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Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 768; doi:10.3390/su8080768

Assessing Land Use Change and Its Impact on Ecosystem Services in Northern Thailand

Natural Resources Management Field of Studies, School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand
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Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 19 July 2016 / Accepted: 20 July 2016 / Published: 10 August 2016
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Abstract

Ecosystem services are highly vulnerable to a number of impacts due to the complex effects of human use of natural resources and subsequent land use change. Assessment of the impact of change in land use with respect to ecosystem services is necessary in order to implement appropriate land uses that enhance ecosystem services. This study analysed the impact of change in land use on ecosystem services using the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs (InVEST) model to map and quantify a set of ecosystem services, namely sediment retention, water yield, carbon stock, and habitat quality, in northern Thailand, which has experienced substantial policy induced land use change. The study also assessed the changes in land use from 1989 to 2013 and their impact on overall ecosystem services using GIS. Increased rubber plantation cultivation and built-up areas resulting in reduced forest cover were the major changes found in land use in the area. The results of the study show a general decrease in ecosystem services for the study period in the watershed, in particular, a negative impact on ecosystem services was observed in agricultural areas. The study findings on spatial and temporal distribution of ecosystem services can help guide the development of appropriate land use options to enhance ecosystem services. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use change; land use impact; ecosystem services; InVEST model; northern Thailand land use change; land use impact; ecosystem services; InVEST model; northern Thailand
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Arunyawat, S.; Shrestha, R.P. Assessing Land Use Change and Its Impact on Ecosystem Services in Northern Thailand. Sustainability 2016, 8, 768.

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