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Ecosystem services trade-offs and synergies



Trade-off is a very popular term in the ES literature, but covers a wider array of phenomena, such as conflicting land-uses, a negative correlation between spatial occurrences of ES, ES incompatibilities, rivalry and excludability of ES, etc. Despite its popularity, the intuitive definition of ‘ES trade-offs’ and its antonym ‘ES synergies’ lack conceptual clarity. When moving from theoretical concepts towards scientific comparison, more analytic definitions are required. In this SP, we further explore the trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services, which often boil down to trade-offs between benefits and well-being components (Iniesta-Arandia et al., 2014), value dimensions (e.g. Martín-López et al., 2014), or management strategies (McShane et al. 2011). Suggested Citation: Turkelboom F., Thoonen M., Jacobs S., García-Llorente M., Martín-López B. and Berry P. (2015): Ecosystem services trade-offs and synergies (draft). In: Potschin, M. and K. Jax (eds): OpenNESS Reference Book. EC FP7 Grant Agreement no. 308428. Available via:
OpenNESS Synthesis Paper No 27: ‘Ecosystem Service Trade-offs and Synergies’ 1 | P a g e
Ecosystem Service Trade-offs and
Francis Turkelboom, Marijke Thoonen, Sander Jacobs
(INBO/Belgium), Marina García-Llorente (IMIDRA/Spain),
Berta Martín-López (University of Leuphana/Germany),
Pam Berry (University of Oxford/UK)
Much research has focussed on how a single (or at best a few) ecosystem service (ES) is supplied by certain
ecosystems and/or demanded by certain groups. However, in reality, ecosystems or landscapes and their
biodiversity provide multiple ecosystems services which also influence each other. For decision-making and
management purposes, it is therefore of utmost importance to focus on all relevant ES, as well as to
consider the relationships between them (e.g., Kandziora et al., 2013). When the simultaneous delivery of
several desired/demanded ES is not possible, strongly inhibit each other, or initiate conflict, we talk about
“ES trade-offs”.
The term ‘trade-off’ appeared in the 1960s in economic theory (derived from the verb ‘to trade off’). The
term trade-off involves losing one quality or aspect of something in return for gaining another quality or
aspect. It is now more generally used for situations where a choice needs to be made between two or more
things that cannot be had at the same time.
Trade-off is also a very popular term in the ES literature, but covers a wider array of phenomena, such as
conflicting land-uses, a negative correlation between spatial occurrences of ES, ES incompatibilities, rivalry
and excludability of ES, etc. Despite its popularity, the intuitive definition of ES trade-offs’ and its antonym
‘ES synergies’ lack conceptual clarity. When moving from theoretical concepts towards scientific
comparison, more analytic definitions are required. In this SP, we further explore the trade-offs and
synergies between ecosystem services, which often boil down to trade-offs between benefits and well-
being components (Iniesta-Arandia et al., 2014), value dimensions (e.g. Martín-López et al., 2014), or
management strategies (McShane et al. 2011).
Concept and definition
To better delineate the ES trade-off concept, we propose two criteria. First, ES trade-offs or synergies only
occur if the considered ES interact with each other. This may be due to simultaneous responses to the same
driver or due to true interactions among ES (Bennett et al., 2009). Drivers could include ES use, ecological
changes, management regime, investment choices, etc. Up until now, ES trade-offs and synergies are
commonly assessed based on spatial or temporal co-occurrence of ES supply, and often there are no direct
links between such co-varying services. Patterns of spatially or temporally co-varying ES are defined as ‘ES
bundles’ (Berry et al., 2015). Another difference with ES bundles is that for ES trade-offs it is not essential
that the interacting ES occur at the same time and/or same location (e.g. effects of upstream land-use
conversion for agriculture on downstream flood risk) (García-Llorente et al., 2015).
Second, understanding ES trade-offs and synergies requires more than assessing (potential) supply and
assessing (potential) demand (Geijzendorffer et al., 2015). An interaction between ES is only invoked
whenever an ES is used, meaning that the ecosystem is somehow managed/altered/accessed/ protected/
experienced as a result of a demand. Such a physical intervention is the causal mechanism by which a
trade-off (or synergy) is provoked: this ‘use’ of one service changes access to, supply of or demand for
another service(s). Trade-offs and synergies thus involve aspects of both supply, demand and use (Figure
1). Often in the literature these aspects are considered separately. Examples are: variability of potential
supply (determined by ecological functional aspects or biophysical incompatibilities), competing ES-
demands (determined by interactions between stakeholders, e.g. power relationships), imbalances
between demand and supply (e.g. unsatisfied ES demand). In these examples there is no actual trading off
taking place, therefore they can be considered ‘ES mismatches’. These ES mismatches can be a prelude to
ES trade-offs, but by themselves do not yet represent ES trade-offs.
Based on the above, and building on interpretations of, for example, Rodriguez et al. (2005, 2006), Bennett
et al. (2009), Howe et al. (2014), the following definitions are suggested:
OpenNESS Synthesis Paper No 27: ‘Ecosystem Service Trade-offs and Synergies’ 2 | P a g e
A trade-off is ‘a situation where the use of one ES directly decreases the benefits supplied by another.
A change of ES use could be triggered by the demand and/or the supply side. A trade-off could take
place in the same place or in a different area (e.g. impact of the management of a forest for wood
production on local recreation and downstream water quality). A special case is a trade-off between
the present and future use of the same ES (e.g. overharvesting of fish stock).
A synergy is ‘a situation where the use of one ES directly increases the benefits supplied by another
service (e.g. impact of the protection of coral reef area on fish abundance, which increases algal
grazing and thus protects the coral, which eventually enhances recreation opportunities).
To make the distinction clear between the related concepts, we quote the definition of ES bundles (Berry et
al., 2015): a set of associated ecosystem services that are linked to a given ecosystem and that usually
appear together repeatedly in time and/or space. For ES bundles interaction between ES is therefore not
essential. Multifunctionality is defined as the characteristic of ecosystems to simultaneously perform
multiple functions that might be able to provide a particular ES bundle or bundles.
In Figure 1, the analytical links between these concepts and the trade-off mechanism are visualized. On one
hand, an ecosystem is usually multi-functional, enabling the potential supply of several ES (= ES bundle).
There may be limits to the actual supply of ES bundle(s) due to constraints on the ability of the ecosystem
to deliver each service to the required level, due to biophysical drivers (e.g. disease, climate change,
invasive species), management practices, and/or the negative interactions between certain ES. On the
other hand, one of the major driving forces of ecosystem management, use and structure (especially in
modified landscapes) is the stakeholder demands and desires (Mouchet et al., 2014). The use of the
ecosystem invokes ES interactions which potentially lead to synergies and/or trade-offs. A trade-off can
potentially result in a conflict between users depending on who bears the burden and who benefits of the
ES supply (TEEB, 2010; Kandziora et al., 2013). In the case of ES synergies or when ES are not interacting or
when stakeholders want to avoid conflict, the interaction between users may vary between co-existence to
cooperation. The actual use choices depend on power relationships among stakeholders (Felipe-Lucía et al.,
2015) and on institutional and knowledge mechanisms that mediate the interactions between stakeholders
and with their environment (Hicks and Cinner, 2014) with consequences for equity and social justice (see SP
on social justice).
(structures &
co-existence or
conflicts between
ES synergies
and trade-
Land use,
Ecosystem management,
Landscape management,
ES management,
Nature protection, …
ES (bundles) Social needs and
Figure 1: Visualisation of analytical links between related concepts and the trade-off mechanism.
OpenNESS Synthesis Paper No 27: ‘Ecosystem Service Trade-offs and Synergies’ 3 | P a g e
Trade-off analysis
Managing multiple ES, while taking into account these trade-offs and synergies, requires disentangling the
underlying mechanisms of these ES interactions, e.g. identifying common supporting functions, responses
to common pressures,functional interactions among services (Bennett et al., 2009). Regional level studies
can apply meta-review techniques to provide indications of potential trade-offs (see example by Howe et
al., 2014). A methodological roadmap for quantifying ES synergies and trade-offs on the supply and
demand sides has been recently published (Mouchet et al., 2014). Different quantitative statistical methods
are often used to assess trade-offs (see Mouchet et al., 2014 for a review), but often they do not fully
capture the highly context-dependent mechanisms of trade-offs and synergies. The explanatory variables
for observed ES relationships can be attributed to social, economic, institutional and ecological factors,
which are also highly context-specific. Thus place-based studies are required which focus on the local
specificities of trade-off mechanisms, while taking into account both supply and demand. The involvement
of local knowledge of experts and stakeholders is often the most efficient and reliable way to identify and
explain ES trade-offs. As this kind of studies is rather rare, it is not surprising that knowledge about when to
expect trade-offs or synergies, the mechanisms that cause them, or how to minimize trade-offs and
enhance synergies currently is lacking (Bennett et al., 2009; Ostrom, 2009; Howe et al., 2014).
Analysing trade-offs entails some challenges, such as:
(1) the complexity of ES interactions and the factors determining them,
(2) different value-dimensions of ES (biophysical, socio-cultural and economic) provide different
information and thus different trade-offs (Castro et al., 2014; Martín-López et al., 2014, see also
OpenNESS Deliverables D4.1 and D4.3),
(3) future trade-off(s) between ES entail uncertainties (especially when dealing with time lags and spatial
discontinuities) which are difficult to assess, and
(4) the spatial and temporal scale dependence of ES trade-offs (Rodriguez et al., 2006; Renard et al.,
Operationalization of ES trade-offs
In a literature review, Howe et al. (2014) identified that ES trade-offs are mentioned roughly three times
more than ES synergies (149 vs 45). Stakeholder groups also report proportionally more trade-offs than
synergies (Hicks et al., 2013).
Trade-offs between provisioning and regulating ecosystem services at different scales have been a main
cause for concern, because regulating ecosystem services are thought to underlie the sustainable
production of provisioning and cultural ecosystem services and are important for the resilience of social-
ecological systems (Raudsepp-Hearne et al., 2010; García-Llorente et al., 2012; Castro et al., 2014). There is
also evidence that trade-offs among services vary across different landscape types. Landscape types
representing ecosystems with intermediate human intervention (such as agricultural terraces, wood
pastures or oak dehesas) were perceived as aesthetically pleasant, highly valued, and multi-functional.
Meanwhile, intensified systems - focusing on the delivery of a single provisioning service - were less valued
by society (García-Llorente et al., 2012).
Better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and motivations for trade-offs and synergies can be
beneficial for planning and managing ES, because it can help to:
(1) predict where and when trade-offs might take place,
(2) reduce undesirable trade-offs and related conflicts,
(3) enhance desirable synergies (e.g. by management strategies which are able to simultaneously deliver
several desired ES),
(4) promote honest dialogue, creativity, and learning between concerned stakeholder groups,
(5) lead to more effective, efficient and credible management decisions, and
(6) obtain more equitable and fair outcomes by taking into account distributive impacts of ES trade-offs
(e.g. in PES schemes) (Rodríguez et al., 2006; Bennett et al., 2009; Nelson et al., 2009; Hirsch et al.,
2010; Raudsepp-Hearne et al. 2010; Elmqvist et al., 2011; McShane et al., 2011; Phelps et al., 2012;
Hicks et al., 2013).
OpenNESS Synthesis Paper No 27: ‘Ecosystem Service Trade-offs and Synergies’ 4 | P a g e
Problems / Issues to be discussed during the lifetime of OpenNESS
1. How does ecosystem management affect ES trade-offs and synergies and their consequences? Can we
identify leverage points where a small change in management can reduce the impact of ES trade-offs
and enhance synergies?
2. How to reduce the potential risk of policy failure due to ES trade-offs and the uncertainty they entail?
3. How can power asymmetries among stakeholders be addressed to influence the handling and
resolution of ES trade-offs?
4. How to better account for long term ecological, social and cultural implications of trade-offs between
economy and environment in decision making processes?
Significance to OpenNESS and specific Work Packages
WP1: It is important that trade-offs are integrated into ES concepts, frameworks and their
operationalization (an example is provided in Fig. 1).
WP2: Assessing whether ES trade-offs are considered within and between existing and forthcoming EU and
national regulatory frameworks addressing ES. How can individual or a mix of policy interventions
mitigate or manage the impacts of ES trade-offs and feedback processes at different scales?
WP3: In order to avoid unexpected changes, it is important that we improve the understanding of the
functioning of ecological processes which are important for service supply and ES trade-offs (Bennett
et al., 2009). How to integrate ES trade-offs and synergies into ES assessments and tools?
WP4: How well do the hybrid and integrated valuation methodologies being developed in OpenNESS
enable the valuation of trade-offs?
WP5: For future land-use plans or interventions in the case studies, it is important that the trade-offs are
fully considered and assessed.
WP6: How can the implications of ES trade-offs be translated into policy recommendations and integrated
into the Menu of Multi-Scale Solutions and associated datasets?
Relationship to the four challenges
Human well-being:
When ES that are important for
human well-being are affected
by trade-offs or synergies, then
well-being will be affected.
Sustainable Ecosystem Management (SEM):
It is often not possible for SEM to achieve all management objectives
and fulfil all public expectations. Therefore it is essential to make
trade-offs explicit and find appropriate ways to deal with them.
To be effective, cross-sectoral
policies and governance need
to consider (potential) ES
trade-offs and their
distributional impacts.
The private sector need to consider trade-offs in their daily
management decisions. ES can be traded-off against other business
priorities. However, if this is impacting supporting ES on which a
business depends, their long-term profitability can be affected. In
case these decisions impact ES important for society, reputation
damage will be the result.
Recommendations to the OpenNESS consortium:
The proposed concept and definition is new, and is the result of internal consultation. It is proposed that
OpenNESS members explore and further improve this trade-off concept in the WPs and the case studies. If
this approach is found to be useful, then it is recommended that OpenNESS accept it in the glossary and in
the practise of OpenNESS.
It is recommended that for the analysis and development of multifunctional ecosystems or landscapes,
trade-offs and all its implications are fully taken into consideration.
Suggested three “must read” papers:
Bennett E.M. et al. (2009): Understanding relationships among multiple ecosystem services. Ecology
letters12(12): 1394-1404.
OpenNESS Synthesis Paper No 27: ‘Ecosystem Service Trade-offs and Synergies’ 5 | P a g e
Howe C. et al. (2014): Creating win-wins from trade-offs? Ecosystem services for human well-being: A
meta-analysis of ecosystem service trade-offs and synergies in the real world. Global Environmental
Change28: 263-275.
Mouchet M. et al. (2014): An interdisciplinary methodological guide for quantifying associations between
ecosystem services. Global Environmental Change 28: 298-308.
Further Cited papers:
Berry P. et al. (2015): Ecosystem Services Bundles. In: Potschin, M. and K. Jax (eds): OpenNESS Ecosystem Services
Reference Book. EC FP7 Grant Agreement no. 308428. Available via: www.openness-
Castro A.J. et al. (2014): Ecosystem service trade-offs from supply to social demand: A landscape-scale spatial analysis.
Landscape and Urban Planning 132: 102-110.
Elmqvist T. et al. (2011): Managing Trade-offs in Ecosystem Services. Ecosystem Services Economics (ESE) Working
Paper Series.Division of Environmental Policy Implementation Paper N° 4.The United Nations Environment
Felipe-Lucía M. et al. (2015):Ecosystem services flows: why stakeholders’ power relationships matters. PLoS ONE
10(7): e0132232.DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0132232
García-Llorente M. et al. (2012): The role of multi-functionality in social preferences toward semi-arid rural
landscapes: An ecosystem service approach. Environmental Science & Policy 19-20: 136-146.
García-Llorente M. et al. (2015): Biophysical and socio-cultural factors underlying spatial tradeoffs of ecosystem
services in semiarid watersheds. Ecology and Society 20 (3):39.
Geijzendorffer I.R. et al. (2015): Improving the identification of mismatches in ecosystem services assessments. Ecol.
Indic. 52, 320331.
Hicks C. and Cinner J. (2014): Social, institutional, and knowledge mechanisms mediate diverse ecosystem service
benefits from coral reefs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
(PNAS) 111 (50): 17791-17796.
Hicks C.C. et al. (2013): Synergies and trade-offs in how managers, scientists, and fishers value coral reef ecosystem
services. Global Environmental Change 23(6): 1444-1453.
Hirsch P.D. et al. (2010): Acknowledging Conservation Trade-Offs and Embracing Complexity. Conservation Biology
25(2): 259-264.
Iniesta-Arandia I et al. (2014): Socio-cultural valuation of ecosystem services: uncovering the links between values,
drivers of change and human well-being. Ecological Economics 108:36-48.
Kandziora M. et al. (2013): Interactions of ecosystem properties, ecosystem integrity and ecosystem service
indicatorsA theoretical matrix exercise. Ecological Indicators 28: 54-78.
Martín-López B. et al. (2014): Trade-offs across value-domains in ecosystem services assessment. Ecological Indicators
37 220 228.
McShane T.O. et al. (2011): Hard choices: making trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and human well-being.
Biol. Conserv. 144, 966972.
McShane T.O. et al. (2011): Hard choices: Making trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and human well-being.
Biological Conservation 144(3): 966-972.
Nelson E. et al. (2009):Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and
tradeoffs at landscape scales. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(1): 4-11.
Ostrom E. (2009): A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems. Science 325: 419-422.
Phelps J. et al. (2012): Winwin REDD+ approaches belie carbonbiodiversity trade-offs. Biological Conservation 154:
Raudsepp-Hearne C. et al. (2010): Ecosystem service bundles for analyzingtradeoffs in diverse landscapes. Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 107(11): 5242-5247.
Renard D. et al. (2015): Historical dynamics in ecosystem service bundles. Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 112(43): 13411-13416.
Rodriguez J.P. et al. (2005): Interactions among Ecosystem Services.Ecosystems and human well-being: scenarios 431
448.Chapter 12 -Interactions among Ecosystem Services.In Ecosystems and Human well-being: scenarios, volume
2. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Island Press: 431-448.
Rodríguez J.P. et al. (2006): Trade-offs across Space, Time, and Ecosystem Services. Ecology and Society 11(1): 28.
TEEB (2010): The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundations. Edited by P. Kumar
Earthscan, London and Washington.
Review Editor: Marion Potschin (UNOTT)
OpenNESS Synthesis Paper No 27: ‘Ecosystem Service Trade-offs and Synergies’ 6 | P a g e
Suggested Citation: Turkelboom F., Thoonen M., Jacobs S., García-Llorente M., Martín-López B. and Berry P. (2015):
Ecosystem services trade-offs and synergies (draft). In: Potschin, M. and K. Jax (eds): OpenNESS Reference Book. EC
FP7 Grant Agreement no. 308428. Available via:
Acknowledgements: The following OpenNESS partners have further contributed to the SP: Francesc Baro (UAB), David
Odee (KEFRI), Camino Liquete (JRC), Conor Kretsch (UNOTT), Bálint Czúcz (MTA ÖK), Raktima Mukhopadhyay (IBRAD), Vesa
Yli-Pelkonen (UH), Roy Haines-Young (UNOTT)
Disclaimer: This document is a preliminary but ‘stable’ working document for the OpenNESS project. It has been
consulted on formally within the consortium. It is not meant to be a full review on the topic but represents an agreed
basis for taking the work of the project forward. Its content may, however, change as the results of OpenNESS
emerge. A final version, incorporating all the new material will be published at the end of project in 2017.
... Ecosystems are complex and usually multi-functional, as they potentially supply multiple services (Turkelboom et al. 2015). Sets of ES that occur together across space or time (Koch et al. 2009;Raudsepp-Hearne et al. 2010) often are called 'bundles' (Ament et al. 2017). ...
... Relationships between ES can occur as tradeoffs, where the provision of one service increases as another decreases, or as synergies, where the use of one service directly increases another service (Rodríguez et al. 2006;Turkelboom et al. 2015). In other words, the complex relationships between ES can result in positive or negative changes in the provision of different services under a policy or environment change (Dade et al. 2018). ...
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... The key block for ESP construction is the recognition of ecological sources Gou et al. 2022). Although scholars have been accepted to obtain ecological sources in terms of ecosystem services Gao et al. 2021;Chen et al. 2022;Guo et al. 2022), many researchers have pointed that the trade-offs and synergies between ecosystems are common (Bennett et al. 2009;Turkelboom et al. 2015;Dade et al. 2019;Fan et al. 2021). For example, synergies are between carbon sequestration, water yield, and soil retention (Yang et al. 2016), and trade-offs is between carbon storage and food production (Peng et al. 2019b). ...
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Rapid urbanization and irrational human activities have induced in numerous environmental problems, seriously threatening regional ecological security. The establishment and optimization of ecological security patterns (ESPs) were considered as a nature-based solution and an effective way for sustainable development. In this study, the Guizhou Province, a representative karst mountainous region in the southwest of China, was used as the study region. The ecological sources were identified and optimized through integrating ecosystem services and landscape connectivity, and the ecological resistance surface was corrected by representative features of karst areas. The circuit theory was adopted to extract the ecological corridors and barriers. We found that the three ecosystem services (i.e., water conservation, biodiversity maintenance, and soil conservation) had remarkable spatial heterogeneity. The area of optimized ecological sources was enlarged 4752.14 km2. The number of corridors was reduced from 73 to 47 after optimization, with a total length decreased by 1251.97 km. The optimized ecological network structure considerably enhanced ecological connectivity, among the γ index increased by 0.0014, the β index reduced by 0.0833, while the α index did not change significantly. We concluded that quantitatively exploring the impacts of ecological source optimization are significant for enhancing ecological connectivity. The approach of our study proposes a novel idea into the ESP construction that can provide a meaningful reference for ecological protection and restoration.
... A trade-off between two ecosystem services refers to the capacity of one ecosystem service being strengthened at the cost of the other (Howe et al., 2014;Rodríguez et al., 2006), whereas both services would increase or decrease simultaneously under a synergistic relationship (Tomscha and Gergel, 2016;Turkelboom et al., 2015). These relationships between ecosystem services are typically strong as they are tightly connected (Dai et al., 2017). ...
Ecosystem service value (ESV) refers to the value of benefits provided by the ecosystem to people, and can reflect the quality of regional ecological environment. There have been few studies on ESV in arid regions experiencing dramatic land use changes. Also, many past ESV studies have obtained distorted results by using a simple linear function to examine the trade-offs between driving factors. This study quantified ESV in Xinjiang from 1990 to 2020 based on value equivalent method. Differences in ESV among ecosystem services in Xinjiang under different scenarios were simulated using a Bayesian network model. The results demonstrated land use changes in Xinjiang from 1990 to 2020, with construction land expanding the most significantly (dynamic index: 224.63 %), whereas grassland area decreased (dynamic index: −1.31 %) due to transformation to unused and cultivated land. ESV in Xinjiang presented an N-shaped variation trend from 1990 to 2020 and decreased by 309.6 × 10⁸ CNY, with a variation rate of −20.35 %. The rank of the four categories of ecological services from 1990 to 2020 in terms of ESV was: regulating services > support services > cultural services > supply services. There was a gradual reduction in ESV in Xinjiang from 1990 to 2020. The rank of the different regions in terms of the reduction in ESV was: Northern Xinjiang (295.24 × 10⁸ CNY) > Southern Xinjiang (280.94 × 10⁸ CNY) > Eastern Xinjiang (109.76 × 10⁸ CNY). Land use change was a direct driver of changes in ESV, whereas natural and social factors, such as precipitation, temperature, population, and policy factors, were indirect drivers. This study can act as a reference for sustainable management of ecosystem services in arid regions.
... The variable I2.2 measures the trade-offs and synergies between ES-Uses. According to Turkelboom et al. (2016), in a trade-off situation "the use of one ES directly decreases the benefits supplied by another" (Turkelboom et al., 2016, p.2). In contrast, "'synergies' [.] [are] defined as the converse of a trade-off" (Howe et al., 2014, p. 265). ...
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... (2) Synergies and trade-offs among FB ecosystem services From our database, 146 studies provided evidence for multiple FB-ES associations, indicating that the provision/ disruption of one ES coincided with the provision/disruption of one or more other ESs (synergistic and trade-off effects; Turkelboom et al., 2016). Common examples for ES synergies in our database referred to knowledge acquisition (e.g. ...
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Identification of ecosystem services, i.e. the contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being, has proven instrumental in galvanising public and political support for safeguarding biodiversity and its benefits to people. Here we synthe-sise the global evidence on ecosystem services provided and disrupted by freshwater bivalves, a heterogenous group of >1200 species, including some of the most threatened (in Unionida) and invasive (e.g. Dreissena polymorpha) taxa globally. Our systematic literature review resulted in a data set of 904 records from 69 countries relating to 24 classes of provision-ing (N = 189), cultural (N = 491) and regulating (N = 224) services following the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES). Prominent ecosystem services included (i) the provisioning of food, materials and medicinal products, (ii) knowledge acquisition (e.g. on water quality, past environments and historical societies), ornamental and other cultural contributions, and (iii) the filtration, sequestration, storage and/or transformation of biological and physico-chemical water properties. About 9% of records provided evidence for the disruption rather than provision of ecosystem services. Synergies and trade-offs of ecosystem services were observed. For instance, water filtration by freshwater bivalves can be beneficial for the cultural service 'biomonitoring', while negatively or positively affecting food consumption or human recreation. Our evidence base spanned a total of 91 genera and 191 species, dominated by Unionida (55% of records, 76% of species), Veneroida (21 and 9%, respectively; mainly Corbicula spp.) and Myoida (20 and 4%, respectively; mainly Dreissena spp.). About one third of records, predominantly from Europe and the Amer-icas, related to species that were non-native to the country of study. The majority of records originated from Asia (35%), with available evidence for 23 CICES classes, as well as Europe (29%) and North America (23%), where research was largely focused on 'biomonitoring'. Whilst the earliest record (from 1949) originated from North America, since 2000, annual output of records has increased rapidly in Asia and Europe. Future research should focus on filling gaps in knowledge in lesser-studied regions, including Africa and South America, and should look to provide a quantitative valuation of the socioeconomic costs and benefits of ecosystem services shaped by freshwater bivalves.
... In fact, a recent review has suggested that one of the most important outcomes of ecosystem service assessments has been to improve decision-making in landscape-planning (Valencia Torres et al., 2021). While many studies have addressed the concept of tradeoffs in land-use management from a theoretical perspective (e.g., Raudsepp-Hearne et al., 2010;Cavender-Bares et al., 2015;Turkelboom et al., 2015;Deng et al., 2016;Cord et al., 2017;Vallet et al., 2018), its application on the ground remains challenging as it requires the assessment and subsequent valuation of all components under consideration. ...
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The ecosystem services framework can be used as a way of balancing economic, ecological and societal drivers in land management decision-making processes. As heathland management is typically linked directly to services, the aim of this study was to quantify trade-offs related to the effects of five common heathland management measures (grazing, mowing, burning, choppering, and sod-cutting) using quantitative data from empirical studies within a northwestern heathland in Germany. Besides important services (groundwater recharge and quality, carbon stocks and appreciation by the general public) we included ecosystem functions (balances of nitrogen, phosphorus and major cations) and the net cost of management implementation as trade-off components. We found that all management practices have advantages and disadvantages leading to unavoidable trade-offs. The effect of a management practice on the trade-off components was often closely related to the amount of biomass and/or soil removed during a management cycle ( R annual ). Choppering and sod-cutting (large R annual by involving soil removal) were very good at maintaining a low N system whilst concurrently increasing groundwater recharge, albeit at the cost of all other components considered. If the aim is to preserve heathlands and their associated ecosystem services in the long-term this trade-off is inevitable, as currently only these high-intensity measures are capable of removing enough nitrogen from the system to prevent the transition to non-heather dominated habitat types. Our study, therefore, shows that in order to maintain structural integrity and thereby the service potential a habitat provides, management decision frameworks may need to prioritize ecosystem functioning over ecosystem services. Burning and mowing (low R annual ) were best at retaining phosphorus, cations and carbon and had the lowest costs. Grazing (intermediate R annual ) provided the highest relative benefit in terms of groundwater quality and appreciation. Together these results can help identify management combinations in both space and time, which will be more beneficial for functions and services than management practices considered in isolation. Furthermore, our study assists in recognizing key areas of action for the development of novel management practices and can help raise awareness of the diversity of rare species and potential benefits to people that protected cultural landscapes provide.
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Coastal communities in the Tana estuary, Kenya, rely on a variety of economic sectors linked to ecosystem services , including small-scale fisheries (SSF), commercial prawn fisheries, and tourism. Despite its environmental and social importance, the estuary has been negatively impacted by overexploitation, pollution, and climate change. As a result, developing integrated management approaches for this area is a priority. The integrated approach to ecosystem services (ES) evaluation has widespread support because it emphasizes people's views of ecological value to human well-being and aims to provide a solution to the rapid depletion of our planet's natural resources. This study applied mixed methods to understand the perspectives of the communities on ES. It was hypothesized that perceptions of ES differ across communities with different socioeconomic characteristics, and this hypothesis was tested in two communities (Ozi and Kipini) that share the same ecosystem but have different socioeconomic characteristics. Kipini is an area near the ocean, whereas Ozi is a rural area further upstream. Differences were noted in the valuation of cultural services, while there were similarities in provisioning and regulating services. Mangroves, other trees, and river systems were considered to have higher ES provision than the ocean, floodplains, and settlement areas. The Ozi community ranked the ocean higher than the Kipini community, even though Ozi was located further upstream from the ocean; consequently, the perception that communities benefit more from resources that they are close to could be false. The relevance of using social ES identification to determine the distribution of benefits from coastal ES is highlighted in this study and will be beneficial for informing decision-making and developing all-inclusive governance structures.
Sandy shores are highly regarded as sites for recreation, places to play in the sun, sea, and sand. In contrast, very little attention is given to beaches as ecosystems that support diverse biological communities, and comprise essential ecological infrastructure that provides numerous ecosystem services to people over and above recreation. Therefore, we aimed to comprehensively list and classify all ecosystem services provided by sandy shores based on an internationally accepted classification, compare service delivery by each component of the littoral active zone (LAZ: foredunes, beach and surf zone), and identify ecosystem service bundles for sandy shores for the first time. We identified and described all ecosystem services in the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES, version 5.1) that apply to sandy shores. There were 56 (of 84, 67 %) of these services, including Biotic and Abiotic Provisioning (n = 16 of 39; 41 %), Regulation and Maintenance (n = 25 of 30; 83 %), and Cultural (n = 15 of 15; 100 %) services. All components of the LAZ are important for delivering services. Using multivariate statistics, we identified 11 ecosystem service bundles, which are mainly underpinned by the multifunctionality of the ecological infrastructure. We discuss three main threats to ecosystem service supply: the myriad of pressures these ecosystems face; discrepancies in service supply and demand; and limited ocean literacy regarding sandy shores. We propose actions to address these threats, including key areas for future research. Finally, we highlight the key role of management and governance in maintaining sustainable flows of ecosystem services and their benefits, and emphasize the importance of adaptive ecosystem-based management across the LAZ.
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Urbanization is continually taking place in the cities. Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital and the world's 11th largest megacity, is no exception to this trend. Cities relying on natural ecosystems outside the city boundaries also benefit from internal urban ecosystems as well. Rooftop gardens have the potential to be excellent urban ecosystem stimulators and play a significant role in urban landscape planning and management. An experimental survey was conducted on twenty rooftop gardens from two metropolitan areas (Mohammadpur and Dhanmondi) of Dhaka city. The goal was to examine the four categories of ecosystem services: Provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural, supplied by ecosystems within the Rooftop Gardens (RTGs) and to evaluate their performances by examining through a Rapid Assessment Checklist (RAC) tool. The RAC was consisted of 47 proxy indicators (33 qualitative and 14 quantitative indicators) directly or indirectly representing various dimensions of ecosystem services. From a maximum of 100, the average score of total ecosystem services was 50 ± 12 which could be considered as an intermediate performance in ecosystem services provision. The highest score 60 ± 14 was obtained from the cultural services and the lowest score 41 ± 13 was from provisioning services. The assessment of RTGES would allow stakeholders to identify the weak and strong points of the existing rooftop gardens for their management and improvement. A proper understanding of RTGES and integrated participation of gardeners and urban planners could contribute to designing ecosystem service based roof gardens for making human settlements ecologically sustainable.
Facing the impacts of climate change and the ecological environmental problems caused by urbanization, urban-rural resilience is a new value goal of territorial space development. Blue-green space is an interconnected network system of natural and artificial green space and water bodies, which can dissolve the internal and external pressures of the system by way of mitigatory acceptance and adaptive interaction, reduce the impact of climate change and artificial construction disturbances, and provide diversified composite functions. By recognizing the connotation of the concept of blue-green space, its composite ecological functionality and its relationship with the value of urban-rural resilience, this paper constructs a conceptual framework for the integrated planning of blue-green space in urban and rural areas with resilient objectives, resource identification, integrated configuration, differentiated regulation. The paper proposes an integrated and coordinated multi-scale practicable approach of blue-green space planning (i.e., the construction of the blue-green corridor network, the configuration of blue-green open space, the allocation of blue-green infrastructure) and the regulation-based urban-rural transect, with the aim of improving the hydroecological performance and composite functional services in order to realize urban and rural resilience.
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The ecosystem services framework has enabled the broader public to acknowledge the benefits nature provides to different stakeholders. However, not all stakeholders benefit equally from these services. Rather, power relationships are a key factor influencing the access of individuals or groups to ecosystem services. In this paper, we propose an adaptation of the " cascade " framework for ecosystem services to integrate the analysis of ecological interactions among ecosystem services and stakeholders' interactions, reflecting power relationships that mediate ecosystem services flows. We illustrate its application using the floodplain of the River Piedra (Spain) as a case study. First, we used structural equation modelling (SEM) to model the dependence relationships among ecosystem services. Second , we performed semi-structured interviews to identify formal power relationships among stakeholders. Third, we depicted ecosystem services according to stakeholders' ability to use, manage or impair ecosystem services in order to expose how power relationships mediate access to ecosystem services. Our results revealed that the strongest power was held by those stakeholders who managed (although did not use) those keystone ecosystem properties and services that determine the provision of other services (i.e., intermediate regulating and final services). In contrast, non-empowered stakeholders were only able to access the remaining non-excludable and non-rival ecosystem services (i.e., some of the cultural services, freshwater supply, water quality, and biological control). In addition, land stewardship, access rights, and governance appeared as critical factors determining the status of ecosystem services. Finally, we stress the need to analyse the role of stakeholders and their relationships to foster equal access to ecosystem services.
Creating win-wins from trade-offs? Ecosystem services for human well-being: A meta-analysis of ecosystem service trade-offs and synergies in the real world
Biophysical and social systems are linked to form social-ecological systems whose sustainability depends on their capacity to absorb uncertainty and cope with disturbances. In this study, we explored the key biophysical and socio-cultural factors underlying ecosystem service supply in two semiarid watersheds of southern Spain. These included variables associated with the role that freshwater flows and biodiversity play in securing the system’s capacity to sustain essential ecosystem services and their relationship with social demand for services, local water governance, and land-use intensification. Our results reveal the importance of considering the invisible dimensions of water and biodiversity, i.e. green freshwater flows and trait-based indicators, because of their relevance to the supply of ecosystem services. Furthermore, they uncover the importance of traditional irrigation canals, a local water governance system, in maintaining the ecosystems’ capacity to supply services. The study also highlights the complex trade-offs that occur because of the spatial mismatch between ecosystem service supply (upstream) and ecosystem service demand (downstream) in watersheds. Finally, we found that land-use intensification generally resulted in losses of the biophysical factors that underpin the supply of some ecosystem services, increases in social demand for less diversified services, and the abandonment of local governance practices. Attempts to manage social-ecological systems toward sustainability at the local scale should identify the key biophysical and socio-cultural factors that are essential for maintaining ecosystem services and should recognize existing interrelationships between them. Land-use management should also take into account ecosystem service trade-offs and the consequences resulting from land-use intensification
Significance Ecosystems provide a range of services that can benefit people. However, the extent to which people are able to harness those benefits depends not only on the supply of ecosystem services but also on their capacity to access them via a range of social, economic, and institutional mechanisms. Here, we examine how people perceive ecosystem service benefits across 28 coral reef fishing communities in four countries. We quantitatively show that bundles of benefits are mediated by key access mechanisms (e.g., rights-based, economic, knowledge, social, and institutional). Interestingly, social, institutional, and knowledge mechanisms were associated with the greatest number and diversity of benefits. Resource managers can focus on these access mechanisms to maximize ecosystem service benefits while minimizing human–environment impacts.
Ecosystem services studies currently lack information regarding stakeholders' socio-cultural values. This information is highly relevant to human well-being, which is the motivation of ecosystem services assessments. We present re-sults from an analysis of stakeholders' perceptions of ecosystem services, well-being and drivers of change in two semi-arid watersheds in south-eastern Spain. Based on the information compiled through a literature review, par-ticipant observation and semi-structured interviews, we designed a questionnaire and conducted 381 interviews. Our results show that semiarid watersheds deliver a large variety of ecosystem services; however, these services are perceived in different ways. We identified five stakeholder groups, including: locals dependent on provisioning ecosystem services, locals not directly dependent on provisioning ecosystem services, environmental and local de-velopment professionals and rural and nature tourists. Overall, provisioning services related to traditional practices were perceived as highly important and highly vulnerable by every stakeholder group. However, we found contrast-ing perceptions of some ecosystem services among stakeholders and of the relevant drivers of change and well-being. We suggest that socio-cultural valuation is a useful tool to prioritize ecosystem services but more attention should be directed to emerging trade-offs. Linking values to other stakeholder perceptions might be a useful way to move forward in ecosystem services valuation.
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