Ecosystem services in changing land use
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Purpose: Ongoing population growth and economic development place increasing demands on the supply of services produced in and by ecosystems. The resulting degradation compromises their ability to continue supporting the provision of these services. As ecosystem services (ESs) are closely related to land use changes, studies linking these topics are critical in the context of better land use planning and to ensure the sustainable provision of ESs. Results: The impacts of various land uses on ESs occur in three ways: (1) Major ESs are generated under different land use practices, (2) land use patterns have a significant impact on ESs, and (3) differing intensities of land use may have different impacts on the generation of ESs. As human needs for different ESs vary and are not always consistent, maximizing the use of one ES can lead to a sharp decline in other ESs that may exceed a threshold inducing irreversible change. Therefore, trade-offs between ESs have become challenges that the ecosystem planning and management community must address. Furthermore, other problems (such as a lack of reliable data, inconsistent evaluation methods, and a lack of validated results used in assessments of ESs) compound the difficulty of this challenge. The development of comprehensive assessment models that result from an integrated assessment and scenario analysis of ESs under different land uses can inform ecosystem management options. Future perspectives and conclusions: Studies of ESs under different types of land use change must enhance understanding of topics that link ecosystem processes with ESs. Recommended research includes enhancement of the management practices of soil and land, modeling and mapping the spatial flow of ESs, analyzing trade-offs and synergies between multiple ESs, and integrating and optimizing analyses of ESs. By understanding the ecological processes that drive ESs and how these are affected by land use change, we can establish a sustainable balance between multiple uses of different ESs.
Journal of Soils and Sediments