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Land 2016, 5(2), 17; doi:10.3390/land5020017

Regional Patterns of Ecosystem Services in Cultural Landscapes

1
Department of Animal Ecology, Research Center for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition (iFZ), Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen 35392, Germany
2
Department of Ecology, Philipps-University, Marburg 35043, Germany
3
Institute for Landscape Ecology and Resources Management, Research Center for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition (IFZ), Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen 35392, Germany
4
Center for International Development and Environmental Research, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen 35392, Germany
5
Professorship of Ecological Services, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth 95440, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrew Millington
Received: 25 March 2016 / Revised: 16 June 2016 / Accepted: 17 June 2016 / Published: 22 June 2016
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Abstract

European agricultural landscapes have been shaped by humans to produce marketable private goods such as food, feed, fiber and timber. Land-use intensification to increase provisioning services in such productive landscapes alters the capacity of ecosystems to supply other services (often public goods and services) that are also vital for human wellbeing. However, the interactions, synergies and trade-offs among ecosystem services are poorly understood. We assessed the spatial distribution of the services carbon storage, sediment regulation, water yield, crop production, timber supply, and outdoor recreation in the counties Wetterau and Vogelsberg (Hesse, Germany). These counties represent a gradient from intensive arable land use to more extensive mixed land use systems with domination of grassland and forests. Spatially explicit models were used to map the location and quantity of service supply. We addressed the following questions: (1) Where are areas of high and low supply of individual and multiple ecosystem services? (2) Where do the strongest trade-offs and synergies between different services occur? Our results show a pronounced spatial aggregation of different ecosystem services, with locations where at least four services are being supplied at high levels occupying only 5% of the landscape. Indicators for water provision, timber supply, carbon storage, erosion control, and outdoor recreation are positively related to each other, but this relationship is influenced by the trade-offs associated with the ecosystem service food production. Optimization of ecosystem services at the landscape scale has to take these patterns into account. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecosystem bundles; multifunctional landscapes; landscape heterogeneity; cultural landscapes; spatial pattern ecosystem bundles; multifunctional landscapes; landscape heterogeneity; cultural landscapes; spatial pattern
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Früh-Müller, A.; Hotes, S.; Breuer, L.; Wolters, V.; Koellner, T. Regional Patterns of Ecosystem Services in Cultural Landscapes. Land 2016, 5, 17.

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