Special Issue "Application of the Ecosystem Service Concept in Social–Ecological Systems—from Theory to Practice"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Georg F. Leitinger
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Interests: ecosystem research and landscape ecology
Dr. Uta Schirpke
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Institute for Alpine Environment, Eurac Research, Bozen/Bolzano, Italy
2. Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Interests: ecosystem services; landscape ecology and spatial modelling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Johannes Rüdisser
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Interests: geo-spatial analysis and modelling; indicator development and environmental education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecological footprint analyses demonstrate that the world's more than 7.5 billion people consume multiple planet’s worth of resources. To incite and evaluate societal changes aiming at a sustainable use of the environment and its natural resources, the ecosystem service concept was developed more than 20 years ago. To ensure the sustainable provision of indispensable ecosystem services the concept has been refined and enhanced enabling application across various temporal and spatial scales. However, evidence-based strategies and policies are needed to preserve biodiversity and the natural capital in a changing world. This Special Issue, therefore, addresses studies advancing terminology, frameworks, concepts, and applications related to ecosystem services assessment with particular focus on social–ecological systems. We also welcome best-practice guidelines and papers addressing the most relevant open research questions and future perspectives in the context of goods and services provided by nature.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Georg Leitinger
Dr. Uta Schirpke
Dr. Johannes Rüdisser
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Ecosystem services
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Biodiversity
  • Natural capital
  • Multidisciplinarity
  • Resilience
  • Resistance
  • Best practice
  • Monitoring

Published Papers (15 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Other

Editorial
Application of the Ecosystem Service Concept in Social–Ecological Systems—from Theory to Practice
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2960; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072960 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1198
Abstract
Ecological footprint analyses demonstrate that the world’s more than 7.5 billion people consume multiple planets’ worth of resources. To incite and evaluate societal changes for the sustainable use of the environment and its natural resources, the ecosystem service (ES) concept was developed more [...] Read more.
Ecological footprint analyses demonstrate that the world’s more than 7.5 billion people consume multiple planets’ worth of resources. To incite and evaluate societal changes for the sustainable use of the environment and its natural resources, the ecosystem service (ES) concept was developed more than 20 years ago. To ensure the sustainable provision of indispensable ES, the concept has been refined and enhanced, enabling its application across various temporal and spatial scales. However, evidence-based strategies and policies are needed to preserve biodiversity and natural capital in our changing world. This Special Issue comprises studies advancing the frameworks, concepts, and applications related to ES assessment, with a particular focus on social–ecological systems. To broadly apply the ES concept in different social–ecological systems, several key issues emerged: (1) ES-related definitions and procedures should be improved and standardized; (2) the complexity of the interactions in a social–ecological system must be recognized, and knowledge about spatial and temporal dynamics and interactions among multiple ESs must be deepened; and (3) communication about ES, considering cultural and stakeholder differences, must be increased. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Other

Article
Quantifying the Use of Forest Ecosystem Services by Local Populations in Southeastern Cameroon
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2505; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062505 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 962
Abstract
In order to improve sustainability and design adequate management strategies in threatened tropical forests, integrated assessments of the use of ecosystem services are needed, combining biophysical, social, and economic approaches. In particular, no integrated ecosystem services (ES) assessment has been conducted in Central [...] Read more.
In order to improve sustainability and design adequate management strategies in threatened tropical forests, integrated assessments of the use of ecosystem services are needed, combining biophysical, social, and economic approaches. In particular, no integrated ecosystem services (ES) assessment has been conducted in Central Africa, where rural communities deeply depend on forests in a high-poverty context. Here, we aimed to quantify the use of ES provided by tropical forests to local populations in the Dja area (Cameroon), identify its determinants and evaluate its sustainability. We conducted various interviews and field surveys with 133 households in three villages, focusing on three provisioning services (bushmeat, firewood, and timber), and five cultural services (cultural heritage, inspiration, spiritual experience, recreation, and education). Local populations consumed a mean of 56 kg of bushmeat/person/year (hunting zones covering on average 213 km2), 1.17 m3 of firewood/person/year (collection zones covering on average 4 km2), and 0.03 m3 of timber/person/year. Between 25% and 86% of respondents considered cultural services as important. The use of ES was mainly influenced by population size, deforestation rate, and forest allocations, whereas the influence of socio-demographic characteristics of households remained limited to slight differences between Baka and Bantu people. We conclude that the consumption of firewood and timber is sustainable, whereas high hunting pressure has resulted in severe defaunation in the area due to the large decline in the abundance and biomass of forest mammals hunted for bushmeat by local populations. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Integrating Insights from Social-Ecological Interactions into Sustainable Land Use Change Scenarios for Small Islands in the Western Indian Ocean
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1340; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041340 - 12 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1361
Abstract
Small islands are vulnerable to the synergistic effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbances due to the fact of their small area, geographical isolation, responsive ecologies, rapidly growing and developing populations and exposure to sea level and climate change. These changes exert pressures [...] Read more.
Small islands are vulnerable to the synergistic effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbances due to the fact of their small area, geographical isolation, responsive ecologies, rapidly growing and developing populations and exposure to sea level and climate change. These changes exert pressures on ecosystem services, such as the provisioning of resources, and therefore threaten the sustainability of livelihoods. We reviewed key sustainability and livelihoods literature to bring together concepts of environmental livelihood resilience and stability across temporal and spatial scales and integrated them to produce a new conceptual framework for dynamic environmental livelihood sustainability (DESL). This framework aims to facilitate the incorporation of local community perspectives into water, energy and food nexus thinking about sustainable land use to support local livelihoods. Finally, we provide insights from this case study to evaluate the effectiveness of the DESL framework in addressing gaps in existing frameworks. We suggest this framing provides a mechanism for enhancing the agency of communities to produce more cohesive and inclusive land use management plans that can lead to enhanced environmental sustainability pathways. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Tourists and Local Stakeholders’ Perception of Ecosystem Services Provided by Summer Farms in the Eastern Italian Alps
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1095; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031095 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 924
Abstract
In the Alps, summer farms are temporary units, where cattle are moved during summer to graze on Alpine pastures, which provide multiple ecosystem services (ESs), many of which do not have a market value. This study aimed at understanding and comparing the perceptions [...] Read more.
In the Alps, summer farms are temporary units, where cattle are moved during summer to graze on Alpine pastures, which provide multiple ecosystem services (ESs), many of which do not have a market value. This study aimed at understanding and comparing the perceptions of summer farms and of the associated ESs by local stakeholders and tourists in a study area of the province of Trento in the eastern Italian Alps. Thirty-five online questionnaires and two focus groups were realized with local stakeholders involved in the dairy value-chain. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 405 tourists in two representative summer farms. The perceptions of summer farms differed between local stakeholders, who mainly focused on provisioning ESs, and tourists, who mainly focused on cultural and regulating ESs. Both categories of actors rated positively eight different ESs associated with summer farms, but demonstrated a lack of knowledge of specific regulating ESs. This study showed that discussion among the different actors is required to increase mutual knowledge and to grasp the diversity of links between summer farms and ESs, in order to support public policies and private initiatives for promoting summer farm products and the sustainable development of mountain regions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Ecosystem Service Response to Human Disturbance in the Yangtze River Economic Belt: A Case of Western Hunan, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020465 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 738
Abstract
Ecosystem conservation is one of the core elements of sustainable development. Studying the relationship between human disturbance and the ecosystem service value (ESV) change is an urgent need for the future. The Yangtze River Economic Belt is one of the key economic strategies [...] Read more.
Ecosystem conservation is one of the core elements of sustainable development. Studying the relationship between human disturbance and the ecosystem service value (ESV) change is an urgent need for the future. The Yangtze River Economic Belt is one of the key economic strategies implemented by the Chinese government and is also a demonstration zone for ecological conservation. Western Hunan is an important ecological barrier in the Yangtze basin where different ethnic groups live together and various cultures coexist. In this study, using land-use data and spatial analysis modeling, the changes in the ecosystem service value at five topographic gradients were evaluated. Human disturbance and its spatial correlation with the ecosystem service value from 1990 to 2015 were also investigated. The results demonstrated the following: (1) the proportional area of forestland and grassland increased as the topographic gradient index increased and other types of land-use gradually decreased; (2) The ecosystem service value at middle gradients increased over the study period; but ESV of the lowest topographic gradient showed a significant decline and a substantial decrease, as well as a terrain index under 0.7970; (3) The spatial analysis of human disturbance showed that more than 90% of intense human disturbance was distributed in the area of the lowest topographic gradient where topographic features were low-altitude and low-slope, and little human disturbance was scattered at other gradients; (4) There was a significant spatial aggregation distribution between the ecosystem service value and human disturbance in western Hunan, the high disturbance and low ESV aggregation was mainly distributed in Loudi City, the area east of Shaoyang City and Zhangjiajie City all belonged to the lowest topographic gradient, and the low–high and high–high aggregations were mainly distributed in Huaihua City and Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. Population density and gross domestic product were the main driving factors, while topography was the main ecological factor. This study could provide additional spatial information and theoretical guidance for ecosystem service management for sustainable development in western Hunan, China. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Social Learning for Facilitating Dialogue and Understanding of the Ecosystem Services Approach: Lessons from a Cross-Border Experience in the Alboran Marine Basin
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5239; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195239 - 24 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
Social learning (SL) appears to have considerable potential to enhance the impact of the ecosystem services approach (ESA) discourse on policy and society. However, empirical research to better understand the processes that support SL, the effects it generates, and the conditions that enable [...] Read more.
Social learning (SL) appears to have considerable potential to enhance the impact of the ecosystem services approach (ESA) discourse on policy and society. However, empirical research to better understand the processes that support SL, the effects it generates, and the conditions that enable such learning is limited. This study assesses the ability of SL to enhance dialogue and understanding of the ESA to support transformative social change in governance practice in the Alboran Marine Basin. To do so, we conducted a specifically designed SL process oriented towards the ESA as a governance approach in this marine region. The SL process was developed through three interlinked workshops involving scientists, decision-makers and local users from Spain and Morocco, the two countries that share the governance of this social-ecological system. The results revealed that the SL process progressively facilitated (i) a more inclusive and constructive ecosystem services dialogue, (ii) a better understanding of the social-ecological system in which the actors were embedded, (iii) an enhanced recognition of science-policy-society complementarities to address sustainability issues, and (iv) a gradual social transformation towards more sustainable and equitable governance. Via the SL process, a variety of factors were identified as contributing to the creation of four relevant conditions that facilitated its successful operationalisation. These conditions included (i) the generation of trust and shared understanding, (ii) the facilitation of knowledge exchanges between actor groups across frontiers, (iii) the promotion of more democratic participation, and (iv) the co-production of practical outcomes. These contextual insights provided empirical evidence of the prominent role SL can play to enhance dialogue and understanding of the ESA for supporting its adoption as governance practice. On this basis, it is argued that operationalising SL in those processes focused on making the ESA relevant to policy and society is pivotal to its implementation in governance practice. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
How Societal Values Determine the Local Use of Forest Resources—Findings from the Rural Community Kegong (Northwest Yunnan, China)
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3447; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123447 - 22 Jun 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1050
Abstract
The transition from net deforestation to net reforestation in China has received much scientific attention, in the hope that, by understanding the underlying drivers and processes, it might be reproduced in other regions of the world. The scientific literature has suggested that this [...] Read more.
The transition from net deforestation to net reforestation in China has received much scientific attention, in the hope that, by understanding the underlying drivers and processes, it might be reproduced in other regions of the world. The scientific literature has suggested that this process was driven by the creation of off-farm opportunities and huge state afforestation programs by economic growth. Recent publications, however, have noted a lack of inclusion of local dynamics in this analysis. We used the social-ecological interactions (SEI) framework, designed for the assessment of ecosystem services in socio-ecological systems, to trace the causes and patterns of the local use of forest biomass in a village in Northwest Yunnan. Our results suggest that societal values, in particular, are key to understanding the local resource use underlying the forest transition in Yunnan. However, societal values have been neglected, both in the analysis of forest transition as well as in social-ecological systems research, in general. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Integrating Biophysical and Sociocultural Methods for Identifying the Relationships between Ecosystem Services and Land Use Change: Insights from an Oasis Area
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2598; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092598 - 06 May 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1221
Abstract
Identifying the relationships between ecosystem services (ESs) and land use change is crucial for ES management and sustainable regional development. The Manas region in China has witnessed dramatic reclamation activities in its desert areas that resulted in ecological problems. The changes in eight [...] Read more.
Identifying the relationships between ecosystem services (ESs) and land use change is crucial for ES management and sustainable regional development. The Manas region in China has witnessed dramatic reclamation activities in its desert areas that resulted in ecological problems. The changes in eight ESs, including crop production (CP), livestock production (LP), soil conservation (SC), water yield (WY), sand fixation (SF), carbon sequestration (CS), habitat quality (HQ), and nature landscape recreation (NLR), were investigated by using biophysical and questionnaire methods. At the regional scale, provisioning services (i.e., CP and LP) showed some performance improvements, whereas most of the regulating services (i.e., WY, CS, and HQ) along with NLR showed a performance decline. Five ES bundles—Upper Mountain, Foothill, Oasis, Oasis–Desert Transition, and Desert bundle—were identified at the township scale via k-means clustering. From 2000 to 2015, the Oasis bundle sprawled as a result of oasisization, whereas the Oasis–Desert Transition and Foothill bundles decreased. We performed a questionnaire survey and a statistical analysis to identify the causes behind the performance improvement/decline of these ESs and found that the land use changes in the Manas region had a significant impact on these services. More than 50% of the survey respondents identified land use changes as the primary driver of the changes in some ESs (i.e., CP, CS, HQ, and NLR). In the correlation and partial correlation analyses, oasisization was significantly and positively correlated with CP but was negatively correlated with WY, CS, HQ, and NLR. We enhanced the reliability of our conclusions by integrating biophysical and sociocultural methods into our investigation of ES and land use change. In view of the huge losses in regulating and cultural services, the Manas region should limit its desert reclamation activities to control the expansion of its oasis and to improve the quality of its cropland. Our results can help formulate effective ES management and land use decisions in the Manas region or similar areas. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Analyzing Spatial Congruencies and Mismatches between Supply, Demand and Flow of Ecosystem Services and Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2227; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082227 - 13 Apr 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1851
Abstract
Ecosystem services (ESs) are increasingly included into decision-making to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although both concepts consider the interactions between humans and the environment, spatial relationships between ESs and sustainability have been rarely addressed. Therefore, this study aims at analyzing spatial congruencies [...] Read more.
Ecosystem services (ESs) are increasingly included into decision-making to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although both concepts consider the interactions between humans and the environment, spatial relationships between ESs and sustainability have been rarely addressed. Therefore, this study aims at analyzing spatial congruencies and mismatches between ESs and sustainability in the greater Alpine region. Using hot spot and overlap analyses, we overlaid maps of supply, demand and flow of eight key ESs with the spatial distribution of sustainability based on 24 indicators. Our results reveal that, in most cases, supply of and demand for ESs are greatly dislocated. These mismatches are reflected also in the spatial distribution of sustainability. In contrast to ES demand hot spots, supply hot spots are generally characterized by high sustainability levels, especially in relation to the environment. However, due to discrepancies in the social and economic dimensions, it cannot be assumed that ES supply hot spots always correspond to high sustainability. Hence, using ES indicators for measuring sustainability provides rather limited insights. We conclude that both concepts should be applied in a complementary way to maximize ecological, social and economic benefits in land management and planning processes. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Harnessing Insights from Social-Ecological Systems Research for Monitoring Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041190 - 23 Feb 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4306
Abstract
The United Nations’ Agenda 2030 marks significant progress towards sustainable development by making explicit the intention to integrate previously separate social, economic and environmental agendas. Despite this intention, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted to implement the agenda, are fragmented in [...] Read more.
The United Nations’ Agenda 2030 marks significant progress towards sustainable development by making explicit the intention to integrate previously separate social, economic and environmental agendas. Despite this intention, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted to implement the agenda, are fragmented in their formulation and largely sectoral. We contend that while the design of the SDG monitoring is based on a systems approach, it still misses most of the dynamics and complexity relevant to sustainability outcomes. We propose that insights from the study of social-ecological systems offer a more integrated approach to the implementation of Agenda 2030, particularly the monitoring of progress towards sustainable development outcomes. Using five key features highlighted by the study of social-ecological systems (SESs) relevant to sustainable development: (1) social-ecological feedbacks, (2) resilience, (3) heterogeneity, (4) nonlinearity, and (5) cross-scale dynamics. We analyze the current set of SDG indicators based on these features to explore current progress in making them operational. Our analysis finds that 59% of the indicators account for heterogeneity, 33% for cross-scale dynamics, 23% for nonlinearities, and 18% and 17%, respectively, for social-ecological feedbacks and resilience. Our findings suggest limited use of complex SES science in the current design of SDG monitoring, but combining our findings with recent studies of methods to operationalize SES features suggests future directions for sustainable development monitoring for the current as well as post 2030 set of indicators. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Assessing Freshwater Provision and Consumption in the Alpine Space Applying the Ecosystem Service Concept
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1131; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041131 - 21 Feb 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
A key challenge in the sustainable management of freshwater is related to non-stationary processes and transboundary requirements. The assessment of freshwater is often hampered due to small-scale analyses, lacking data and with the focus on only its provision. Based on the ecosystem service [...] Read more.
A key challenge in the sustainable management of freshwater is related to non-stationary processes and transboundary requirements. The assessment of freshwater is often hampered due to small-scale analyses, lacking data and with the focus on only its provision. Based on the ecosystem service (ES) concept, this study aims at quantitatively comparing potential water supply with the demand for freshwater in the European Alps and their surrounding lowlands. We propose an easy-to-use combination of different mapping approaches, including a large-scale hydrologic model to estimate water supply and the downscaling of regional data to the local scale to map demand. Our results demonstrate spatial mismatches between supply and demand and a high dependency of the densely populated lowlands from water providing mountain areas. Under expected climate variations and future demographic changes, our results suggest increasing pressures on freshwater in the south of the Alps. Hence, sustainable water management strategies need to assure the supply of freshwater under changing environmental conditions to meet the increasing water demand of urbanized areas in the lowlands. Moreover, national water management strategies need to be optimally concerted at the international level, as transboundary policies and frameworks can strengthen future water provision. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Cultural Ecosystem Services Provided by Urban Green Change along an Urban-Periurban Gradient
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030645 - 26 Jan 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2132
Abstract
Urbanization by densification is globally increasing and endangers maintenance of urban green and associated social-ecological systems. Cultural ecosystem services play a crucial role in human well-being, especially in urban areas. We analyzed perceived importance of cultural ecosystem services provided by green space in [...] Read more.
Urbanization by densification is globally increasing and endangers maintenance of urban green and associated social-ecological systems. Cultural ecosystem services play a crucial role in human well-being, especially in urban areas. We analyzed perceived importance of cultural ecosystem services provided by green space in Berlin along an urban-periurban gradient. Based on extensive pretests, we designed a standardized questionnaire and conducted 558 face-to-face interviews. B using multiple regressions and principal component analysis, we show that perceived importance of cultural ecosystem services and patterns of urban green use are affected by an urbanization gradient and associated changes in population density. Important cultural ecosystem services decreases in urban core areas with higher population density, whereas people in periurban areas with more available green spaces exhibit a greater valuation of nature. In contrast, social relations and cultural diversity had the highest importance in the urban core, while cultural heritage, education, natural awareness, recreation, and aesthetical appreciation were higher valued in the less populated periurban areas, suggesting two bundles of cultural ecosystem services. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Framework for the Integration of Nature-Based Solutions into Environmental Risk Management Strategies
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020489 - 18 Jan 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2572
Abstract
Mountainous areas are expected to face increasing societal pressure due to mass tourism and the rising intensity and frequency of natural hazards triggered by climate change. Therefore, the development of proper strategies for the management of environmental risks will be crucial to ensure [...] Read more.
Mountainous areas are expected to face increasing societal pressure due to mass tourism and the rising intensity and frequency of natural hazards triggered by climate change. Therefore, the development of proper strategies for the management of environmental risks will be crucial to ensure their liveability. Against this backdrop, concepts such as territorial resilience and Social–Ecological Systems (SES) can support the prioritisation of protective efforts. This paper presents a conceptual framework to be applied to areas subject to natural hazards. Its aim is to support the integration of different measures, with a special focus on protection forests and other Nature-based Solutions, into current risk management strategies. The framework considers (i) the definition of SES boundaries; (ii) the identification of the main goals to be achieved; (iii) the quantification of the supply and demand of the ecosystem protection service; and (iv) the development of risk management strategies able to include the management of protection forests among the adopted solutions. This framework is intended as a tool to be adopted by local and regional decision-makers as a tool to identify the areas at risk, to recognise the potential role of protection forests, and to operationalise the concept of resilience through the deployment of “grey-green” strategies. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Assessment of the Spatial Dynamics and Interactions among Multiple Ecosystem Services to Promote Effective Policy Making across Mediterranean Island Landscapes
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3285; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093285 - 14 Sep 2018
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2566
Abstract
To manage multiple ecosystem services (ES) effectively, it is essential to understand how the dynamics of ES maintain healthy ecosystems to avoid potential negative impacts on human well-being in the context of sustainable development. In particular, the Ionian Islands in the central Mediterranean [...] Read more.
To manage multiple ecosystem services (ES) effectively, it is essential to understand how the dynamics of ES maintain healthy ecosystems to avoid potential negative impacts on human well-being in the context of sustainable development. In particular, the Ionian Islands in the central Mediterranean are characterized by high natural, ecological, and recreational value; however, the intensification of human activities over time has resulted in the loss of natural ecosystems, which might have negatively impacted ES. Here, we aimed to assess and understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of ES supply and how these components interact across the Ionian Islands to optimize future ES provision and mitigate current trade-offs. We quantified multiple ecosystem services and analyzed their interactions at a temporal scale across the four prefectures of the Ionian Islands. Seven ES were quantified covering all three ES sections (provisioning, regulating and maintenance, and cultural) of the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES). ES interactions were investigated by analyzing ES relationships, identifying ES bundles (sets of ES that repeatedly occur together across space and time), and specifying ES occurrence within bundles. The three ES groups exhibited similar patterns on some islands, but differed on islands with areas of high recreation in parallel to low provisioning and regulating ES. Temporal variations showed both stability and changes to the supply of ES, as well as in the interactions among them. Different patterns among the islands were caused by the degree of mixing between natural vegetation and olive orchards. This study identified seven ES bundles that had distinct compositions and magnitudes, with both unique and common bundles being found among the islands. The olive grove bundle delivered the most ES, while the non-vegetated bundle delivered negligible amounts of ES. Spatial and temporal variation in ES appear to be determined by agriculture, land abandonment, and increasing tourism, as well as the occurrence of fires. Knowledge about the spatial dynamics and interactions among ES could provide information for stakeholders and decision-making processes to develop appropriate sustainable management of the ecosystems on the Ionian Islands to secure ecological, social, and economic resilience. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Discussion
Supply–Demand Coupling Mechanisms for Policy Design
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5760; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205760 - 17 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 691
Abstract
Ecosystem services are important for sustaining human survival and sustainable socio-economic development. For the past two decades, ecosystem services studies have greatly promoted the application of ecosystem services science in conservation. As a scientific method to integrate multi-regional and multi-scale ecosystem service providers [...] Read more.
Ecosystem services are important for sustaining human survival and sustainable socio-economic development. For the past two decades, ecosystem services studies have greatly promoted the application of ecosystem services science in conservation. As a scientific method to integrate multi-regional and multi-scale ecosystem service providers and beneficiaries, ecosystem service supply and demand coupling mechanisms and payments for ecosystem services programs are closely linked. In this paper, we first provide an overview of the payments for ecosystem services concept and an evaluation of its effectiveness in implementation. We then analyze the correlation between payments for ecosystem services and supply–demand coupling mechanisms and propose a framework to link these two ideas. China’s practice in implementing ecological redline policy and institutional reforms for protected area management will provide a good experimental platform for comprehensive payments for ecosystem service design and effectiveness evaluation within China and beyond. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop