Sachet, Martha Vanegas, Kyle Piispanen
      It has been widely recognized that food security depends on the sustainable use and provisioning of ecosystem services. The goal of this paper is to present an overview of the scientific literature on ecosystem services and food security, with a major focus on case studies of farming communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, in order to answer the following research questions: (1) does ecosystem services research generate knowledge that helps to address the major imperatives of food security?, and (2) are the multiple linkages between ecosystem services and food security analyzed or assumed in research? The results of the study highlighted that food utilization, access and stability, which are the major food security challenges in the world, remained under-investigated. There is a major bias on food availability in relation to crop production, and most articles assumed that food security would improve by increasing crop productivity, but this hypothesis remained largely untested. Other research blind-spots were co-production, trade-offs and off-site effects of ecosystem services in relation to food security, gender and cultural services. The study concludes that ecosystem services research needs to improve efforts to generate knowledge that helps to address the main imperatives of food security.


      PubDate: 2016-05-07T17:18:25Z
       
  • The amenity value of Abu Dhabi's coastal and marine resources to its beach
           visitors
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 19
      Author(s): James Blignaut, Myles Mander, Roula Inglesi-Lotz, Jane Glavan, Stephen Parr
      Abu Dhabi, marketed as a centre of economic development in its geographic area during the post-oil era, is renowned for being a choice destination of high value individuals and tourists, due to its rich coastal and marine resources as well as the high quality of services. Outbreaks of harmful algae blooms (HAB) (red tides) due to increased eutrophication as a result of a decline in water quality, however, is posing a serious threat to the amenity values the tourist can appreciate. The amenity values include beach and ocean views, recreation and sport opportunities and facilities, as attractions, among others. To investigate the amenity value of the coastal and marine resources of Abu Dhabi to the beach visitors, we use a contingent valuation assessment after collecting data from a sample of 103 beach visitors. We conducted an econometric analysis to examine factors that potentially affect their behaviour. We determined firstly if the respondents were willing to accept compensation for visiting another beach in the event of an outbreak of HAB and its amount; or in another scenario if they would be willing to pay an annual fee, and its amount, for restoration and mitigation of the beach pollution. The results show that the beach amenity value, therefore, is estimated at between US$8.3million/ha and US$13.8million/ha based on the beach size. Factors such as the travel time from place of current residence the beach, the residence status, the number of beach visits and household size and income have affected the willingness-to-accept (WTA) of the respondents.


      PubDate: 2016-05-07T17:18:25Z
       
  • Ethnic and locational differences in ecosystem service values: Insights
           from the communities in forest islands in the desert
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 19
      Author(s): Aida Cuni-Sanchez, Marion Pfeifer, Rob Marchant, Neil D. Burgess
      Understanding cultural preferences toward different ecosystem services is of great importance for conservation and development planning. While cultural preferences toward plant species have been long studied in the field of plant utilisation, the effects of ethnicity on ecosystem services identification and valuation has received little attention. We assessed the effects of ethnicity toward different ecosystem services at three similar forest islands in northern Kenya inhabited by Samburu and Boran pastoralists. Twelve focus groups were organised in each mountain, to evaluate the ecosystem services provided by the forest, and assess which plant species are most important for provisioning different ecosystem services. While water was always identified as the most important ecosystem service, the second most important differed; and some were only mentioned by one ethnic group or in one location. Preferred plant species for food, fodder, medicine resources, poles and firewood followed the same pattern. Our results showed that ethnicity and location affect ecosystem services’ identification and importance ranking. This should be taken into account by decision-makers, e.g. as restricted access and regulated extraction is likely to affect people differently. Conservation and development projects would be more effective if they were initiated with an understanding of how people already use and value their forests.


      PubDate: 2016-05-07T17:18:25Z
       
  • Integrated evaluation of Ecosystem Services in Prawn-Rice rotational
           crops, Vietnam
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 5 May 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): Ho Huu Loc, Nguyen Thi Hong Diep, Nguyen Trong Can, Kim N. Irvine, Yoshihisa Shimizu
      The hydrologic condition in Kien Giang province on the west coast of Vietnam's Mekong Delta is unique in the sense that it has extensive saline water intrusion during the dry season every year. Instead of a triple crop scheme like other areas in the Delta, a prawn and rice rotational cultivation scheme was initiated to facilitate agricultural production in Kien Giang. In this paper, the ecosystem services (ES) generated from the agriculture ecosystem under the prawn and rice rotational crops (PRRC) were assessed using an integrated approach. The specific ES identified here include water and nutrition regulation in the soil together with climate regulation in favor of the cultivated crops. A multi-disciplinary approach including remote sensing, GIS, social surveys and statistical analysis was adopted to comprehensively evaluate the geographical, biophysical, economic and social aspects of the ES. Firstly, Landsat 8 images were processed with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NVDI) and Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI) to identify the areas cultivating PRRC. The accuracy of image classification was assessed by ground truthing and we found an 80% coincidence between the simulated results and the field observations. Then, the social survey was conducted using face to face interviews at 50 local households to collect data related to farming practices. Economic values of ecosystem services were obtained using the revised market methods by annual crop yields per unit area. The mean estimated value of ES provided through the PRRC was 1300 USD/ha/year (standard deviation of 600 USD/ha/year) which accounted for 38.1% and 59.4% of the averaged economic revenue and net benefit, respectively. The analysis of social survey data revealed the factors having the greatest effects on ecosystem services values were selling prices of prawn and farming experiences. Finally, results were synthesized with GIS to describe how ES values vary across the research area which facilitates effective communication of the importance of ES concepts to policy makers regarding land use planning and natural resources management decisions.


      PubDate: 2016-05-07T17:18:25Z
       
  • Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18




      PubDate: 2016-04-26T16:59:04Z
       
  • Valuation of ecosystem services to inform management of multiple-use
           landscapes
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 19
      Author(s): Shan Ma, Jennifer M. Duggan, Bradley A. Eichelberger, Brynn W. McNally, Jeffrey R. Foster, Eda Pepi, Marc N. Conte, Gretchen C. Daily, Guy Ziv
      Public agencies worldwide are increasingly adopting an ecosystem service framework to manage lands serving multiple uses. Yet, reliable, practical, and well-tailored methods remain a major limitation in moving from conceptual to actionable approaches. Together with one of the largest federal land managing agencies, we co-develop and co-demonstrate an ecosystem services approach tailored to specific decisions, through a process with potentially widespread relevance. With the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), we focus on balancing military training with biodiversity and resource conservation under both budgetary and land-use pressures at a representative installation. In an iterative process of co-design and application, we define, map, and quantify multiple ecosystem services under realistic management options. Resource management budget emerges as a major determinant of the degree to which managers can sustain both necessary training environments – a DoD-specific ecosystem service – and a prairie ecosystem with species of conservation concern. We also found clear tradeoffs between training intensity and forest-related services. Our co-developed approach brings otherwise hidden values and tradeoffs to the fore in a balanced way that can help public agencies safeguard priority services under potentially conflicting uses and budget limitations.


      PubDate: 2016-04-09T15:06:03Z
       
  • Abiotic flows should be inherent part of ecosystem services classification
    • Abstract: Publication date: June 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 19
      Author(s): E.S. van der Meulen, L.C. Braat, J.M. Brils
      Although ecosystems comprise both biotic and abiotic structures and processes, the role of abiotic output receives less attention and is addressed inconsistently in ecosystem services (ES) classification systems. The authors explore the nature and position of abiotic ecosystem output from: 1) a theoretical perspective on ecosystems, ecosystems services and natural capital; 2) a practical perspective on applying the ES concept in environmental policy, spatial planning and ecosystem management. From a theoretical point of view, excluding abiotic flows in ES frameworks such as CICES is inconsistent with the principles of the ES concept. Consequently, abiotic flows with (high) societal relevance may in practice be neglected or selectively addressed; many of them are related to sediment and the subsurface part of ecosystems. This impedes the integration strength of the ES concept. Given the large contributions to the economy and the societal costs of non-sustainable use of abiotic flows, it also impedes holistic, consistent and transparent information provision to decision makers. The authors urge to include abiotic flows as inherent part in ecosystem services classification systems such as CICES. This makes the application of the ES concept more holistic and consistent and will optimize it's integration power for practical planning and decision making.


      PubDate: 2016-04-06T14:59:29Z
       
  • Governing ecosystem services: National and local lessons from policy
           appraisal and implementation
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): René Verburg, Trond Selnes, Pita Verweij
      The TEEB approach to the use of ecosystem services has found its way to policy as a means to biodiversity conservation and greening of the economy. In this paper we analysed the uptake of the TEEB approach at national and local levels by applying a framework that revolves around the problem, approach and solution frame. At the national level (United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands) TEEB is mainly used to develop integrated decision making. In policy documents the importance of clearly formulated divisions of tasks is emphasised, while the practical implementation is transferred to lower government levels and stakeholders from the private sector. At the local level explorative studies are implemented, while a shared vision is often a major outcome of such processes. Shared visions are directed to incentives and management plans and also point to new societal challenges for future development. The uptake of an ecosystem services approach requires new types of contracts, ample resources, sufficient knowledge and new modes of governance to attract societal involvement. The research suggests that long term engagement of stakeholders in the participatory processes was however not guaranteed due to insufficient resources.


      PubDate: 2016-04-06T14:59:29Z
       
  • Assessing ecosystem services from multifunctional trees in pastures using
           Bayesian belief networks
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): David N. Barton, Tamara Benjamin, Carlos R. Cerdán, Fabrice DeClerck, Anders L. Madsen, Graciela M. Rusch, Álvaro G. Salazar, Dalia Sanchez, Cristóbal Villanueva
      A Bayesian belief network (BBN) was developed to assess preferred combinations of trees in live fences and on pastures in silvopastoral systems. The BBN was created with information from Rivas, Nicaragua, using local farmer knowledge on tree species, trees' costs and benefits, farmers' expressed needs and aspirations, and scientific knowledge regarding tree functional traits and their contribution to ecosystem services and benefits. The model identifies combinations of trees, which provide multiple ecosystem services from pastures, improving their productivity and contribution to farmer livelihoods. We demonstrate how the identification of portfolios of multifunctional trees can satisfy a profile of desired ecosystem services prioritized by the farmer. Diagnostics using Bayesian inference starts with an identification of farmer needs and ‘works backwards’ to identify a silvopastoral system structure. We conclude that Bayesian belief networks are a promising modeling technique for multi-criteria decisions in farm adaptation processes, where interventions must be adapted to specific contexts and farmer preferences.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2016-04-02T07:14:10Z
       
  • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands provide ecosystem service
           benefits that exceed land rental payment costs
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Kris A. Johnson, Brent J. Dalzell, Marie Donahue, Jesse Gourevitch, Dennis L. Johnson, Greg S. Karlovits, Bonnie Keeler, Jason T. Smith
      Global demand for commodities prompted the expansion of row crop agriculture in the Upper Midwest, USA with unknown consequences for multiple ecosystem services. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was designed to protect these services by paying farmers to retire environmentally sensitive land. Here we assessed whether the benefits provided by CRP's targeted retirement of agricultural land are equal to or greater in value than the cost of rental payments to farmers. We quantified the benefits of CRP lands for reducing flood damages, improving water quality and air-quality, and contributing to greenhouse gas mitigation in the Indian Creek watershed in Iowa. We found that for all assessed scenarios of CRP implementation, the ecosystem service benefits provided by CRP lands exceed the cost of payments to farmers. Expanding CRP implementation under one of three potential scenarios would require an average per-acre payment of $1311 over the life of a 10-year contract but would generate benefits with a net present value of between $1710 and $6401. This analysis suggests that investment in CRP in Indian Creek, and likely in other watersheds in the Upper Midwest, is justified based upon the value of public and private benefits provided by CRP lands.


      PubDate: 2016-04-02T07:14:10Z
       
  • Economic valuation at all cost? The role of the price attribute in a
           landscape preference study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 March 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): Boris T. van Zanten, Mark J. Koetse, Peter H. Verburg
      In ecosystem services and landscape research, both monetary and non-monetary preference studies are applied to elicit values that people assign to landscapes. In this paper, we apply a split-sample approach to compare relative preferences for landscape attributes between a choice experiment with and an experiment without price attribute. Also, within the choice experiment with a price attribute, we examine the effect of non-attendance to the price attribute (i.e., ignoring the price) on landscape preferences. A comparison of the marginal rates of substitution of landscape attributes between the two experiments reveals a clear difference of preference patterns. In addition, 36% of the respondents in the monetary experiment ignored the price attribute. This group expressed similar preferences for landscape attribute as respondents in the non-monetary experiment. We also show that ignoring this type of non-attendance leads to a substantial upward bias in monetary value estimates. We conclude that adding a price attribute to choice experiments substantially affects trade-offs and choices made by respondents. Including a payment vehicle ensures that trade-offs between attributes are more pronounced, and that money has to be put where the mouth is. However, controlling for non-attendance appears crucial for obtaining accurate monetary value estimates.


      PubDate: 2016-03-27T07:07:18Z
       
  • Ecosystem service valuation reinforces world class value of Cape York
           Peninsula's ecosystems but environment and indigenous people lose out
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Luke D. Preece, Penny van Oosterzee, Kym Dungey, Peta-Marie Standley, Noel D. Preece
      Cape York Peninsula's iconic status relies on its world-class landscapes and continuity of Indigenous occupation. Contests between economic, environmental, cultural and social interests have not considered valuations of ecosystem services. This first valuation of Cape York's ecosystem services asks the question: who is winning and where? The total ecosystem services value of Cape York is estimated conservatively to be AUD $130 billion per year. The value for each biome ranges from $0ha−1 y−1 in ‘non-remnant’ areas, to $602,000ha−1 y−1 for coral reefs. Ecosystem services value is comparable to the region's largest industry, bauxite mining. Mining has produced great benefits to the economy, but local communities remain disadvantaged, receiving a fraction of the ecosystem services value, estimated to be worth $120 M. The productivity of grazing lands is $18ha−1 y−1, compared to the ecosystem services value of at least $3,300ha−1 y−1. We argue that the high ecosystem services value of Cape York is because of Indigenous land management over millennia. Since the disenfranchisement of Indigenous people, ecosystems of northern Australia have suffered significant land degradation. A policy framework is required that acknowledges the value of ecosystem services and also incentivizes the cultural ecosystem services of Cape York.


      PubDate: 2016-03-27T07:07:18Z
       
  • Valuing climate change impacts on European forest ecosystems
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Helen Ding, Aline Chiabai, Silvia Silvestri, Paulo A.L.D. Nunes
      This paper presents one of the first attempts to perform a systematic assessment of the climate change impacts on European forests and its capacity to deliver ecosystem services by developing a hybrid economic valuation model. Different methods are combined to assess climate change impacts on forests by different latitudes, productivity in bio-physical terms and related economic consequences. Our computation shows that countries within the Mediterranean European geo-climatic zone will benefit from the highest welfare gain in moving towards an environmentally oriented scenario. The welfare gain has been estimated around 86% increase in the cultural values, 45% increase in the value of carbon sequestration and 24% increase in the values of wood forest products. The other countries show an intermediate state of affairs with mixed results. On the other hand, high welfare losses are always expected when moving to the more economically oriented scenarios, with the highest impacts among the Northern European countries. Results show that all storylines describe significant impacts on human wellbeing. These economic magnitudes contribute to a better understanding of the potential welfare loss across different regions and therefore will have important policy implications, such as developing the ecosystem-base adaption measures for Europe to cope with climate change.


      PubDate: 2016-03-22T06:57:23Z
       
  • Perceived landscape values in the Ogasawara Islands
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Jarkko Havas, Osamu Saito, Keisuke Hanaki, Toshinori Tanaka
      The ecologies, economies and societies of remote islands are characterized by their vulnerability to external shocks. This vulnerability stems from the limited available resources on these islands. For this reason, it is important to have a careful balance between the use and protection of remote island resources. Understanding the needs and values of all stakeholders in development and protection policy making is vital for a robust outcome. Citizen participation has been underrepresented in Japanese remote island policies, and this study displays a method for collecting and sharing quantitative and spatial information on values that residents perceive in their environment. Landscape values are used in quantifying residents perceived values. The results of this study show how residents of Ogasawara value their environment, how these values have changed in the past five years and what places are especially important in each landscape value category. Quantitative information on values, and spatial distribution of values on different land use zones form a potential knowledge base for better informed policy decision making. The method used in this study is a promising methodology to mapping and quantifying cultural ecosystem services that are often underrepresented in ecosystem services assessments.


      PubDate: 2016-03-17T06:51:55Z
       
  • From regional environmental planning to implementation: Paths and
           challenges of integrating ecosystem services
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Carolin Galler, Christian Albert, Christina von Haaren
      Planning and governance at the regional scale is a promising field for the application of the ecosystem service (ES) concept. The objective of this paper is to explore the potential implications of integrating the ES concept into regional planning and governance. We focus on two pathways of influence: (i) information on ES and their values as decision-support in planning and management, ii) the ES concept as a boundary object for facilitating cross-sectoral interaction and collaboration. A case study illustrates the effects of applying the ES concept in planning processes. The usefulness of the ES concept as a boundary object was derived from focus groups with scientists and practitioners. Integrating the ES information into planning, facilitates the consideration of trade-offs and multifunctionality in decision-making. Furthermore, it helps people to recognize how individuals or societies are affected, thus, improving preconditions for public participation. Additionally, ES can serve as a mutual reference level within the valuation and monitoring systems of different environmental disciplines. Challenges are found in assessing utilized ES and differentiating benefits for public and individuals. Employing economic valuation could supplement existing planning procedures, but carries risks. There is a need for research in the field of applicable assessment methods and standardizations.


      PubDate: 2016-03-12T06:48:49Z
       
  • Do ecosystem service maps and models meet stakeholders’ needs? A
           preliminary survey across sub-Saharan Africa
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Simon Willcock, Danny Hooftman, Nadia Sitas, Patrick O’Farrell, Malcolm D. Hudson, Belinda Reyers, Felix Eigenbrod, James M. Bullock
      To achieve sustainability goals, it is important to incorporate ecosystem service (ES) information into decision-making processes. However, little is known about the correspondence between the needs of ES information users and the data provided by the researcher community. We surveyed stakeholders within sub-Saharan Africa, determining their ES data requirements using a targeted sampling strategy. Of those respondents utilising ES information (>90%; n=60), 27% report having sufficient data; with the remainder requiring additional data – particularly at higher spatial resolutions and at multiple points in time. The majority of respondents focus on provisioning and regulating services, particularly food and fresh water supply (both 58%) and climate regulation (49%). Their focus is generally at national scales or below and in accordance with data availability. Among the stakeholders surveyed, we performed a follow-up assessment for a sub-sample of 17 technical experts. The technical experts are unanimous that ES models must be able to incorporate scenarios, and most agree that ES models should be at least 90% accurate. However, relatively coarse-resolution (1–10km2) models are sufficient for many services. To maximise the impact of future research, dynamic, multi-scale datasets on ES must be delivered alongside capacity-building efforts.


      PubDate: 2016-03-12T06:48:49Z
       
  • Assessment of multi-level legal mechanisms for the protection of ecosystem
           services in China
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 28 February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): Mingqing You
      The Chinese environmental law recognizes the value of ecosystem services and provides a multi-level system of legal mechanisms. Differentiation of land use, the accountability of local government and their political leaders for the environment, including the ecosystem services capacity, the payment for ecosystem services through transfer payments or market mechanism, the tort liability for the disruption of ecosystem, and criminal liability for disruption of the ecosystem are the main legal mechanisms for the protection of ecosystem services in China. These mechanisms can be grouped into more centralized or decentralized mechanisms. The criminal and civil liabilities for disrupting ecosystems are decentralized mechanisms while others are more centralized. The recent development of public interest litigation helps to remedy ecological disruptions. The enforcement of criminal liability primarily relies on the police and public prosecutors. The more centralized mechanisms primarily rely on the command and control of the higher government over lower government but the incentives of lower government is also essential. Considering environmental protection is just one of the responsibilities of local governments, it is essential to incentivize political leaders of local governments to put more weight on environmental protection and the conservation and improvement of ecosystems. The central government categorizes four type of function zones (optimized development zone, intensive development zone, restricted development, and prohibited development zone) and set differentiated economic and environmental requirement on each category of land. The purpose is to differentiate the incentives of local governments. The local governments are responsible to meet the environmental protection goals. The central government incentivize the local governments through a top-down hierarchical performance evaluation system of local political leaders whose promotion largely depends on the governmental official performance evaluation system. The economic compensation for the conservation of ecosystem services is accomplished through transfer payments or market mechanisms. The local government of regions that benefit from the ecosystems of other regions may need to make payment to the government of the latter either directly or via the higher government. The success of the more centralized mechanisms depends on the authority of the central government over local governments, the authority of the higher local governments over lower local governments. The interests of local residents and local governments may be ignored. The high transaction costs may make these mechanisms inefficient.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Evaluating services and damage costs of degradation of a major lake
           ecosystem
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 March 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): Hannah Mueller, David P. Hamilton, Graeme J. Doole
      Values of ecosystems and potential losses associated with their degradation are complex and often ignored in economic assessments. The concept of ecosystem services may describe these values, as it is widely used to communicate the benefits that humans derive from ecosystems. The aim of this study was to conduct a valuation of a lake ecosystem and potential damage costs arising from its degradation. The approach was applied to Lake Rotorua (central North Island, New Zealand). The range of values derived from ecosystem services provided by Lake Rotorua was calculated using selected indicators and direct market pricing, indirect pricing (hedonic pricing, replacement cost) and existence value pricing. Social damage costs were calculated from loss of income from impaired recreation and reduced property values, as well as ecological damage costs caused by algal blooms and decline in habitat quality for aquatic fauna. The values of ecosystem services provided by Lake Rotorua in 2012 were calculated to be NZD 94-138 million p.a., with potential damage costs of eutrophication calculated at $14-48 million p.a. These estimates indicate that lakes are an important economic asset, and continuous ecosystem degradation has an external cost that is commonly ignored in management decisions.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • The role of legal aspects of Ecosystem Service in Brazil to achieve the
           sustainable development
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 March 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): Beatriz Souza Costa
      This paper aims to discuss how Brazilian politics has broadened the legal aspects of Ecosystem Services to achieve sustainable development.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Value pluralism and economic valuation – defendable if well done
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Joachim H. Spangenberg, Josef Settele
      Scientists talk of “ecosystem services” and their economic value when arguing for the conservation of biodiversity. The limits to this line of argumentation are analysed based on the philosophy of values (axiology), exploring different kinds of values and discussing which of them can be adequately described with economic methods. The three promises of economic valuation, raising awareness in polity, saving biodiversity by internalising external cost, and contributing to better decisions are assessed and turn out to be more than questionable. Finally, the niche is defined where economic valuation makes sense, taking into account the restrictions from the axiological and the economic analysis.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Longan fruit farmers' demand for policies aimed at conserving native
           pollinating bees in Northern Thailand
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Manuel Ernesto Narjes, Christian Lippert
      Northern Thailand is orienting its agriculture towards intensive production systems at risk of being subjected to the current worldwide pollinator crisis. Bee-friendly pest management, improving native bee habitats within agro-forest ecosystems and fostering the husbandry of native bee species are three widely recognized strategies to conserve the local pollinating fauna. We attempted at eliciting farmers' valuation of these measures and that of their potential effect on local native bees, by conducting a choice experiment with 198 longan (Dimocarpus longan) farmers. The results of a mixed logit model indicate a significant heterogeneity in farmers' preferences, part of which was explained by the respondents' attitude towards native bees, among other idiosyncratic variables such as gender. We also determined a generally positive willingness to pay for the above mentioned conservation measures, which implemented together were valued at approx. €18.1 by the average household, all else equal. Additionally, avoiding a 50% native bee population decline was valued in average at €40.5 per household. These estimates stand in strong contrast with the comparatively high economic losses such a decline could potentially entail in terms of reduced longan production and the relatively low investment costs to implement a conservation strategy aimed at preventing such losses.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • A review of seagrass economic valuations: Gaps and progress in valuation
           approaches
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Bryan M. Dewsbury, Mahadev Bhat, James W. Fourqurean
      Multiple studies have documented the ecologically important role that seagrasses play in estuarine and marine ecosystems. Unfortunately, economic valuations of these systems have not been as widespread. To date, most techniques rely on mechanisms that do not incorporate the actual ecological drivers behind the economic service, but rather rely on proxy measures to derive value. In this manuscript we review the many values that seagrasses have that result in economic services, and the valuation techniques used to estimate their monetary value. We present a conceptual framework linking seagrass ecosystems to the economic services they provide, showing the areas where novel valuation approaches are most lacking. We conclude that indirect methods used to valuate seagrass ecosystems underestimate the economic value of their services, and that more derivative-based models linking ecological structure and function to all associated economic services are essential for accurate estimations of their dollar value.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Moving beyond the exchange value in the nonmarket valuation of ecosystem
           services
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Karen E. Allen, Rebecca Moore
      There has been much discussion across the ecosystem services literature as to the role of economic valuation in identifying ecosystem service values and shaping policy. This article demonstrates a non-typical use of a nonmarket valuation technique known as the stated choice experiment (CE) for understanding a range of public preferences for stream-related ecosystem services in Macon County, NC. The experiment was carried out as part of the National Science Foundation funded Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research initiative, and it reflects an interdisciplinary attempt to produce knowledge regarding ecosystem service values that is of relevance to policy makers. The CE uses a split-sample design to test for the impact of mechanism of program implementation on respondent preferences and demonstrate a range of public willingness to pay (WTP) for stream health improvements. Responses are analyzed with a latent class logit and the results show that altering the mechanism of program implementation changes the latent class composition. Results also demonstrate consistent preferences for certain attributes of stream health, but WTP for ecosystem service provisioning varies widely with proposed program implementation. The use of the CE in this research demonstrates the flexibility of the tool for combining with interdisciplinary knowledge, as well as the usefulness of information provided by nonmarket valuation techniques for informing policy design.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Participatory selection of ecosystem services for spatial planning:
           Insights from the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Portugal
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): André Mascarenhas, Tomás B. Ramos, Dagmar Haase, Rui Santos
      Ecosystem services (ES) assessments have been undergoing rapid developments. Despite considerable advancements it is still difficult to comprehensively assess a large suite of ES, often requiring a selection of the most relevant ones. However, documented and tested procedures to select ES, particularly through participatory processes, are scarce. The aim of this research is to explore the participatory selection of ES, illustrated with the case of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in Portugal, southwestern Europe. Drawing from a spatial planning context, different types of stakeholders were involved through a combination of participatory techniques. It was possible to identify differences in stakeholders' ES selection, while at the same time arriving at a set of priority ES and linking them with spatial planning goals that entail potential effects on ES. The strengths of the approach include the use of different participatory techniques, of drivers that help translating plans and of an existing ES classification system to support it. On the other hand, the exploratory nature of the research meant that a limited range of types of stakeholders was covered. The participatory approach developed in this research has the potential to be adapted for ES selection in other planning contexts or in strategic environmental assessments.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Ecosystem service valuation framework applied to a legal case in the
           Anchicaya region of Colombia
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 28 February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): David Toledo, Tania Briceño, German Ospina



      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Coordinated service provision in payment for ecosystem service schemes
           through adaptive governance
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): David C. Cook, Nadiah P. Kristensen, Shuang Liu
      In this paper, we look to the adaptive governance literature for insight into how payment schemes for the provision of ecosystem services might be designed to achieve multiple socially desirable objectives over different spatial scales instead of simply focusing on localised benefits for service providers. Using the principles of adaptive governance, we explore how the concepts of lateral information flows and incentive alignment might shape ecosystem service payment schemes and allow the coordination of ecosystem service priorities across different jurisdictions. We suggest that progressing from purely anthropocentric assessments of payment schemes towards biocentric evaluations may lead to improved design principles. We discuss specific advantages of adaptive governance approaches over traditional centralised governance models related to policy-experimentation at multiple spatial scales, institutional variety and deliberative decision-making processes that establish dialogue between service providers and beneficiaries that promote group learning.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Capability of the Polish Legal System to introduce the ecosystem services
           approach into the Environmental Management System
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 28 February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): Małgorzata Stępniewska, Iwona Zwierzchowska, Andrzej Mizgajski
      Following the example of strategic papers in the EU, Polish strategic papers have started to postulate the implementation of the ecosystem services (ES) approach. Until now, the term “ecosystem services” has not been presented in Polish legal acts. However, current regulations allow for this approach (although not in a direct way) to be taken into consideration to a significant extent. The aim of this paper is to show the challenges of implementing the ES approach into the Polish legal system. The paper attempts to review Polish legal regulations concerning protection of ecosystems, their functions and benefits for people. Our objective is to point out the possibilities of applying the ES approach within the scope of actions referred to in legal regulations.


      PubDate: 2016-03-07T06:41:37Z
       
  • Community-based groundwater and ecosystem restoration in semi-arid north
           Rajasthan (2): Reviving cultural meaning and value
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Mark Everard
      Cultural and other less directly exploited ecosystem services tend to be excluded from decision-making, yet may underlie strong ties between people and their surroundings providing significant incentives for engagement with ecosystem conservation. Overlooking non-marketed services leads to non-systemic, utilitarian understandings and narrow solutions. Aquatic species were recorded in eleven ponded sections of three sub-catchments in semi-arid north-east Rajasthan that had been regenerated through community-based management activities, along with local associated medicinal, spiritual and other cultural values. Local religious and traditional beliefs reinforce awareness of the co-dependence of people with nature. Socially held values may be incommensurable with quantification and monetisation methods applied to marketed services, other than by rough proxies, but can be significant in engendering engagement in landscape regeneration. Pervasive global declines in habitat quantity and quality, with their implications for human wellbeing through loss of ecosystem services, raise questions about the adequacy of interpretations of sustainable development that fail to recognise the need not merely to reduce pressures upon but to actively regenerate the supportive capacities of damaged ecosystems. Lessons from the study region can inform this global need for practical action and policy reform to restore ecosystems as fundamental resources underpinning continuing human security and opportunity.


      PubDate: 2016-02-17T04:12:38Z
       
  • Towards a more structured selection process for attributes and levels in
           choice experiments: A study in a Belgian protected area
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Sarah Jeanloz, Sebastien Lizin, Natalie Beenaerts, Roy Brouwer, Steven Van Passel, Nele Witters
      The process of selecting attributes for inclusion in choice experiments frequently involves qualitative methods such as focus groups and interviews. In order for a choice experiment to be successful and the results to be valid, this qualitative selection process is essential. It often lacks rigour and is poorly described, particularly in environmental choice experiments. We propose a meticulous attribute and attribute-level selection process consisting of a scoring exercise and an interactive discussion. This paper provides a case study describing how attributes and attribute-levels were identified and selected for the National Park Hoge Kempen in Belgium. We carried out four focus groups and thirteen semi-structured interviews with various park stakeholders to select attributes from six categories: the four categories of ecosystem services (supporting, provisioning, regulating, cultural), infrastructure, and land use types. The top-ranked characteristics were nature conservation, natural forests, biodiversity refuge, wetlands, landscape variety, heathlands, air purification, and education. Both the scoring exercise and the interactive discussion contributed to the attributes selected for the CE. Following these, an ultimate expert consultation stage is recommended to approve both the attribute and attribute-level selection. The semi-qualitative protocol proposed in this paper can help practitioners and demonstrates how the results guide choice experiment design.


      PubDate: 2016-02-17T04:12:38Z
       
  • Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17




      PubDate: 2016-02-17T04:12:38Z
       
  • Mapping water provisioning services to support the
           ecosystem–water–food–energy nexus in the Danube river
           basin
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Armağan Karabulut, Benis N. Egoh, Denis Lanzanova, Bruna Grizzetti, Giovanni Bidoglio, Liliana Pagliero, Fayçal Bouraoui, Alberto Aloe, Arnaud Reynaud, Joachim Maes, Ine Vandecasteele, Sarah Mubareka
      Water, food and energy are at the core of human needs and there is a boundless complex cycle among these three basic human needs. Ecosystems are in the center of this nexus, since they contribute to the provision of each component, making it imperative to understand the role of ecosystems in securing food, water and energy for human well-being. In this study we aimed to map and assess water provisioning services and associated benefits to support the ecosystem–water–food–energy nexus by taking into account environmental flow requirements for riverine ecosystems using the hydrological model Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). We developed a framework that includes indicators of renewable water (capacity of ecosystem to provide water) and water use (service flow) and we applied it in the Danube river basin over the period 1995–2004. Water scarcity indicators were used to map the possible water scarcity in the subbasins, and analyze the spatial match of water availability and water use. The results show that modelling is instrumental to perform the integrated analysis of the ecosystem–water–food–energy nexus; and that spatial mapping is a powerful tool to display environmental availability of water provisioning and regulatory services delivered by ecosystems, and can support the nexus analysis.


      PubDate: 2016-02-17T04:12:38Z
       
  • Natural infrastructure investment and implications for the nexus: A global
           overview
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Genevieve Bennett, Jan Cassin, Nathaniel Carroll
      As deeply interlinked challenges to water, energy, and food security appear poised to accelerate in the coming decades, interest has grown in landscape-based approaches to manage water–energy–food (W–E–F) nexus risks and trade-offs. Both engineered and “natural infrastructure” approaches are needed to increase productivity and resilience in W–E–F systems and to meet pressures of a growing global population and changing climate. However, to date little information exists about the use of nature-based solutions globally, the scale of present investment, funders' motives, or observed results. This paper uses data from a global survey of watershed investments to examine the state of investment in “natural infrastructure”-based solutions for water, which can also address nexus challenges. We find that at least US $1 billion (B) flowed to watershed investment programs tackling nexus risks and trade-offs in 2013. But attention is focused largely on agricultural impacts on water and driven mainly by water service providers and the public sector. Our preliminary findings suggest that potential funders may be unaware of, or constrained in their ability to implement, nature-based strategies to address nexus-related challenges, and that current investment likely does not match the scale of risk or dependency of our W–E–F systems on healthy landscapes.


      PubDate: 2016-02-17T04:12:38Z
       
  • Does the water footprint concept provide relevant information to address
           the water–food–energy–ecosystem nexus?
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): D. Vanham
      This paper is a perspective paper, which investigates whether the water footprint (WF) concept addresses the water–food–energy–ecosystem nexus. First, the nexus links between (1) the planetary boundary freshwater resources (green and blue water resources) and (2) food security, energy security, blue water supply security and water for environmental flows/water for other ecosystem services (ES) are analysed and graphically presented. Second, the WF concept is concisely discussed. Third, with respect to the nexus, global water resources (green and blue) availability and use are discussed and graphically presented with an indication of quantities obtained from the literature. It is shown which of these water uses are represented in WF accounting. This evaluation shows that general water management and WF studies only account for the water uses agriculture, industry and domestic water. Important water uses are however generally not identified as separate entities or even included, i.e. green and blue water resources for aquaculture, wild foods, biofuels, hydroelectric cooling, hydropower, recreation/tourism, forestry (for energy and other biomass uses) and navigation. Fourth, therefore a list of essential separate components to be included within WF accounting is presented. The latter would be more coherent with the water–food–energy–ecosystem nexus and provide valuable extra information and statistics.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2016-02-17T04:12:38Z
       
  • Towards market- or command-based governance? The evolution of payments
           for environmental service schemes in Andean and Mesoamerican countries
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Leander Raes, Lasse Loft, Jean François Le Coq, Guido Van Huylenbroeck, Patrick Van Damme
      Payments for environmental services (PES) are a hybrid mode of governance, situated between markets and hierarchies. However, market structure has been used as a theoretical model to inform PES design. Based on 16 cases from Andean and Mesoamerican countries, we analyze whether PES schemes have, since their implementation, gradually incorporated more market characteristics or whether and to what extent these schemes have changed towards more reliance on command-based mechanisms. The schemes analyzed cover a range of governance mechanisms, from small markets to almost complete hierarchical organization. Our results suggest that over time an increasing number of the schemes have incorporated characteristics of a hierarchy to organize ecosystem service users. Mostly through the use of taxes/tariffs and by governments acting directly on users’ behalf. Contractual agreements, with payment levels either bilaterally negotiated or set by intermediaries, and providers being mainly individual and communal landholders, remain at the core of most schemes studied. Intermediaries are important actors in almost all schemes analyzed. They organize and/or represent users, and are usually national or local governments. The evolution of the schemes analyzed suggests that there is no convergence towards a market for ecosystem services, but an increasing complexity in the schemes' design.


      PubDate: 2016-02-12T04:12:03Z
       
  • Sustainable energy potential from biomass through ecosystem services
           trade-off analysis: The case of the Province of Rovigo (Northern Italy)
    • Abstract: Publication date: April 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 18
      Author(s): Elena Gissi, Mattias Gaglio, Matelda Reho
      Bioenergy production is an important Ecosystem Service (ES) provided by natural and semi-natural ecosystems, which can concur to reach EU targets of 20% of total energy production from renewable sources. Environmental concerns with respect to bioenergy are multiple. Certification Schemes, aimed at reducing the negative effects of biomass energy supply chains, are not effective in controlling possible cumulative effects at regional level caused by both macro and micro feedstock producers and users. Sustainable feedstock production is often underestimated in energy planning and in the issuing of plant permits. This study applies an ES-based approach in order to quantify and map bioenergy sustainable potential in the Province of Rovigo (Region of Veneto, Italy), an intensively farmed agro-environment, and translate bioenergy environmental impacts in terms of ES trade-offs. The results show that the share of bioenergy potential from trade-offs with other ESs is limited. The magnitude and variability of ESs trade-offs are analyzed and discussed, resulting in a spatial distribution which is place-based and context dependent. Management solutions should be considered in order to mitigate trade-offs with other ESs, increasing ecological and social acceptability.


      PubDate: 2016-02-12T04:12:03Z
       
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats: A SWOT analysis of the
           ecosystem services framework
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): J.W. Bull, N. Jobstvogt, A. Böhnke-Henrichs, A. Mascarenhas, N. Sitas, C. Baulcomb, C.K. Lambini, M. Rawlins, H. Baral, J. Zähringer, E. Carter-Silk, M.V. Balzan, J.O. Kenter, T. Häyhä, K. Petz, R. Koss
      The ecosystem services concept (ES) is becoming a cornerstone of contemporary sustainability thought. Challenges with this concept and its applications are well documented, but have not yet been systematically assessed alongside strengths and external factors that influence uptake. Such an assessment could form the basis for improving ES thinking, further embedding it into environmental decisions and management. The Young Ecosystem Services Specialists (YESS) completed a Strengths–Weaknesses–Opportunities–Threats (SWOT) analysis of ES through YESS member surveys. Strengths include the approach being interdisciplinary, and a useful communication tool. Weaknesses include an incomplete scientific basis, frameworks being inconsistently applied, and accounting for nature's intrinsic value. Opportunities include alignment with existing policies and established methodologies, and increasing environmental awareness. Threats include resistance to change, and difficulty with interdisciplinary collaboration. Consideration of SWOT themes suggested five strategic areas for developing and implementing ES. The ES concept could improve decision-making related to natural resource use, and interpretation of the complexities of human-nature interactions. It is contradictory – valued as a simple means of communicating the importance of conservation, whilst also considered an oversimplification characterised by ambiguous language. Nonetheless, given sufficient funding and political will, the ES framework could facilitate interdisciplinary research, ensuring decision-making that supports sustainable development.


      PubDate: 2015-12-26T14:57:57Z
       
  • Estimation of the economic value of the ecosystem services provided by the
           Blue Nile Basin in Ethiopia
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 December 2015
      Source:Ecosystem Services
      Author(s): Abonesh Tesfaye, Nitsuhe Wolanios, Roy Brouwer
      This paper aims to quantify and economically value the main ecosystem services provided by the Blue Nile basin in Ethiopia. It is the first study in its kind to do so in a consistent and comprehensive manner using the same valuation approach. Water flows are linked to corresponding economic market values using the residual value method. Values for provisioning and regulating services related to the hydro-morphological and hydro-ecological functioning of the Blue Nile's water resources are derived based on four main water-dependent activities in the basin: irrigated agriculture, hydropower production, commercial navigation and fisheries. Data are collected from existing official and other secondary sources and are supplemented with information obtained from stakeholders and experts. The estimated annual contribution of the provisioning and regulating services of the freshwater ecosystem to the national economy was ETB 883 million (US$ 52 million) in 2011. This is very low compared to current GDP (<1%), partly due to the malfunctioning and underdevelopment of the current infrastructure to fully exploit the potential of the Blue Nile water resources. An integrated water resources management policy and improved institutional-economic setup aimed at maximization of continued provision of these services is expected to generate substantially higher economic values.


      PubDate: 2015-12-07T04:46:07Z
       
  • A comparative approach to assess the contribution of landscape features to
           aesthetic and recreational values in agricultural landscapes
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Boris T. van Zanten, Ingo Zasada, Mark J. Koetse, Fabrizio Ungaro, Kati Häfner, Peter H. Verburg
      The importance of cultural ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes is increasingly recognized as agricultural scale enlargement and abandonment affect aesthetic and recreational values of agricultural landscapes. Landscape preference studies addressing these type of values often yield context-specific outcomes, limiting the applicability of their outcomes in landscape policy. Our approach measures the relative importance of landscape features across agricultural landscapes. This approach was applied in the agricultural landscapes of Winterswijk, The Netherlands (n=191) and the Märkische Schweiz, Germany (n=113) among visitors in the agricultural landscape. We set up a parallel designed choice experiment, using regionally specific, photorealistic visualizations of four comparable landscape attributes. In the Dutch landscape visitors highly value hedgerows and tree lines, whereas groups of trees and crop diversity are highly valued in the German landscape. Furthermore, we find that differences in relative preference for landscape attributes are, to some extent, explained by socio-cultural background variables such as education level and affinity with agriculture of the visitors. This approach contributes to a better understanding of the cross-regional variation of aesthetic and recreational values and how these values relate to characteristics of the agricultural landscape, which could support the integration of cultural services in landscape policy.


      PubDate: 2015-12-07T04:46:07Z
       
  • A combination of methods needed to assess the actual use of provisioning
           ecosystem services
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Laura Vang Rasmussen, Ole Mertz, Andreas E. Christensen, Finn Danielsen, Neil Dawson, Pheang Xaydongvanh
      Failure to recognize that potential provisioning ecosystem services are not necessarily collected and used by people may have important consequences for management of land and resources. Accounting for people's actual use of ecosystem services in decision making processes requires a robust methodological approach that goes beyond mapping the presence of ecosystem services. But no such universally accepted method exists, and there are several shortcomings of existing methods such as the application of land use/cover as a proxy for provisioning ecosystem service availability and surveys based on respondents' recall to assess people's collection of e.g. wild food. By combining four complementary methods and applying these to the shifting cultivation systems of Laos, we show how people’s actual use of ecosystem services from agricultural fields differs from ecosystem service availability. Our study is the first in Southeast Asia to combine plot monitoring, collection diaries, repeat interviews, and participant observation. By applying these multiple methods borrowed from anthropology and botany among other research domains, the study illustrates that no single method is sufficient on its own. It is of key importance for scientists to adopt methods that can account for both availability of various services and actual use of those services.


      PubDate: 2015-12-02T04:33:16Z
       
  • Habitat and recreational fishing opportunity in Tampa Bay: Linking
           ecological and ecosystem services to human beneficiaries
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Richard Fulford, David Yoskowitz, Marc Russell, Darrin Dantin, John Rogers
      Estimating value of estuarine habitat to human beneficiaries requires that we understand how habitat alteration impacts function through both production and delivery of ecosystem goods and services (EGS). Here we expand on the habitat valuation technique of Bell (1997) with an estimate of recreational angler willingness-to-pay combined with estimates of angler effort, fish population size, and fish and angler distribution. Results suggest species-specific fishery value is impacted by angler interest and stock status, as the most targeted fish (spotted seatrout) did not have the highest specific value (fish−1). Reduced population size and higher size at capture resulted in higher specific value for common snook. Habitat value estimated from recreational fishing value and fish-angler distributions supported an association between seagrass and habitat value, yet this relationship was also impacted by distance to access points. This analysis does not provide complete valuation of habitat as it considers only one service (fishing), but demonstrates a methodology to consider functional equivalency of all habitat features as a part of a habitat mosaic rather than in isolation, as well as how to consider both EGS production and delivery to humans (e.g., anglers) in any habitat valuation, which are critical for a transition to ecosystem management.


      PubDate: 2015-12-02T04:33:16Z
       
  • Demand and supply of ecosystem services in a Mediterranean forest:
           Computing payment boundaries
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Elena Górriz-Mifsud, Elsa Varela, Míriam Piqué, Irina Prokofieva
      This study assesses the feasibility of a mechanism of payment for ecosystem services to improve the provision of ecosystem services by private forest owners. The range of the potential payment is defined by the opportunity costs of a change in forest management as the lower boundary, and by the willingness to pay of society for the improved supply of ecosystem services as the upper boundary. We assess these two boundaries in four hypothetical management scenarios for Aleppo pine forests in Catalonia (north-eastern Spain): (i) passive; (ii) active timber-oriented; (iii) biodiversity improvement; and (iv) wildfire prevention. The upscaling of the outcomes to the regional level shows that the value of the social demand covers the opportunity costs of the landowner. We argue that these figures prove the feasibility and likely acceptance of introducing a payment for ecosystem services based on an earmarked tax. This study represents an initial step for policy instrument design.


      PubDate: 2015-12-02T04:33:16Z
       
  • The importance of ecosystem services in coastal agricultural landscapes:
           Case study from the Costa Brava, Catalonia
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Emma Soy-Massoni, Johannes Langemeyer, Diego Varga, Marc Sáez, Josep Pintó
      Agricultural landscapes are increasingly valued by society for their potential to provide multiple benefits and values, such as landscape beauty or habitat for biodiversity. Yet, Mediterranean agricultural landscapes are still following a pattern of changes under the narrow focus of increased agricultural productivity, while other benefits and values are depleted. In this study, we assess the importance and multiple benefits Mediterranean agricultural landscapes provide using the ecosystem services approach. Our research aims at assessing different social perceptions concerning the importance of coastal agrarian landscapes for human wellbeing. Using a case study from a coastal agricultural landscape at the Costa Brava, Girona (Spain), we combined non-monetary and monetary methods to assess social perception and the willingness to pay for ecosystem services' delivery. Our study involved different social groups including local residents and tourists visiting the area. Results show that provisioning services and non-productive ecosystem services, such as supporting and cultural services are seen as almost equally important and trade-offs emerge between their prioritizations. A strong preference for cultural ecosystem services, especially aesthetic value (non-monetary valuation) and environmental education (monetary valuation), can be observed. Our results suggest that different preferences are influenced by the respondents' place of residency and place of visit.


      PubDate: 2015-12-02T04:33:16Z
       
  • Soil stewardship as a nexus between Ecosystem Services and One Health
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Aidan M. Keith, Olaf Schmidt, Barry J. McMahon
      We highlight the overlap in Ecosystem Services frameworks and the developing One Health approach, and assert that better integration and communication between these could provide a platform for synergistic research with greater benefits for resilience and health in socioecological systems. Furthermore, we propose that soil stewardship could act as the nexus for such integration and present potential research avenues with existing positive examples.


      PubDate: 2015-11-26T09:31:01Z
       
  • Perceptions of cultural ecosystem services from urban green
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Riechers Maraja, Barkmann Jan, Tscharntke Teja
      Cultural ecosystem services are growing in importance and their substantial contribution to well-being is well recognized. Yet, significant conceptual and methodological gaps exist, especially for urban ecosystems. We analyzed perceptions of cultural ecosystem services in the urban context of Berlin, based on qualitative research methods. Using expert and problem-centered interviews, we show how cultural ecosystem services are understood and which focus areas were emphasized. We compared our inductive codes with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. While our findings show supporting evidence for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification, some categories had to be substituted and others adjusted to local citizen understandings. The results reveal a variety of intricate cultural ecosystem service perceptions. Hence, selecting and emphasizing only a few services without prior studies could misinform decision-makers and lead to biased policy outcome. Regionally specific perceptions of cultural benefits from urban green are important information for planning processes. Cultural ecosystem services could be one way to achieve awareness of socio-ecological aspects, as our results show linkages between cultural ecosystem services and urban social sustainability. Using qualitative cultural ecosystem service research could foster public participation and increase the input of regionally specific perceptions.


      PubDate: 2015-11-26T09:31:01Z
       
  • Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) in Latin America: Analysing the
           performance of 40 case studies
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Nelson Grima, Simron J. Singh, Barbara Smetschka, Lisa Ringhofer
      Market instruments such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) emerged as a concept to compensate and encourage landowners to improve land management practices for the maintenance and provision of ecosystem services. Since the early 1990s hundreds of PES schemes have been implemented around the world with varying levels of success. The high investments required to implement such schemes, and the stakes involved, argue for an analysis of PES cases to determine factors that contribute to a particular outcome. The paper analyses 40 PES cases in Latin America providing insights that will inform policy and decision makers in designing future PES initiatives with higher chances of success. In this study we analyse each case using a set of criteria (related to ecosystem type, compensation package and incentives, spatial and temporal scales, institutional arrangements, and policy frameworks) to determine those most important for a particular outcome. These insights provide information on programme factors that contribute to the potential for success of a given PES scheme. Although this classification can be further improved, it provides a useful reference for decision-makers on what might be considered best practice on the ground concerning PES schemes.


      PubDate: 2015-11-26T09:31:01Z
       
  • The role of marine ecosystem services for human well-being: Disentangling
           synergies and trade-offs at multiple scales
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Sebastian Villasante, Priscila F.M. Lopes, Marta Coll
      With the advance of ecosystem services (ES) assessments, the existence of synergies and trade-offs between services became clear. However, identifying these conflicts and potentials correctly and estimating the impacts of simultaneous use or of favoring one service to the detriment of the other is not a simple task. Among marine ecosystem services, the challenge is probably larger, given the invisible nature of some of the resources and services provided, and the fact that we do not have full control over such a huge habitat. In this Special Section we attempt to discuss some of these synergies and trade-offs at different geographical scales, from local case studies to multiple ecosystem assessments, and from cultural to provisioning ES. Along twelve papers, different frameworks, theoretical approaches and statistical tools are developed to show the state-of-the-art in ES assessment in developed and developing countries. Together, these studies bring a new diagnosis at local scales, where marine protected areas can or not interact synergistically with other services, such as fishing and tourism, depending on the institutional strength and proper development of social capital. Overall, this special issue presents multiple recommendations that can redirect policy-making regarding the best use of ES around the globe.


      PubDate: 2015-11-22T09:27:24Z
       
  • Loss of ecosystem services and the decapitalization of nature in El
           Salvador
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Silvio J. Crespin, Javier A. Simonetti
      Land use change can reduce the wealth and wellbeing of a nation and by modifying its biodiversity. We used value transfer methodology to estimate changes in the value of ecosystem services provided by natural ecosystems in El Salvador, a country particularly impacted by natural disasters. Ecosystem services (1998–2011) provided only by natural ecosystems declined by 2.6% per year, equal to 44% of El Salvador’s GDP in 2011. Changes in services provided by tropical forests account for 90% of those losses, followed by 9% for coastal wetlands. However, sensitivity analysis of changes per biome revealed that changes for coastal wetlands are much more elastic than for tropical forests, emphasizing the severity that further losses in coastal wetlands may incur. Forests reduce soil erosion and landslides while coastal wetlands reduce hurricane damages. Focusing conservation efforts towards these ecosystems could reduce the occurrence of natural disasters, but their services should be complemented by those generated in the agricultural matrix during forest and mangrove resurgence.


      PubDate: 2015-11-22T09:27:24Z
       
  • An indicator framework for assessing ecosystem services in support of the
           EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2016
      Source:Ecosystem Services, Volume 17
      Author(s): Joachim Maes, Camino Liquete, Anne Teller, Markus Erhard, Maria Luisa Paracchini, José I. Barredo, Bruna Grizzetti, Ana Cardoso, Francesca Somma, Jan-Erik Petersen, Andrus Meiner, Eva Royo Gelabert, Nihat Zal, Peter Kristensen, Annemarie Bastrup-Birk, Katarzyna Biala, Chiara Piroddi, Benis Egoh, Patrick Degeorges, Christel Fiorina, Fernando Santos-Martín, Vytautas Naruševičius, Jan Verboven, Henrique M. Pereira, Jan Bengtsson, Kremena Gocheva, Cristina Marta-Pedroso, Tord Snäll, Christine Estreguil, Jesus San-Miguel-Ayanz, Marta Pérez-Soba, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey, Ana I. Lillebø, Dania Abdul Malak, Sophie Condé, Jon Moen, Bálint Czúcz, Evangelia G. Drakou, Grazia Zulian, Carlo Lavalle
      In the EU, the mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services, abbreviated to MAES, is seen as a key action for the advancement of biodiversity objectives, and also to inform the development and implementation of related policies on water, climate, agriculture, forest, marine and regional planning. In this study, we present the development of an analytical framework which ensures that consistent approaches are used throughout the EU. It is framed by a broad set of key policy questions and structured around a conceptual framework that links human societies and their well-being with the environment. Next, this framework is tested through four thematic pilot studies, including stakeholders and experts working at different scales and governance levels, which contributed indicators to assess the state of ecosystem services. Indicators were scored according to different criteria and assorted per ecosystem type and ecosystem services using the common international classification of ecosystem services (CICES) as typology. We concluded that there is potential to develop a first EU wide ecosystem assessment on the basis of existing data if they are combined in a creative way. However, substantial data gaps remain to be filled before a fully integrated and complete ecosystem assessment can be carried out.


      PubDate: 2015-11-22T09:27:24Z
       
 
 
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