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Abstract

Land degradation response actions need motivated stakeholders and investments to improve land management. In this study we present methods to prioritise locations for degradation mitigation investments based on stakeholder preferences for ecosystem services. We combine participatory and spatial modelling approaches and apply these for Zambia, South Africa, and Tanzania to: i) prioritise ecosystem services in each country; ii) to map the supply of these ecosystem services in each country, and; iii) prioritise areas important for investment for the continuous delivery of these ecosystem services based on their vulnerability to land degradation. We interviewed 31 stakeholders from governmental and non-governmental organizations to select the most important ecosystem services per county. Stakeholders were also asked to indicate on national maps the hotspots of these ecosystem services and locations with a high degradation risk. We then assessed the supply of the stakeholder-selected ecosystem services and land degradation risk using GIS-based spatial models. We found that for each country the spatial extent and magnitude of ecosystem services supply and land degradation based on GIS data coincides with stakeholder knowledge in some locations. In the context of supporting national level policy to achieve land degradation neutrality as proposed by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification we argue that the correct representation, the level of acceptance, and use of modelled outputs to support decisions will be greater when model outputs are corroborated by stake-holder knowledge. Ecosystem services that are identified as " important " by diverse stakeholder groups have a broader level of awareness and could therefore drive motivations, commitments, and actions towards improved land management, contributing to land degradation neutrality.

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... Using ES free-listing (bottom-up classifications), flexible classification systems and pretesting classifications with diverse stakeholders across scales have been widely applied to overcome these difficulties (Martín-López et al. 2012, Willemen et al. 2017. The use of more diffuse ES classification, such as that of Nature Contributions to People (NCP) from IPBES, in contrast with other siloed classifications (e.g. ...
... Some studies have opted to combine different methods in an attempt to tackle the scarcity of adequate data. In a study in South-Eastern Africa (Willemen et al., 2017), maps were derived from a combination of model-based maps and PGIS data in order to identify ES hotspots where these outcomes of the two approaches coincided in space. In some cases, despite the loss of information, simplification or generalisation can be a way forward to circumvent the lack of dataMeerbeek et al. 2016. ...
Article
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Ecosystem services (ES) mapping is becoming mainstream in many sustainability assessments, but its impact on real world decision-making is still limited. Robustness, end-user relevance and transparency have been identified as key attributes needed for effective ES mapping. However, these requirements are not always met due to multiple challenges, referred to here as bottlenecks, that scientists, practitioners, policy makers and users from other public and private sectors encounter along the mapping process.
... The two move in opposite directions as land degradation degrades ecosystem services and land improvement enhances ecosystem services. Hence, investment in land degradation neutrality is capable of reducing land degradation and ensuring improvement in ecosystem services (Willemen et al., 2018). ...
... Quatrini and Crossman (2018) contend that land degradation neutrality should engender co-benefits or synergies with ecosystem services in order to make both worth financial investment. Empirical evidence from southern Africa shows that investment in land degradation neutrality actually leads to enhancement in ecosystem services provisioning (Willemen et al., 2018). From a FGD at Pitanga it came out that: I wish to practice composting on my bush farm but because of the labour required to carry the compost to my bush farm which I cannot afford, I only practice it on my backyard garden. ...
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The co-benefits from the implementation of ecosystem-based approaches in managing land degradation and enhancing ecosystem services have not been adequately explored in the mainstream literature. The study aims at identifying the indicators of land degradation and the associated ecosystem-based approaches used to remedy the situation. The ecosystem-based approaches refer to ecosystems and ecosystem services together with their flexible management in a cultural setting. The paper adopts a descriptive research design with quantitative and qualitative approaches. Principally, it targets 236 smallholder farmers for the survey, key informants for interviews and community members for focus group discussion. The results revealed that land degradation is mainly identified by reduced crop yield (53%). Farmer identification of land degradation is influenced by the age of the farmer (p = 0.001) with = 0.05. The ecosystem-based approaches include stone bonding, crop rotation, mulching and particularly, composting (53%). The ecosystem-based approaches are statistically linked to the communities with p-value of 0.020. A p-value of 0.001 shows that the ecosystem-based approaches are beneficial in the various study communities. Farmers' experience over the past five years is statistically related to the age of respondents (p = 0.008). The p-value of 0.000 indicates very strong statistical significance of the challenges of ecosystem-based approaches in the communities. The ecosystem-based approaches have long term goals for sustainable land improvement and may not be realized unless there is direct policy to take care of the approaches even in the short term.
... During the past decades, however, intensive interference from human activities (e.g. extensive deforestation, cropland and urban expansion, etc.) has dramatically changed landscapes, causing land degradation to be a common issue worldwide (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005;Willemen et al., 2018). ...
... To improve human well-being and to change the degraded ecosystem and environment, ecological restoration programmes have been launched on a global scale (Willemen et al., 2018). Correspondingly, increasing interest has been focused on temporal and spatial changes of ecosystem services in the context of ecological restoration (Lu et al., 2012;Jiang et al., 2016;Li et al., 2016a). ...
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Widespread land degradation has stimulated the implementation of a large‐scale ecological restoration programme in China's Loess Plateau—the Grain‐for‐Green Programme (GFGP). This programme has substantially increased vegetation cover and served to control soil erosion, but threatened regional food supply due to widespread cropland conversion. Consequently, a strategy balancing green and grain land uses is required. Here, we establish a dominance index of ecosystem services by quantifying the economic value of four key ecosystem services (net primary productivity, soil conservation, water yield, and food production), by combining spatially explicit datasets and census data. Using the dominance index, we identify the optimal areas to target for GFGP in the Loess Plateau. The identified areas (target areas) were the transition zone from low to high value of ecosystem services (ESV). These areas exhibited low grain productivity in addition to having the highest potential for soil conservation. Compared with other regions of the Loess Plateau, the loss of grain production due to cropland conversion in these target areas could decrease by 42%, whereas ESV could increase by 33 %. Therefore, despite the fact that over the past 15 years (2000–2014) in these target areas more cropland was converted into ecological use (i.e., forest/grassland), there is still a need to strengthen ecological restoration in this region in the future. This study proposed a strategy for balancing green and grain from a spatial perspective, which could potentially solve land degradation issues and the tradeoff between ecosystem services in a more beneficial and targeted way.
... The two move in opposite directions as land degradation degrades ecosystem services and land improvement enhances ecosystem services. Hence, investment in land degradation neutrality is capable of reducing land degradation and ensuring improvement in ecosystem services (Willemen et al., 2018). ...
... Quatrini and Crossman (2018) contend that land degradation neutrality should engender co-benefits or synergies with ecosystem services in order to make both worth financial investment. Empirical evidence from southern Africa shows that investment in land degradation neutrality actually leads to enhancement in ecosystem services provisioning (Willemen et al., 2018). From a FGD at Pitanga it came out that: I wish to practice composting on my bush farm but because of the labour required to carry the compost to my bush farm which I cannot afford, I only practice it on my backyard garden. ...
Article
Full-text available
The co-benefits from the implementation of ecosystem-based approaches in managing land degradation and enhancing ecosystem services have not been adequately explored in the mainstream literature. The study aims at identifying the indicators of land degradation and the associated ecosystembased approaches used to remedy the situation. The ecosystem-based approaches refer to ecosystems and ecosystem services together with their flexible management in a cultural setting. The paper adopts a descriptive research design with quantitative and qualitative approaches. Principally, it targets 236 smallholder farmers for the survey, key informants for interviews and community members for focus group discussion. The results revealed that land degradation is mainly identified by reduced crop yield (53%). Farmer identification of land degradation is influenced by the age of the farmer (p = 0.001) with 𝛼 = 0.05. The ecosystem-based approaches include stone bonding, crop rotation, mulching and particularly, composting (53%). The ecosystem-based approaches are statistically linked to the communities with pvalue of 0.020. A p-value of 0.001 shows that the ecosystem-based approaches are beneficial in the various study communities. Farmers’ experience over the past five years is statistically related to the age of respondents (p = 0.008). The p-value of 0.000 indicates very strong statistical significance of the challenges of ecosystem-based approaches in the communities. The ecosystem-based approaches have long term goals for sustainable land improvement and may not be realized unless there is direct policy to take care of the approaches even in the short term.
... Most countries in southern and northern Africa are water stressed, making water availability one of the most important resources on the continent. Water supply and other ecosystem services such as grazing highlighted in National Reports in this review are similar to those identified by government stakeholders in south ern Africa as important for targeting land degradation neutrality investment in the region (Willemen et al., 2017). The ecosystem services most frequently identified as important by the stakeholders in all three countries (Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia) were those with a market value, a direct contribution to human wellbeing or have an important contribution to economic activities such as agriculture (e.g., food, fodder and water) (Willemen et al., 2017). ...
... Water supply and other ecosystem services such as grazing highlighted in National Reports in this review are similar to those identified by government stakeholders in south ern Africa as important for targeting land degradation neutrality investment in the region (Willemen et al., 2017). The ecosystem services most frequently identified as important by the stakeholders in all three countries (Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia) were those with a market value, a direct contribution to human wellbeing or have an important contribution to economic activities such as agriculture (e.g., food, fodder and water) (Willemen et al., 2017). Ecosystem services maps and maps on spread of IAS, can be used to prioritise areas for control if available but expertise in the field is needed. ...
Article
Invasive alien species (IAS) are known to pose a serious threat to biodiversity, and reduce the ability of ecosystems to provide benefits to humans. In recognition of this threat and to address the impacts of IAS, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted Aichi Biodiversity Target 9, which is dedicated to the control or eradication of priority IAS and the management of their introduction pathways by 2020. The achievement of Target 9 relies strongly on the commitment and ability of Parties to set ambitious national or regional targets and achieve them, the availability of information and the requisite expertise on invasion biology. Now that the global community is gearing for the post-2020 Biodiversity Framework, it is time to take stock and identify opportunities to improve the performance of the African region beyond 2020. We approached this task by reviewing information on the impacts of IAS on ecosystem services in Africa, as a large proportion of Africans directly rely on ecosystem services, particularly in rural areas. Furthermore, we assessed the expertise on IAS in Africa. Our data sources were National Reports of African countries to the CBD, as well as peer-reviewed scientific literature. National Reports under the CBD provide information on measures taken to implement the Convention at country level, as well as progress towards the achievement of set targets. We found National Reports for 48 (about 90%) countries of which 73% provided feedback on IAS indicating commitment to fight IAS. However, there were few studies within peer-reviewed scientific literature looking at impacts of IAS on ecosystem services in Africa and almost half of the authors were non-Africans. This alludes to limited scientific expertise to inform and support IAS management on the continent. Both the National Reports and scientific literature showed that provisioning services were the most negatively affected by IAS. Also, more than 100 species were listed as problematic. More efforts and resources are needed to document IAS impacts across different realms (e.g. marine, terrestrial and freshwater) and for sub-regional bodies so that more integrated strategies and approaches can be developed. This information is also needed to support the development and implementation of national legislative and regulatory initiatives, as well as to report on international obligations such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
... After quantifying the three examined HES' spatial similarity, we wanted to find and delineate critical areas. Because the examined tools have different value sets, a scoring system was applied, similar to previously developed ones for bringing the results from different tools to uniform value set (Qiu and Turner, 2013;Schulp et al., 2014;Willemen et al., 2018). Each quantified HES was scored on a scale of one to ten (or from 'bad' to 'excellent') at the cell level according to the deciles of its own values (similar to Schmalz et al., 2016). ...
... Overall, our findings support the suggestion, that the application of simpler tools like matrix models or InVEST can be ideal as the first step of an integrated regional landscape development procedure, by delineating critical areas where the aggregate scores of the analysed HES are the strongest/weakest (Cong et al., 2020;Li et al., 2017;Willemen et al., 2018). The former are locations prioritised for preservation, while the latter are potential intervention zones . ...
Article
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The pursuit of good management of our waters poses permanent challenges to the whole society. Decision-makers often need to define appropriate and sustainable strategies on interdisciplinary topics, like water management issues. The rapidly evolving quantification and mapping of hydrologic ecosystem services (HES) is putting hydrologic and water management issues into an ecosystem services (ES) framework, which can be a step towards reconciling different aspects of land use and water management. Different tools can be used for modelling HES, with a wide range according to their basic properties, e.g., structure, methodology, computational needs, data requirements, reliability, controllability. As a result of that, the numeric values, spatial patterns, and reliability of HES assessments and the uncertainties in their results may differ significantly.In this paper, we covered almost the whole palette of HES mapping tools with regards to modelling approach: we used InVEST, SWAT and two novel rule-based matrix models for the same pilot area, the 1530 km2 hilly catchment of the Zala River (Hungary). We mapped three HES: flood control, erosion control and nutrient (total phosphorus) retention. Our aim was to examine the relevance of the differences between the HES mapping tools through analysing the spatial differences between the results obtained with the applied. We carried out spatial similarity tests and hotspot analysis at the computational unit level for the individual HES and in an aggregated way as well.As a result of the spatial pattern similarity tests, InVEST and the matrix models showed moderate to strong correlation (p
... From our literature search, this study acknowledges that there is limited literature available related to land productivity assessments in Africa [18][19][20]. This is due to the value and importance attached to land for food production and hence the survival of most communities across the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa [21][22][23]. ...
Article
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The degradation of soil, vegetation and socio-economic transformations are a huge threat to Africa’s land production. This study aimed to (i) assess the soil and land productivity of standing biomass and (ii) determine the effect of rainfall on the standing biomass in Eastern Africa. Soil productivity was determined using the Soil Productivity Index (SPI) and a simplified model was developed to estimate the Net Primary Productivity (NPP). The SPI indicators used included soil-organic matter, texture, soil moisture, base-saturation, pH, cation-exchange-capacity, soil-depth and drainage. The inputs of the simplified model are: MODIS Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), soil erosion, soil nutrient content and input, rainfall, land-use/cover and agro-ecological zones. The findings reveal that the countries with the most productive soils are Mauritius, Rwanda and South Sudan—while, for standing biomass, the countries with the highest spatial extent are Mauritius (97%), Rwanda (96%), Uganda (95%), South Sudan (89%), Ethiopia (47%) and Kenya (36%). Standing biomass is dominant in biomes such as natural forests, woodlands, croplands, grasslands, wetlands and tree-plantations. High land productivity was attributed to soil quality and management, land policy reforms, favourable climatic conditions and sustainable land husbandry activities. Rainfall was significantly correlated with standing biomass in most of the studied countries (p < 0.05) except Djibouti and Rwanda. Therefore, monitoring soil health, use and land reforms are key to sustaining vegetative biomass.
... Nevertheless, triage, as a basis for decision making in conservation, can draw out the values of different stakeholders, and help examine spatial and temporal dynamics, scale issues and trade-offs. There many ways to prioritise, for example, focusing on those species contributing most to ecosystem function, those most likely to persist, phylogenetic distinctiveness, specific ecosystem service provision (Favretto et al., 2016;Willemen et al., 2017), disturbed site remediation (Raymond and Snape, 2017) or landscape restoration (Hobbs and Kristjanson, 2003). Indeed, there is no universal agreement on the 'value' of species, functional diversity, phylogenetic distinctiveness, ecosystem function or service, or any of the other metrics that can be prioritised through a triage process (Vucetich et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3 commits countries to strive towards land degradation neutrality (LDN) by 2030. LDN requires reductions in land quality to be balanced by efforts to restore or rehabilitate degraded areas. However, decisions need to be made as to where to invest given limited budgets and the impossibility of targeting all degraded land. Any prioritisation process is likely to be controversial and needs to be underpinned by transparent, justifiable, repeatable decision processes. In this paper, we develop a triage approach for LDN, drawing on experiences from biodiversity conservation. In conservation, triage refers to prioritisation where for a given budget, threatened species, habitats or ecosystems receive management if they contribute more to the achievement of particular objectives (e.g. maintaining ecosystem function, ensuring the survival of a species) and the management actions are more likely to be successful. Conservation triage has proved both effective in allocating scarce resources, and controversial, as it requires acceptance that it is not possible to save everything. We present a decision framework that transposes triage principles to the LDN decision context, recognising that not all land can be improved. First, we consider countries’ reporting needs on SDG 15.3 and set out a decision process to support progress towards three biophysical global indicators agreed by the United Nations. Second, we take a more people-centred approach, recognising the imperative for social justice and good governance, matching LDN investment decisions more closely with societal needs in an integrated social-ecological systems approach. We then reflect on the remaining risks, such as the potential for vulnerable areas to miss out on investments due to the scale of decision making and challenges of leakage. While we acknowledge the controversial nature of the approach, we argue that a decision framework grounded in triage principles, offers a transparent, justifiable and repeatable process for deciding where to invest in efforts to achieve LDN. This can lower financial costs and help to reduce risks so that ‘striving towards LDN’ does not exacerbate existing drivers of land loss and worsen poverty.
... Such variance in the perception of when, where and how to intervene have direct implications for the implementation of LDN. Willemen et al. (2017) warn that where national level priorities clash with those held by local actors; uptake of LDN actions at local scales may be hindered. While targeting areas identified as important by multiple stakeholder groups could help ensure local buy-in and commitment, target areas and interventions will need to be negotiated amongst actors (i.e., between land users, researchers, extension staff and local government planners, including advocates of LDN). ...
Article
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The concept of land degradation neutrality (LDN) is a new approach receiving considerable interest because of its potential to address land degradation. Implementing LDN presents a number of challenges primarily concerned with the choice of scales of operation at which to apply it and then, monitoring and assessing degradation status and trends at these scales. In the absence of studies that apply the concept to local scales and engage local stakeholders, our study was undertaken in the Gilgel-Abay watershed of northwest Ethiopia using sites that equate to a local landscape scale (10–1000 km²) at which decisions about land use are made. Combining participatory mapping, farmer interviews and a field survey of soil erosion prevalence, our objectives were to: (i) understand local perceptions of land degradation and restoration activities; (ii) assess their implications for LDN, and (iii) explore the utility of engaging local land users in the assessment of land degradation and restoration activities. Our findings demonstrate that engaging land users can provide a comprehensive overview of land degradation and restoration activities at local scales; that land users may not share the same priorities, in terms of where, when and how to address degradation, as one another, or with other actors involved in restoration initiatives, which implies a need for negotiation; and that the impacts of restoration activities are likely to be socially differentiated. This makes it important to understand how livelihoods interact with different restoration interventions and to take measures to ensure that striving for LDN does not disadvantage the most vulnerable people. Based on these findings, we propose three guiding strategies for implementing LDN at local scales: negotiate priorities and incentivize action; match options to context; and, co-produce knowledge and indicators.
... Rehabilitation and stewardship. A study conducted by Willemen et al. (2017) in Zambia, South Africa, and Tanzania combined participatory and spatial modelling approaches to prioritise ecosystem services and areas important for investment for the continuous delivery of these services. Results showed that for each country the spatial extent and magnitude of ecosystem services supply and land degradation coincides with stakeholder knowledge in some locations. ...
... In Russia, as a rule, the classification suggested in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is used [78]. According to the reviews of studies devoted to ecosystem services [63,95,101], this concept is usually applied for the assessment and mapping of natural resources [50,80] and for the analysis of alternative land use scenarios [79,106]. Among the most well-known cases of the use of this concept in the international environmental, eco- Table 3. Soil functions in Russian classification as related to foreign classification schemes 1 Numbers of functions were taken from Table 2. Blum [43] BBodSchG [42] Andrews et al. [38] Corresponding functions from the Russian Classification 1 nomic, and political practices is the litigation for compensation of damage from an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico [48]. ...
Article
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A review of Russian and foreign approaches to analyze and assess the ecological and socioeconomic role of urban and technogenic soils is made in the context of the two popular concepts: the ecological functions of soils and ecosystem services. The modern definitions, classification, and evaluation of ecosystem services and their relationships with soil functions are considered both in general and in relation to urban and technogenic soils. Despite some methodological differences, the work shows that the concepts are closely related, and their joint use is highly promising. Three practical examples for the cities of Moscow, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong show a consistent transition from the analysis of soil properties and functions to the assessment of ecosystem services and decision making in engineering, urban improvement, and sustainable urban development.
... To determine the spatial concentration of ES supply we performed a hotspot analysis. In ES research, applications and techniques to evaluate hotspots vary widely, from summing ES maps to obtain "perceived supply" (Willemen et al., 2017) to the optimization of single biophysical maps of ES (hotspot areas of one specific ES), which is the approach followed here. We used ArcGis 10.3 optimized hotspot analysis tool, which creates a map of statistically significant hotspots and coldspots using the Getis-Ord Gi* statistic. ...
Article
A main challenge in sustainability sciences is to incorporate distributional aspects into ecosystem management and conservation. We explored and contrasted land ownership, forest cover and ecosystem services supply (ES) distribution in two municipalities of southern Chile (Panguipulli and Ancud), comprising 5,584 private properties. We relied on farm typologies data and ES indicators for forage, water regulation, and recreation opportunities. We calculated Lorenz curves and Gini coefficients to establish concentration ratios, and performed a hotspot analysis to determine ES supply distribution across properties. In both municipalities land ownership was highly concentrated: large properties (>1,000–30,000 ha) represented less than 1% of total and comprised 74.5% and 20.7% of farm area, in Panguipulli and Ancud respectively. Forest cover distribution followed the same pattern (80.5% and 58.2%, respectively). As a result, water regulation and recreation opportunities concentrated in medium and large properties, whereas forage concentrated in small and medium ones. Gini coefficients ranged from relatively equal to relatively unequal for land ownership, forests cover and ES in both study areas. These inequalities reflect a historical land ownership concentration in private lands since colonial times, a structural condition that challenges both nature conservation and development and, therefore, it should be brought to the forefront of policy design in developing countries.
... The target setting phase of the UNCCD LDN agenda requires the mapping of LD to identify and prioritize areas for prevention, reduction and restoration. This needs to include the perspectives and priorities of all stakeholders, because it will fall on their shoulders to plan and implement the SLM interventions (Safriel, 2017;Willemen et al., 2017). ...
Article
WOCAT – The World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies with its unique methodology and global Sustainable Land Management (SLM) database - can help promote scaling out of SLM and thus contribute to land degradation neutrality. This paper focuses primarily on three Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) indicators: (i) land cover, (ii) land productivity and (iii) carbon stocks. It is demonstrated what can be achieved by analyzing SLM practices in the database and how these shed light on the LDN indicators. Different stages of interventions - from prevention (avoiding), to reduction (reducing), and restoration (reversing) of Land Degradation (LD) - are differentiated and analyzed. This highlights the fact that most efforts and achievements recorded by WOCAT focus on reducing and preventing LD: that stands in contrast to the current emphasis by many policy makers on the much more costly task of restoration. The use of the WOCAT-LADA (Land Degradation Assessment) mapping approach is illustrated, with a case study from Madagascar. Understanding and integrating mosaic pieces at the local level can help in comprehending impacts at the national and global levels as observed by remotely sensed imagery. Supporting land users with financial resources, an enabling legal framework and, in particular with knowledge and information about SLM practices is a logical and promising way forward to promoting adoption of SLM and, eventually, reaching LDN. With respect to creating an enabling environment for scaling out SLM and supporting land users, the analysis reveals that knowledge is the second greatest constraint after financial resources. This implies that further investment must be made in capacity building and sharing knowledge on impacts of SLM, costs-benefits and the spatial spread of SLM. Furthermore, this knowledge should be linked to a clear SLM mainstreaming and scaling out strategy, which will support countries to reach their LDN targets. A decision support framework was developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WOCAT which guides countries in LD and SLM assessments, and the use of the results for formulating and informing SLM mainstreaming and scaling out.
... Given the risk that projects offering high social or environmental benefits but low profitability may be overlooked by the LDN fund, various researchers have explored methodologies for valuing ecosystem services related to LDN and targeting investment most cost-effectively (e.g. Dallimer and Stringer, 2018;Schild et al., 2018;Willemen et al., 2018). There is potential to further inform this work by drawing on experiences with other environmental MBIs used to promote carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation and other ecosystem services. ...
Article
Since the concept of the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) emerged in global policy discourse, a key point of contention has been the development of market-based instruments to promote the LDN agenda. Much of this discussion has focused on the use of LDN-specific offset mechanisms and private-public partnerships. However, there is also an opportunity to capitalise on the synergies that exist between LDN objectives and those of existing market-based instruments that have previously been developed for carbon, biodiversity, bioenergy and in other contexts. LDN objectives could be integrated into such schemes through targeted eligibility rules and certification schemes, supporting methodologies, adaptations to multifunctional indices used in auction-based approaches and the restructuring of mandates, tax breaks and feed-in tariffs for bioenergy and other products.
... The LDN-TSTG (UNCCD, 2016) fosters stakeholder engagement at all stages of the LDN target setting process (see Table 2 SI (Supplementary information)). Broad stakeholder participation aids achievement of LDN by creating awareness of LDN initiatives and contributing to an enabling environment where stakeholders accept responsibility and adopt voluntary commitments to meet LDN (Kust et al., 2017;Willemen et al., 2017). Additionally, participatory methods can enhance the accuracy and reliability of top down methods to monitor land degradation through identification of false positive and negatives (Cowie et al., 2018;Stringer et al., 2007). ...
Article
This article reflects on how the official guidance for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) provided in the LDN Scientific Conceptual Framework and LDN Target Setting Guide has been followed by some countries engaged in LDN target setting and planning. The research and discussion are based on interviews and written responses from 29 interviewees from international organisations, national LDN working groups, and civil society organisations involved in different phases of LDN initiatives. It finds that LDN target setting has proceeded in many countries using the default data provided by the UNCCD due to limited national datasets. Consultation of government ministries has generally been strong, but the involvement of the private sector and civil society in LDN working groups needs to be strengthened. The response hierarchy has been integrated as a principle in some national land use planning systems, and activities fostering synergistic outcomes for other social and environmental goals are beginning to be harnessed to achieve LDN.
... With ecosystem service maps becoming an increasingly popular input to decision making, the reporting, quantifying and visualizing of uncertainty of ecosystem service maps needs to documented. Comparing modelled results with the outcomes of other models, or comparing to other knowledge sources (Willemen et al., 2017) helps to define hotspots of model agreement (i.e. areas of certainty). ...
Article
FREE ACCESS TILL AUGUST 24 2019: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1ZLd27szSIup0a Agriculture sustainability standards and certification are increasingly used by the private sector and civil society to incentivize and support environmental conservation and improved rural. However, evidence of impact is limited by methodological challenges that hamper the quantification of certification-induced changes, especially beyond farm level. This paper aims to explore the changes to soil and nutrient regulation ecosystem services from the adoption of Rainforest Alliance tea certification in the Kenyan Upper Tana River watershed. In this study we: i) apply ecosystem service models to simulate the effect of farm-level practices for before and after-certification scenarios, and; ii) evaluate the model applications for their ability to guide future decision making. Our scenario results indicate that a widespread adoption of agricultural practices prescribed in the certification standard reduces sediment export into watercourses. However, an increase in fertilizer use by certified farmers is estimated to result in greater nitrogen and phosphorous loads. Our scenario analyses are highly sensitive to input data and model choice, but show similar relative impacts of tea certification. Opportunities to improve spatial impact measurements to support decision making can be found in the systematic accounting of land management practices by certification organizations and increased remote sensing image accessibility.
... The "Scientific conceptual framework for land degradation neutrality" (Cowie et al. 2018; also Orr et al., 2017;Kust et al., 2017;UNCCD, 2016a;2014;2013a) has built upon the concept and established the scientific basis for LDN. Additional researchers have examined its implementation (Chasek et al., 2015;Pacheco et al., 2018;Stavi and Lal, 2015;Grainger 2015;UNCCD, 2016b); and Akhtar-Schuster et al. (2017) have unpacked the LDN approach with regard to the Rio Conventions; while Willemen et al. (2017) and Sietz et al. (2017) have intersected LDN with ecosystem dynamics and services. In addition, Okpara et al. (2018) examine the environmental governance aspects of LDN; Quatrini and Crossman (2018) look at financial investments; Tal (2015) and Safriel (2017) compare LDN with other offsetting schemes; and Welton et al. (2014) examine the legal integrity of LDN. ...
Article
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Land degradation neutrality (LDN) as a broad framework guiding research, policy and practice has gained considerable attention in recent years – particularly since the United Nations Conven- tion to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) established LDN as its primary operating framework in 2015. As Target 15.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) intends to achieve LDN globally by 2030, significant research and policy work has been accomplished on a wide spec- trum of important components of LDN. Nevertheless, how land tenure intersects with LDN has not yet been examined. This article introduces tenure rights as sets of tools that can be used to robustly support LDN. The authors describe specifically how land tenure can be introduced into the existing LDN framework, implementation model, and monitoring approach so that they can contribute to land degradation prevention and recovery.
... Further, an increasing number of TWS change studies have shown that the lake water storage fluctuation is due to climate change, exposed land degradation, desertification, land-use changes, frequent floods, sediment deposit and drought, and displacement of the population (Awange, 2006;Kirui and Mirzabaev, 2014;Kirui et al., 2021;Marchant et al., 2007;Nicholson, 2017;Willemen et al., 2018) because TWS directly replies change in precipitation, modulates runoff generation and integrates soil moisture. However, the prevailing status and tendencies of TWS changes in evaluating risk reduction and resilience strategies in the region are still open scientific issues. ...
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Study region East Africa (EA), lake basins (Tana, Abaya-Chamo, Turkana, Victoria, and Tanganyika), 6472,404 km² of total area. Study focus Total water storage change (TWSC) exposes serious challenges in sustainable water resources management and ecosystem sustenance. While TWS changes have been increasingly studied based on Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) derived TWS dataset, spatio-temporal changes in TWS and the driving factors remain unexplored. Herein, Mann–Kendall test, Theil-Sen's slope estimator, empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs), component contribution ratio (CCR), and Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) models were employed. We found a slight spatial fluctuation of TWS, and groundwater could affect TWS variability in the EA region. New hydrological insights High annual TWSC was observed in the southwestern and northern regions, reaching values of 220 and − 100 mm/yr, respectively. Among lake basins, the maximum and minimum TWSC values attained 97.5 ± 28.2 mm/yr and 24.8 ± 7.7 mm/yr, in Victoria and Tana basins, respectively. The regional level groundwater contribution was about 42%, while 48%, 53%, and 46% were in Abaya-Chamo, Turkana, and Victoria basins, respectively. However, surface runoff contribution was 52% and 35% in Tana and Tanganyika basins, respectively. The seasonal TWS changes show substantial linkage with the lake basins' seasonal precipitation distribution. Our findings highlight the driving factors of TWS variability, which could help guiding water management policies, and promote satellite remote sensing datasets.
... In this regard, field studies in selected sites with browning trends will provide information on the types of land degradation occurring in the LVWC (e.g., water erosion, wind erosion, plough and mechanical erosion, chemical degradation, and biological degradation that are all induced or aggravated by human activities [60]). Further, combining the results of the current study that used spatially explicit information on key climate change and land degradation variables with participatory approaches involving key governmental and non-governmental stakeholders [61,62] would enable the articulation of a guiding vision for the landscape and thus identify and prioritize entry points for stakeholders to begin to work together [54], as well as help to clarify the facilitation processes that best foster effectiveness, efficiency, and equity in decision-making by actors within the catchment area [63]. ...
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At the sub-national level, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) proposes the analysis and contextualization of land degradation-neutrality (LDN) at a water catchment scale to provide decision support for the formulation of policies and programmes towards transformative LDN interventions. Building on a number of national LDN studies in Kenya, an approach for the implementation of LDN that is based on the spatial and temporal characterization of key land degradation and climate change variables was defined. For a selected water catchment area, the LDN baseline was computed, the drivers that affect land degradation and regeneration trends within the main land cover types were identified and described, the trends of key climate change variables were described, and appropriate sustainable land management interventions for the main land cover types were identified. A climate-smart landscape approach that delineated the catchment area into zones focused on adaptation, and both adaptation and mitigation objectives was then proposed. The operationalization of a climate-smart landscape will require significant investment to not only provide an understanding of the bio-physical processes and interactions occurring at the catchment level but also to develop the institutional and technical capacities of relevant actors. The landscape approach proposed for the catchment area has the potential to improve livelihoods and the productivity of ecosystems while concurrently facilitating synergies between land degradation, climate change, and other development objectives.
... Examples where such spatial representation would be useful include in the recently endorsed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Several mapping studies have been initiated to support these initiatives Crossman et al., 2013;Egoh et al., 2008;Maes et al., 2013;Willemen et al., 2017). According to Hauck et al. (2013a) maps are a powerful communication tool that can be used to improve the targeting of policy measures, by serving as support for legal documents, and in some cases may create agreements between stakeholders and authorities. ...
Article
Mapping ecosystem services (ES) has become an important tool to study nature's contributions to people (NCP) spatially and to manage ecosystems sustainably. However, few of these studies have been carried out in Africa and even fewer in drylands. This is not surprising, as drylands in general have not received much attention in the field of ecosystem services due to the perception that they do not provide much due to their low levels of productivity. In addition, not much data is available to map ecosystem services in Africa. In this study, we map regulating services of the Marrakesh Safi region in Morocco. First, a land cover map was developed based on existing information. This land cover map was thereafter used to map and model three regulating service categories in the region namely, carbon sequestration, microclimate regulation, and hydrological services (water regulation and water quantity) using six indicators. Our results show that agricultural land, which occupies the largest percentage area, also sequestered the most carbon in the study area. Forests sequestered about 16% carbon despite occurring in only 14% of the area and are the most efficient in sequestering carbon when considering carbon sequestered per hectare per year. The ecosystem type with the highest potential to supply water regulation services was Quercus ilex with about 200 m³/ha. The study shows that the hotspots areas are located in the southeast parts of the study area where the Quercus ilex is mostly found. Contrary to the belief that most arid systems are not productive and therefore do not provide many ecosystem services, our spatial outputs showed that the area around Marrakesh in Morocco, despite being arid provides many regulating services including water and microclimate regulation.
... Mining's immediate, relatively local environmental impacts may be overshadowed by the potentially far-reaching effects of mining infrastructure and socioeconomic change (Edwards et al., 2014). These changes are becoming more reliably detected with the use of satellite RS platforms (Wood and Dragicevic, 2007;Ahmad et al., 2018;Willemen et al., 2018;Lembani et al., 2019;Vaissi and Sharifi, 2019;Bakirman and Gumusay, 2020), and there is a growing emphasis on developing tools to detect change in near-real time (Jantz et al., 2016). The resulting land-cover change products are now widely utilised in the environmental and conservation sectors as the foundation for species and ecosystem risk assessments (Li et al., 2016), land-use and strategic planning. ...
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This study adapted a socio-ecological framework to review Drivers of mining Activities, the environmental Pressures, the State of changes, their Impacts on human Welfare, and the management Response as Measures (DAPSI(W)R(M)) to mining activities. Systematic literature review was employed in data collection. The mining activities lead to environmental pressures, such as forest degradation, and wastewater. State changes of the environment as a result of pressures generated by mining activities were changes in land cover and habitat degradation leading to biodiversity loss, air, water and soil pollution. As a result of the state changes in the environment, the livelihood strategies of communities have been affected. Sub-Saharan African countries have implemented legal and policy framework as measures to overcome adverse effects of mining on the social sys- tems. However, there is still a need for effective formulation and implementation of policies, legislation, plans, and strategies for the sustainable mining and rural development. These will be far-reaching in addressing application and mal-practices in mining sector such as corruption, limited meaningful participation of host communities, non-adherence to social and environmental standards, adverse incentives in inadequate local policies and accountability systems, transfer pricing, tax evasion and under-valuation of assets.
... Local knowledge is also often included in ES assessments with a participatory approach (e.g. [12][13][14]). Local communities collecting and consuming wild plants have a century-old traditional ecological knowledge on these services and the ecosystems providing them [15,16]. ...
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Background: Wild edible plants as well as medicinal herbs are still widely used natural resources in Eastern Europe that are frequently accessed by the local population. Ethnobotanical studies rarely give insight to the specific ecosystems in which wild food and medicinal plants grow in a spatially explicit way. The present work assesses the potential of different ecosystems to provide wild plants for food and medicinal use based on 37 selected plant species, gives an estimate on the actual use of wild plants, and allows insights into the motivation of local people to collect wild plants. Methods: A number of interdisciplinary methods were used: participatory stakeholder workshops with experts scoring the provisioning capacity of ecosystem types, GIS for representing results (capacity maps), basic data statistics for actual use assessment, and interviews for analysing motivations. Results: Capacity to provide wild edible plants was assessed highest in broad-leaved forests and wetlands, while for medicinal herbs, orchards were rated best. We could find a multitude of motivations for gathering that could be grouped along four main lines corresponding to major dimensions of well-being (health, habit/tradition, nutrition/income, pleasure/emotional), with health reasons dominating very clearly the range (59% of answers), which can be interpreted as a combination of modern "green" values with a traditional lifestyle. We detected some distinct patterns of motivations between the different social groups analysed with more fundamental needs associated with lower level socio-ecological background. Conclusion: This case study provides an example on the importance of wild plants for locals from several points of view. We emphasize the relevance of these local stakeholder views to be included in decision-making and ecosystem management, which can be achieved by the presented workflow for mapping and assessment of ecosystem services which is also compatible with EU-suggested Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES).
... SEEA Central Framework accounts have been developed in Botswana, Madagascar, Uganda, Zambia and are underway elsewhere in Africa (World Bank, 2018). Finally, ecosystem service models have increasingly developed for a wide range of locations across Africa (Leh et al., 2013;Turpie et al., 2008;Willcock et al., 2014;Willemen et al., 2018;Recuero Virto et al., 2018). ...
Article
We develop and link the Integrated Economic-Environmental Modeling (IEEM) Platform to ecosystem services modeling (ESM). The IEEM+ESM Platform is an innovative decision-making framework for exploring complex public policy goals and elucidating synergies and trade-offs between alternative policy portfolios. The IEEM+ESM approach is powerful in its ability to shed light on (i) change in land use and ecosystem services driven by public policy and the supply and demand responses of businesses and households; and (ii) impacts on standard economic indicators of concern to Ministries of Finance such as gross domestic product and employment, as well as changes in wealth and ecosystem services. The IEEM+ESM approach is being adopted rapidly and by the end of 2020, IEEM+ESM Platforms will be implemented for about 25 countries. To demonstrate the insights generated by the IEEM+ESM approach, we apply it to the analysis of alternative green growth strategies in Rwanda, a country that has made strong progress in reducing poverty and enhancing economic growth in the last 15 years. The case of Rwanda is particularly compelling as it faces intense pressure on its natural capital base and ecosystem services, already with the highest population density in Africa, which is projected to double by 2050. In applying IEEM+ESM and comparing the outcomes of Rwanda's green growth policies, increasing fertilization of agricultural crops shows the largest economic gains but also trade-offs in environmental quality reflected through higher nutrient export and reduced water quality. Combining crop fertilization with forest plantations better balances critical ecosystem services and their role in underpinning economic development as Rwanda progresses toward its target of middle-income status by 2035. This application to Rwanda's green growth strategy demonstrates the value-added of the IEEM+ESM approach in generating results that speak to both economic outcomes and impacts on market and non-market ecosystem services.
... This framework increased the economic return on investment but missed the LDN market risk assessment. Willemen et al. (2018) identified ecosystem service hotspots for targeting LDN investments in southeastern Africa by adopting participatory and spatial modeling approaches without considering the challenges of the local financial market. Dallimer and Stringer (2018) developed an informed investment decision framework based on the triage principle. ...
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Limited investments in land degradation neutrality (LDN) are causing environmental degradation and are the main barriers to socioeconomic development worldwide. Therefore, it is crucial to meet the target 15.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve soil neutrality by 2030 at the national level. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study is to find critical enablers, challenges, and benefits of LDN and develop a new administrative management framework for mobilizing private investments according to local financial market conditions. To achieve this research objective, the authors selected 14 degraded districts in four provinces of Pakistan. The data for this study were collected from 63 institutions that were directly or indirectly involved in land degradation risk prevention and management. The research evaluation process comprises a mixed-method approach to infer institutional survey data analysis. The interpretation of the results was based on two important dimensions, including 12 survey statements. From the perspective of LDN management (LDNM) enablers, the government's long-term vision and strong commitment were validated as top-ranked measures among the six enablers for the implementation of LDN. The development of horizontal and vertical coordination mechanisms for the LDN is the second-most critical enabler. While developing public-private partnership (PPP) policies, procedures and services are perceived as the third most potent enabler. In terms of LDNM challenges and benefits, raising awareness of the LDN concept, capacity development, and LDN market risk assessment are identified as the main challenges. However, developing a green economy, securing social needs, and ensuring ecological sustainability are vital benefits. This study makes theoretical and practical contributions to the field of LDNM. Theoretically, this study contributes to the LDNM framework based on complexity theory by integrating transaction cost logic to execute win-win PPP agreements. Practically, to meet different market conditions, this study suggests three PPP models: special credit lines, risk-sharing facilities, and land protection performance contracts. These inputs will provide insight into what the government needs to develop for land use policy, promote LDN investments, and forge new partnerships between local financial institutions and landscape stakeholders.
... Because water erosion is a growing threat that affects the livelihoods of humans in Africa and is a threat to any future agriculture, the spatiotemporal change in the soil retention service of water erosion requires detailed tracking [5,6]. Accordingly, providing scientific guidance for the maintenance and management of the soil retention services of water erosion and, subsequently, enhancing this ecosystem service require a credible spatiotemporal assessment [7,8], which can help locate areas where water erosion is drastic and where the soil retention services need to be enhanced [9]. ...
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Water erosion has negative effects on agricultural productivity in Africa. The cover management factor (C factor) related to vegetation is the most influential parameter in the estimation of water erosion and reflects key interrelated cover and management information on the soil retention service of water erosion. However, the estimations of C factor on a large-scale display large differences. The Nile River Basin has suffered severe water erosion for several decades, while the soil retention service of water erosion from vegetation is still unclear. This study assesses the spatiotemporal change in soil retention service in the Nile River Basin from 1982 to 2013, based on the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model. The comparison of six kinds of estimation methods showed that four methods could be used, whereas the other two were inappropriate. The average annual soil retention service based on the C factor variance ranged from 934.08–1240.56 (t ha−1 y−1), and spatially increased from south to north. The area of significant increasing and decreasing tendencies were 1.31 × 104–1.94 × 105 km2 and 5.68 × 103–3.81 × 104 km2, respectively. These results provide a reference for the selection of C factor methods and spatiotemporal evidence of the soil retention service of water erosion in the Nile River Basin.
... Some studies [65][66][67] have used the life cycle assessment (LCA) method to evaluate the relationship between LUCC and ecosystem services, and the core of this method is the calculation of characteristic factors. Many studies [68,69] have used remote sensing data and GIS-based models to test the effect of LUCC on ecosystem services to solve the social system-ecosystem interaction problem. Landsat data and the InVEST model were employed to explore the influence of LUCC on the ecosystem services of the Koshi River Basin from 1996 to 2016 [70]. ...
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Global change, population growth, and urbanization have been exerting a severe influence on the environment, including the social system and ecosystem. To find solutions based on nature, clarifying the complicated mechanisms and feedback among land use/land cover changes, ecosystem services, and human well-being, is increasingly crucial. However, the in-depth linkages among these three elements have not been clearly and systematically illustrated, present research paths have not been summarized well, and the future research trends on this topic have not been reasonably discussed. In this sense, the purpose of this paper is to provide an insight into how land use/land cover changes, ecosystem services, and human well-being are linked, as well as their relationships, interacting ways, applications in solving ecological and socioeconomic problems, and to reveal their future research trends. Here, we use a systematic literature review of the peer-reviewed literature to conclude the state of the art and the progress, emphasize the hotspot, and reveal the future trend of the nexus among the three aspects. Results show that (1) ecosystem services are generally altered by the changes in land use type, spatial pattern, and intensity; (2) the nexus among land use change, ecosystem services, and human well-being is usually used for supporting poverty alleviation, ecosystem health, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development; (3) future research on land use/land cover changes, ecosystem services, and human well-being should mainly focus on strengthening multiscale correlation, driving force analysis, the correlation among different group characteristics, land use types and ecosystem service preferences, and the impact of climate change on ecosystem services and human well-being. This study provides an enhanced understanding of the nexus among the three aspects and a reference for future studies to mitigate the relevant problems.
... After the quantification of the four ES, we produced an aggregate result to represent the services under consideration. We applied a scoring system, likewise previously developed ones (Qiu and Turner 2013;Schulp et al. 2014;Willemen et al. 2018). We ranked each service on a scale of one to five (or bad to excellent) at the cell level. ...
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Maintaining and, where possible, improving the ecological status of our water resources are of particular importance for the future. So, one of the main drivers of landscape design must be to protect our waters. In this study, we carried out an evaluation of four hydrologic ecosystem services (HES) in the Zala River catchment area, the largest tributary of Lake Balaton (more than half of the lake's surface inflow comes from the Zala River), Hungary. The lake has great ecological, economic and social importance to the country. We used the cell-based InVEST model to quantify the spatial distribution of flood control, erosion control and nutrient retention ecosystem services for phosphorus and nitrogen; then, we carried out an aggregated evaluation. Thereby, we localized the hot spots of service delivery and tested the effect of focused land use changes in critical areas of low performance on the examined four HES. Forests proved to have the best aggregated result, while croplands near the stream network performed poorly. The modelled change in land use resulted in significant improvement on nutrient filtration and moderate to minimal but improving change for the other HES in most cases. The applied method is suitable as a supporting tool at the watershed level for decision-makers and landscape designers with the aim of protecting water bodies. Online link: https://rdcu.be/b5XnY
... A participatory approach involving affected stakeholders in the design and spatial targeting of implementation activities could lead to better investment decisions, given that bottom-up perspectives can facilitate the appreciation of synergies, overlaps and trade-offs. Willemen et al., (2017) provide an example of participatory approach for identifying where to target investments in land degradation hotspots, and achieve multiple benefits for local stakeholders. ...
Article
Quantifying the demand for multiple ecosystem services is difficult because it is subjective and heterogeneous. Using land degradation as a case study, this paper explores land restoration finance as a proxy for global ecosystem service demand. Land degradation has been high on the UN agenda since the 1992 Rio Summit, together with climate change and biodiversity. The supply of many ecosystem services is declining due to land degradation and desertification, particularly in drylands. The inclusion of a Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target in the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reaffirmed the commitment by the international community to tackle this global environmental challenge. If this vision adequately reflects society’s values, as expressed through demand for ecosystem services, we should see land restoration finance targeting areas where potential ecosystem service supply could be enhanced the most. To test this hypothesis, we used spatial analysis of key ecosystem services, as well as comparative analysis of synergistic values and other indicators of financial resources committed between 2008 and 2013 to address land degradation. These activities can generate multiple benefits for many ecosystem functions and services. Official activity-level environmental ratings – called Rio Markers – were used to identify those activities that were intended to produce multiple ecosystem services benefits in terms of land restoration, biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation. Our analysis concludes that many land restoration activities are synergistic and reveals other important aspects: (i) developing countries report, on average, higher synergistic values than developed countries and development finance organizations; (ii) donor countries report more conservatively than recipient countries; (iii) multi-purpose synergistic projects attract more funders than single-purpose ones. In some cases countries with high ecosystem service supply receive higher investment, but this finding is not strong, indicating that investment could be more strategically targeted. These findings suggest, in particular, that the synergistic features of multi-purpose land restoration activities could be harnessed to enhance investment effectiveness and impact. This, in turn, would make LDN finance more prominent in development aid portfolios and in public/private sustainable investment strategies.
... Pacheco et al. (2018) found 3-6% losses in the global agricultural gross domestic product (US $ 490 billion/year) resulting from land degradation. For national efforts to prevent and defeat land degradation and aid the land rehabilitation processes, identification of the primary drivers of land degradation such as climatic variations and anthropogenic disturbances (UNCCD, 1994) is essential (Reeves and Baggett, 2014;Willemen et al., 2018;Sun et al., 2019); however, it is a challenging task for the research community. ...
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Land degradation is one of the critical ecological issue in the Aral Sea Basin (ASB). This study investigates land degradation in ASB during 1982-2015 using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a proxy. The residual trend (RESTREND) for temperature, precipitation, soil moisture adjusted NDVI has been applied to identify the land degradation in ASB and quantify the contribution of climate factors such as temperature and rainfall. In addition, a binary logistic regression model is adopted to assess the contributions of land transition, socioeconomic , and topographical conditions on land degradation. Based on RESTREND, the relative contribution of precipitation (30.2%), soil moisture (23%), and temperature (11.4%) indicates that precipitation is one of the main driving factors of land degradation. The results further revealed that 36.5% of ASB is degraded, which is mostly concentrated in the lower part of the ASB. In contrast, 33.2% of ASB depicts land improvement, especially in the upper part of the basin. According to the land transition assessment, 66.6% of the water area and 11.68% of forest converted to barren land and shrubland during the study period, respectively. The binary logistic regression model demonstrated water and forest area transitions into shrubland and barren land as the major contributors of contemporary land degradation in ASB. Cropland recorded a net increment by 2.69% of its initial area, and the abandoned cropland converted to shrubland and barren lands that negatively impacted land cover change. This in-depth analysis of land degradation can assist in designing pragmatic policy interventions for implementing land restoration plans in the area.
... There are many studies on the responses of South African ecosystems to contemporary and future predicted climate change (e.g., [67][68][69][70][71]), but there is less understanding of how these responses affect the provision of different ecosystem services [72,73]. Likewise, many studies have examined ecosystem responses to land degradation (and its converse, restoration) in South Africa (e.g., [51,[74][75][76]). In addition, any possible changes in species composition or the success of individual species within these mapped ecosystems, such as by the spread of invasive species, are also not well known (e.g., [77,78]). ...
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Although changes in ecosystems in response to climate and land-use change are known to have implications for the provision of different environmental and ecosystem services, quantifying the economic value of some of these services can be problematic and has not been widely attempted. Here, we used a simplified raster remote sensing model based on MODIS data across South Africa for five different time slices for the period 2001–2019. The aims of the study were to quantify the economic changes in ecosystem services due to land degradation and land-cover changes based on areal values (in USD ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹ ) for ecosystem services reported in the literature. Results show progressive and systematic changes in land-cover classes across different regions of South Africa for the time period of analysis, which are attributed to climate change. Total ecosystem service values for South Africa change somewhat over time as a result of land-use change, but for 2019 this calculated value is USD 437 billion, which is ~125% of GDP. This is the first estimation of ecosystem service value made for South Africa at the national scale. In detail, changes in land cover over time within each of the nine constituent provinces in South Africa mean that ecosystem service values also change regionally. There is a clear disparity between the provinces with the greatest ecosystem service values when compared to their populations and contribution to GDP. This highlights the potential for untapped ecosystem services to be exploited as a tool for regional sustainable development.
... The development of approaches for mapping and quantifying ES in semi-arid systems, such as African woodlands, is still in its infancy compared to the more frequently analysed tropical and temperate areas (Egoh et al., 2012;Wangai et al., 2016;Willemen et al., 2018). Most of the studies on mapping ES have assessed the provision of regulating services such as carbon storage (Batjes, 2008;Egoh et al., 2011;Leh et al., 2013), water flow regulation (Egoh et al., 2008), soil accumulation and retention (Egoh et al., 2011;Leh et al., 2013). ...
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Community based management (CBM) is widely advocated as an effective method for governing and managing ecosystem services (ES). However, the distributional rules and maximum harvesting levels are likely to affect both the effectiveness of CBMs in maintaining ES and the fairness and equity of access to these ES. This article proposes a methodological approach for investigating normative trade-offs involved in CBM of forests, where forest conservation objectives need to be traded off against livelihoods objectives. The study uses remote sensing methods to quantify forest ES supply in Namizimu Forest Reserve in Malawi, and links this to demand for ES within the villages near the reserve. It then investigates how a plausible set of CBM rules can be developed to cap consumption of forest products to sustainable amount and quantifies, by using monetary valuation techniques, how these set of rules may affect the total well-being of local population. Our results demonstrate that, due to the spatial mismatches between demand and supply, the distribution of provisioning ES to the population across the harvesting area is unequal in biophysical terms. The current available stock of forest products is sufficient to cover the current demand, however, it is higher than the mean annual increment indicating that this level of consumption is ecologically unsustainable and will lead to forest degradation as shown under the business-as-usual scenario. We then examined the impact of governance and how CBM rules to allocate forest ES to different social groups (poor and rich) under a co-management regime will affect total societal welfare. We found that the distributional scenario that maximises total societal welfare expressed in monetary terms across the whole harvesting area is the scenario that distributes 40% of biomass to the rich group while the remaining 60% is allocated to the poor group. However, this scenario maximises Willingness to Pay (WTP) at total level but does not maximise WTP in each sub-area of forest but just for those that have a high availability for biomass. This indicates that the distributional rules that maximise total welfare at aggregate level may not maximise welfare at local level where constraints from biomass availability require to restrict further the distribution of forest products. When biomass availability is low, total societal welfare is maximised with distributional rules that distribute more trees to richer. Yet, a policymaker may choose a distributional rule that distribute more trees to the poor on normative grounds and forego the objective of maximising total welfare. In such cases the WTP analysis outlined in this paper can support the policymaker in choosing the distributional rule that minimise trade-offs between efficiency, i.e., maximising total welfare, and livelihoods objectives.
... Ecosystem services modelling is an important tool to identify priority areas for intervention (Duarte et al., 2016;Willemen et al., 2017) that can improve soil's functional state (Lal, 2015). Several tools and approaches have been developed to assess and map ESS, as indicated by a number of reviews (e.g. ...
Article
Land degradation is a serious issue especially in dry and developing countries leading to ecosystem services (ESS) degradation due to soil functions' depletion. Reliably mapping land degradation spatial distribution is therefore important for policy decisions. The main objectives of this paper were to infer land degradation through ESS assessment and compare the modelling results obtained using different sets of data. We modelled important physical processes (sediment erosion and nutrient export) and the equivalent ecosystem services (sediment and nutrient retention) to infer land degradation in an area in the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley. To model soil erosion/retention capability, and nitrogen export/retention capability, two datasets were used: a 'global' dataset derived from existing global-coverage data and a hybrid dataset where global data were integrated with data from local surveys. The results showed that ESS assessments can be used to infer land degradation and identify priority areas for interventions. The comparison between the modelling results of the two different input datasets showed that caution is necessary if only global-coverage data are used at a local scale. In remote and data-poor areas, an approach that integrates global data with targeted local sampling campaigns might be a good compromise to use ecosystem services in decision-making.
... For instance, in the South African and Chinese WaterSES sites, scientific agendas are emerging that are strongly guided by water societal demands [60,61]. Similarly, in the Spanish semi-arid watersheds (Almeria, Spain) there is a strong body of recent work on the social-ecological issues surrounding water scarcity and the loss of ecosystem services [62][63][64], much of which has potential applicability to WaterSES sites in the USA, including insights as to the consequences of a future, drier climate. ...
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Globally, environmental and social change in water-scarce regions challenge the sustainability of social-ecological systems. WaterSES, a sponsored working group within the Program for Ecosystem Change and Society, explores and compares the social-ecological dynamics related to water scarcity across placed-based international research sites with contrasting local and regional water needs and governance, including research sites in Spain and Sweden in Europe, South Africa, China, and Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas in the USA. This paper aims to provide a commentary on insights into conducting future solutions-oriented research on water scarcity based on the understanding of the social-ecological dynamics of water scarce regions.
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A better understanding of Ecosystem Services (ES) contributes to sustainable use while conserving the ecosystems mainly in resource-rich developing regions. This paper explores multilevel stakeholder perceptions on the most important ES provided by Aberdare Forest Ecosystem (AFE). The importance rank matrix model was employed to establish the ES preferences of 15 selected key organisations involved in AFE co-management. A two-way ANOVA inferential analysis was used to compare the differences in ES type importance. The results revealed statistically significant differences between provisioning, regulating and cultural ES. Regulating ES were identified as the most important compared to provisioning and cultural ES; a gradual stakeholder preference shift from forest tangible goods. Water, wildlife habitat, flood regulation, carbon intake and climate regulation were identified as the most important ES by all the stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to understand the gradual changes in ES preferences by various stakeholders involved in the co-management of natural resources. This knowledge could be important to the decision-makers in sustainable co-management planning for natural resources and to enhance sustainable utiliation of ES.
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Herbal teas composed of locally occurring plant species have long been used as the primary form of health care in Qingtian County, Zhejiang Province, China. However, large-scale emigration overseas and an aging population threaten the conservation of traditional knowledge of these herbal teas. Traditional knowledge about the plants used for these herbal teas is not well documented in Qingtian, despite their widespread use. The aim of this study was to assess the plant-cultural diversity of plants used as herbal teas, and to point out the prospective value of herbal teas used by Qingtian people. This study was conducted using semi-structured interviews, as well as field and market surveys. Forty-three local informants were interviewed. We recorded plant resources, plant parts used, local names, and medicinal uses. Quantitative ethnobotanical indices, including cognitive salience (CS), frequency of citation (FC), index of informant consensus (Fic) and use value (UV), were calculated to analyze the level of representativeness and relative importance of plants used in herbal teas. One hundred and twenty-nine species belonging to 75 families and 113 genera were reported to be used in herbal tea, with Compositae being the richest family. Whole plants are most commonly used to make herbal teas (66.7%). In this study, informants reported that 92.2% of plant species used in herbal teas are wild. The most utilized herbal preparation form is dry/fresh. Informants reported that herbal teas are used to treat 31 ailments. Our results show that the highest representativeness, based on CS and FC, was recorded for species Actinidia eriantha Benth. Based on UV, the top five most used species are Goodyera schlechtendaliana Rchb. f., Plantago asiatica L., Prunella vulgaris L., Lophatherum gracile Brongn and Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn. The highest Fic was cited for dental medicine. This study helps document the status of current herbal teas in Qingtian. The use value and traditional knowledge of herbal teas have provided basic data for further research focused on bioactivity studies and sustainable utilization of the most important species.
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Identifying degraded lands and degradation trends is essential to determine measures that contribute to avoiding, reducing, and reversing the rate of deterioration of natural resources. In this study, we assessed the state and trend of degradation in Ixtacamaxtitlan, Puebla, Mexico, by determining the spatial and temporal changes of three indicators, Land Cover (LC), Land Productivity Dynamics (LPD), and Soil Organic Carbon (SOC), during the period 2000–2015, using global data proposed by the Convention to Combat Desertification for the implementation of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). The results showed increases in croplands (6.89%) and a reduction in grasslands (9.09%), with this being the transition that presents the most significant extension in the territory. The LPD is the indicator where the most deterioration was observed, and due to negative changes in LC, SOC losses were estimated at more than 7000 tons in the study period. The proportion of degraded land was 19% of approximately 567.68 km2 of Ixtacamaxtitlan’s surface. Although the municipality presents incipient degradation and only a tiny part showed improvement, identifying areas with degradation processes in this work will favor degradation monitoring and the adequate planning and application of restoration measures in the local context to promote the path towards LDN.
Thesis
br/>Forest resources have an important role in supporting the livelihood strategies of rural communities in Malawi, especially for the poorest village members, and can have an important equalising effect. The management system of forest ecosystems determines how those resources are distributed to local users and therefore influences total societal welfare. The current management policies in Malawi are evolving toward a community-based management scheme, i.e. co-management policies, where local communities become responsible for all the harvesting activities. The committee-based configuration adopted in Malawi establishes new local institutions responsible for the management and the distribution of forest resources. The aim of this PhD is to assess how the implementation of CBM influences the welfare of the local forest users both by determining the level of personal consumption and the fairness of the overall distribution using rational choice theory and economic valuation methods. The relative importance of the fairness of the overall distribution depends also on the procedures used to allocate decision-making power over forest resources. Therefore, this PhD evaluates also whether individual’s distributive behaviour is influenced by procedures, and its fairness. Finally, because the socio-ecological system is embedded in a broader ecological system this PhD performs an integrated assessment of the welfare impact of CBM policies on beneficiaries by quantifying the aggregate availability of forest resources given the ecological status of the forest and the total societal welfare according to how those resources are distributed to local users. This thesis demonstrates that the individual rational choices on how to distribute forest resources are determined both by self-interested preferences and societal values and that individuals are willing to forego some personal benefits to achieve a fairer outcome that benefit all community members. Indicating that individual’s welfare is influenced both by the total amount of forest products that can be consumed at personal level but also by the magnitude of resources distributed to others. However, the relevance of fairness concerns for the individual when choosing how to distribute resources between village members depends on the fairness of procedures employed in defining the decision-making roles. Finally, the thesis shows that the current consumption patterns are not ecologically sustainable and that without intervention many sub-areas of the forest reserve would be completely degraded in 15 years. Introducing co- management policies to limit consumption within sustainable levels would overall benefit the population as indicated by the welfare effects gain. We also show that different distributional rules are found to influence greatly the total welfare gains and how our welfare analysis approach can be used as a useful tool to inform decision-making when fairness and distributional rules are deemed as relevant for societal welfare.
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The health and productivity of global land resources are declining, while demand for those resources is increasing. The aim of land degradation neutrality (LDN) is to maintain or enhance land-based natural capital and its associated ecosystem services. The Scientific Conceptual Framework for Land Degradation Neutrality has been developed to provide a scientific approach to planning, implementing and monitoring LDN. The Science-Policy Interface of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) led the development of the conceptual framework, drawing in expertise from a diverse range of disciplines. The LDN conceptual framework focuses on the supporting processes required to deliver LDN, including biophysical and socio-economic aspects, and their interactions. Neutrality implies no net loss of the land-based natural capital relative to a reference state, or baseline. Planning for neutrality involves projecting the likely cumulative impacts of land use and land management decisions, then counterbalancing anticipated losses with measures to achieve equivalent gains. Counterbalancing should occur only within individual land types, distinguished by land potential, to ensure “like for like” exchanges. Actions to achieve LDN include sustainable land management (SLM) practices that avoid or reduce degradation, coupled with efforts to reverse degradation through restoration or rehabilitation of degraded land. The response hierarchy of Avoid > Reduce > Reverse land degradation articulates the priorities in planning LDN interventions. The implementation of LDN is managed at the landscape level through integrated land use planning, while achievement is assessed at national level. Monitoring LDN status involves quantifying the balance between the area of gains (significant positive changes in LDN indicators) and area of losses (significant negative changes in LDN indicators), within each land type across the landscape. The LDN indicators (and associated metrics) are land cover (physical land cover class), land productivity (net primary productivity, NPP) and carbon stocks (soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks). The LDN conceptual framework comprises five modules: A: Vision of LDN describes the intended outcome of LDN; B: Frame of Reference clarifies the LDN baseline; C: Mechanism for Neutrality explains the counterbalancing mechanism; D: Achieving Neutrality presents the theory of change (logic model) articulating the impact pathway; and E: Monitoring Neutrality presents the LDN indicators. Principles that govern application of the framework provide flexibility while reducing risk of unintended outcomes.
Technical Report
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The aim of this study was to undertake a rapid assessment of the value and role of forests in the Zambian economy based on available informa on in order to inform policy de- cisions on forest management and the implementa on of REDD+ ac vi es in Zambia. The study is part of the coun- try’s Na onal UN-REDD Programme. REDD+1 is a nancial mechanism designed to reward developing countries for their veri ed reduc ons or removals of forest carbon emis- sions compared to a forest reference (emission) level that complies with the relevant safeguards. Forests are an important component of Zambia’s natural capital and provide bene ts that are cri cal for rural pop- ula ons, urban areas, the na onal economy and the global community. Out of Zambia’s total land area of 75.3 million ha, es mates of remaining forest range from 39 million ha (CSO 2013) to 50 million ha (Kalinda et al. 2008) or 53 million ha (ZFD 2000). Es mates of deforesta on rates range from 113,000 ha in 2012 by Global Forest Watch2 to 167,000 ha per year in FAO’s Global Forest Resource Assessment (FAO 2010) and 250,000 ha per year (ILUA study) to even over 850,000 ha per year (FAO 2001, in Jumbe et al. 2008; GRZ 2006a). Zambia has the second highest per capita deforest- a on rate in Africa and the h highest in the world (Aon- gola et al. 2009). The main direct drivers of deforesta on are charcoal produc on, agricultural and human-se lement expansion and illegal exploita on of mber. The study assessed the values of forests in the form of wood produc on (for mber, fuel wood and charcoal) and non- wood forest products, such as wild foods and medicines. In addi on, regula ng and cultural services were included, such as the economic value of nature-related tourism, reg- ula on of the climate through carbon sequestra on, the reten on of sediment for erosion control, the regula on of water ow and water quality, and support for agricultural produc on through pest control and pollina on. The study assesses the cri cal role that forest ecosystems play in sus- taining and suppor ng the stocks and ow of ecosystem services to various economic sectors and human well-be- ing in Zambia, as well as addressing poten al opportuni es that forests o er with respect to transi oning to a green economy, par cularly the role of REDD+ in achieving this transformaton. It is envisioned that this study will help to elevate the importance of sustainable forest management and conserva on in national policy, for example through the na onal REDD+ strategy.
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This report synthesizes the findings from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment's (MA) global and sub-global assessments of how ecosystem changes do, or could, affect human health and well-being. Main topics covered are: Food, fresh water, timber, fibre, and fuel, nutrient and waste management, pollution, processing and detoxification, cultural, spiritual and recreational services, climate regulation, and extreme weather events. <br /
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Mongolia is an example of a nation where the rapidity of mining development is outpacing capacity to manage the potential land and water resources impacts. Further, Mongolia has a particular social and economic reliance on traditional uses of land and water, principally livestock herding. While some mining operations are setting high standards in protecting the natural resources surrounding the mine site, others have less incentive and capacity to do so and therefore are having adverse effects on surrounding communities. The paper describes a case study of the Sharyn Gol Soum in northern Mongolia where a range of mining types, from artisanal, small-scale mining to a large coal mine, operate alongside traditional herding lifestyles. A multi-disciplinary approach is taken to observe and attribute causes to the water resources impacts in the area. Surveys of the herding household community, land use mapping, and monitoring the spatial variations in water quality indicate deterioration of water resources. Collectively, the different sources of evidence suggest that the deterioration is mainly due to small-scale gold mining. The evidence included the perception of 78% of the interviewed herders that water quality had changed due to mining; a change in the footprint of small-scale gold mining from 2.8 to 15.2km2 during the period 1999 to 2015; and pH and sulphate values in 2015 consistently outside the ranges observed at a baseline site in the same region. It is concluded that the lack of baseline data and effective governance mechanisms are fundamental challenges that need to be addressed if Mongolia's transition to a mining economy is to be managed alongside sustainability of herder lifestyles.
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Pursuing economic targets of job creation, growth and innovation while tackling global environmental challenges has long been seen as impossible. However, any long-term economic competitiveness and security depends on the extent to which natural resources are used sustainably. Therefore, the European Union is investing in nature-based solutions to achieve this double goal. The difference between the prevailing economic model and a sustainable resource use has long seemed insurmountable. While many debates are paralyzed or radicalized, nature-based solutions could offer a transition path with realistic, incremental steps towards a sustainable economy as envisaged by the EU Horizon 2020 vision. This paper outlines the basics of a nature-based scenario for Europe, and proposes criteria to focus, guide and evaluate the implementation of nature-based solutions, geared at production of wide socio-economic benefits, provision of jobs, and low-carbon technology innovations.
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Cultural ecosystem services are defined by people's perception of the environment, which make them hard to quantify systematically. Methods to describe cultural benefits from ecosystems typically include resource-demanding survey techniques, which are not suitable to assess cultural ecosystem services for large areas. In this paper we explore a method to quantify cultural benefits through the enjoyment of nature-based tourism, by assessing the potential tourism attractiveness of species for each protected area in Africa using the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. We use the number of pictures of wildlife posted on a photo sharing website as a proxy for charisma, popularity, and ease of observation, as these factors combined are assumed to determine how attractive species are for the global wildlife tourist. Based on photo counts of 2473 African animals and plants, species that seem most attractive to nature-based tourism are the Lion, African Elephant and Leopard. Combining the photo counts with species range data, African protected areas with the highest potential to attract wildlife tourists based on attractive species occurrence were Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, Mukogodo Forest Reserve located just north of Mount Kenya, and Addo Elephant National Park in South-Africa. The proposed method requires only three data sources which are freely accessible and available online, which could make the proposed index tractable for large scale quantitative ecosystem service assessments. The index directly links species presence to the tourism potential of protected areas, making the connection between nature and human benefits explicit, but excludes other important contributing factors for tourism, such as accessibility and safety. This social media based index provides a broad understanding of those species that are popular globally; in many cases these are not the species of highest conservation concern.
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The central challenge of the 21st century is to develop economic, social, and governance systems capable of ending poverty and achieving sustainable levels of population and consumption while securing the life-support systems underpinning current and future human well-being. Essential to meeting this challenge is the incorporation of natural capital and the ecosystem services it provides into decision-making. We explore progress and crucial gaps at this frontier, reflecting upon the 10 y since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. We focus on three key dimensions of progress and ongoing challenges: raising awareness of the interdependence of ecosystems and human well-being, advancing the fundamental interdisciplinary science of ecosystem services, and implementing this science in decisions to restore natural capital and use it sustainably. Awareness of human dependence on nature is at an all-time high, the science of ecosystem services is rapidly advancing, and talk of natural capital is now common from governments to corporate boardrooms. However, successful implementation is still in early stages. We explore why ecosystem service information has yet to fundamentally change decision-making and suggest a path forward that emphasizes: (i) developing solid evidence linking decisions to impacts on natural capital and ecosystem services, and then to human well-being; (ii) working closely with leaders in government, business, and civil society to develop the knowledge, tools, and practices necessary to integrate natural capital and ecosystem services into everyday decision-making; and (iii) reforming institutions to change policy and practices to better align private short-term goals with societal long-term goals.
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After a long incubation period, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is now underway. Underpinning all its activities is the IPBES Conceptual Framework (CF), a simplified model of the interactions between nature and people. Drawing on the legacy of previous large-scale environmental assessments, the CF goes further in explicitly embracing different disciplines and knowledge systems (including indigenous and local knowledge) in the co-construction of assessments of the state of the world's biodiversity and the benefits it provides to humans. The CF can be thought of as a kind of " Rosetta Stone " that highlights commonalities between diverse value sets and seeks to facilitate crossdisciplinary and crosscultural understanding. We argue that the CF will contribute to the increasing trend towards interdisciplinarity in understanding and managing the environment. Rather than displacing disciplinary science, however, we believe that the CF will provide new contexts of discovery and policy applications for it.
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Human activities and climate change are key factors impacting ecosystem functions and its goods and services, which are important to the livelihoods of mountain communities. In Nepal, community based ecosystem management has been widely adopted as a way to secure local management and empowerment, but local knowledge, perceptions and values of ecosystem change and services are often ignored, and perhaps inadequately understood, in decision-making processes at district or national level. Our objective therefore was to develop a multi-method approach to support mapping of ecosystem services and assessing their local values. Local perceptions of ecosystem use, change and values were identified using participatory mapping, key informant and focus group discussions, and an extensive household survey carried out in the upstream Koshi River basin. Results were cross-validated with scientific literature, statistics and remote sensing data. Key ecosystem services identified are water, agricultural produce, and various forest products, most of which show a declining trend. We demonstrate that the use of different methods and levels of input results in different and complementary types of insights and detail needed for balanced and informed decision-making regarding sustainable management of ESs to secure current and future livelihoods and ecosystem functioning.
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Assuming the huge progress achieved in public participatory geographic information system (PPGIS) techniques and its current research gaps, this study aims to explore differences in the perception of spatial distribution of ecosystem services supply and demand between different stakeholders through collaborative mapping. The stakeholders selected included high influence stakeholder (with a high degree of interest on the ecosystem services' state and with an important influence into the environmental decision making process) and low influence stakeholders (with a high degree of interest on the ecosystem services' state and with a low influence in environmental management). Workshops took place in June 2013 in two regions of Andalusia; overall 29 participants were involved. Water provision, food from agriculture, livestock, erosion control, climate regulation, water purification, nature tourism, recreational hunting and tranquility were collaboratively mapped. Agriculture land-use and the protected area surface were also assessed in order to find patterns in ecosystem services supply, meanwhile the role of urban areas was assessed for ecosystem services demand. The results show that low and high influence stakeholders have different perceptions of the spatial distribution of ecosystem services and the scale of their demand. We call for the recognition of these knowledge differences (experiential and technical) and their inclusion in decision making processes regarding landscape planning.
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Safeguarding the benefits that ecosystems provide to society is increasingly included as a target in international policies. To support such policies, ecosystem service maps are made. However, there is little attention for the accuracy of these maps. We made a systematic review and quantitative comparison of ecosystem service maps on the European scale to generate insights in the uncertainty of ecosystem service maps and discuss the possibilities for quantitative validation. Maps of climate regulation and recreation were reasonably similar while large uncertainties among maps of erosion protection and flood regulation were observed. Pollination maps had a moderate similarity. Differences among the maps were caused by differences in indicator definition, level of process understanding, mapping aim, data sources and methodology. Absence of suitable observed data on ecosystem services provisioning hampers independent validation of the maps. Consequently, there are, so far, no accurate measures for ecosystem service map quality. Policy makers and other users need to be cautious when applying ecosystem service maps for decision-making. The results illustrate the need for better process understanding and data acquisition to advance ecosystem service mapping, modelling and validation.
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Carbon stocks and emissions are quantified using many different measures and metrics, and these differ in their surrogacy, measurement, and incentive value. To evaluate potential policy impacts of using different carbon measures, we modeled and mapped carbon in above-ground and below-ground stocks, as well as fluxes related to sequestration, oxidation and combustion in the Ex Mega Rice Project Area in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. We identify significant financial and carbon emission mitigation consequences of proxy choice in relation to the achievement of national emissions reduction targets. We find that measures of above-ground biomass carbon stock have both high measurement and incentive value, but low surrogacy for potential emissions or the potential for emissions reductions. The inclusion of below-ground carbon increased stocks and flows by an order of magnitude, highlighting the importance of protecting and managing soil carbon and peat. Carbon loss and potential emissions reduction is highest in the areas of deep peat, which supports the use of deep peat as a legislative metric. Divergence in patterns across sub-regions and through time further emphasizes the importance of proxy choice and highlights the need to carefully consider the objectives of the application to which the measure of carbon will be applied.
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Mapping key areas for ecosystem service (ES) supply is essential for the development of strategies that will ensure their future supply. Given the rapid development in this area of research, we performed a review of different approaches used to map ES, with a special focus on those that use social–ecological data. We used an analytical framework based on five criteria for analyzing and comparing the methodological approaches: the types of ES, availability of data sources, types of data sources, spatial scale, and methods used to model ES. We found that regulating services were the most commonly mapped, followed by provisioning, cultural, and supporting services. Secondary (readily available) data were used more frequently than primary data to map ES. Biophysical data (land-cover variables) and mixed sources (databases like global statistics) were the most commonly employed ones. Most studies were performed at the regional or at the national scale. The most commonly used method to model services was the development of models based on the well-known causal relationships between environmental variables, followed by the extrapolation of ES values from primary data to the total analyzed area frequently using land-cover maps. Our synthesis reveals that the majority of studies are based on secondary data, applied at broad scales, without validation techniques. There is an urgent need to develop methods for deepening our understanding of the social–ecological processes behind the supply of ES in order to improve our ability to map ES for decision making.
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Despite much progress in ecosystem ser-vices research, a gap still appears to exist between this research and the implementation of landscape manage-ment and development activities on the ground, espe-cially within a developing country context. If ecosystem service science is to be operationalised and used by decision-makers directing local development, an in-depth understanding of the implementation context for landscape planning and management, and of the oppor-tunities and challenges for ecosystem services in this context are needed. Very little is known about these opportunities and constraints, largely because of the absence of methods to explore the complexity of the landscape planning, management and implementation context and the possibilities of integrating scientific information into these processes within a real-world setting. This study aims to address this need for information and methods, by focusing on a region in South Africa with a long history of ecosystem service research and stakeholder engagement, and testing a social science approach to explore opportunities and challenges for integrating ecosystem services in land-scape planning processes and policies. Our methodo-logical approach recognises the importance of social processes and legitimacy in decision-making, empha-sizing the need to engage with the potential end-users of ecosystem service research in order to ensure the relevance of the research. While we discovered chal-lenges for mainstreaming ecosystem service at a local level, we also found strong opportunities in the multi-sectoral planning processes driving development and in how the concept of ecosystem services is framed and aligned with development priorities, especially those relating to disaster risk reduction.
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Indicator-based approaches are often used to monitor land degradation and desertification from the global to the very local scale. However, there is still little agreement on which indicators may best reflect both status and trends of these phenomena. In this study, various processes of land degradation and desertification have been analyzed in 17 study sites around the world using a wide set of biophysical and socioeconomic indicators. The database described earlier in this issue by Kosmas and others (Environ Manage, 2013) for defining desertification risk was further analyzed to define the most important indicators related to the following degradation processes: water erosion in various land uses, tillage erosion, soil salinization, water stress, forest fires, and overgrazing. A correlation analysis was applied to the selected indicators in order to identify the most important variables contributing to each land degradation process. The analysis indicates that the most important indicators are: (i) rain seasonality affecting water erosion, water stress, and forest fires, (ii) slope gradient affecting water erosion, tillage erosion and water stress, and (iii) water scarcity soil salinization, water stress, and forest fires. Implementation of existing regulations or policies concerned with resources development and environmental sustainability was identified as the most important indicator of land protection.
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This article reviews direct freshwater consumption in tourism from both quantitative and qualitative viewpoints to assess the current water demand of the tourism sector and to identify current and future management challenges. The article concludes that even though tourism increases global water consumption, direct tourism-related water use is considerably less than 1% of global consumption, and will not become significant even if the sector continues to grow at anticipated rates of around 4% per year (international tourist arrivals). The situation differs at the regional level because tourism concentrates traveller flows in time and space, and often-in dry destinations where water resources are limited. Furthermore, the understanding of tourism’s indirect water requirements, including the production of food, building materials and energy, remains inadequately understood, but is likely to be more substantial than direct water use. The article concludes that with expected changes in global precipitation patterns due to climate change, it is advisable in particular for already water scarce destinations to engage in proactive water management. Recommendations for managing tourism’s water footprint are made.
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Continuing soil degradation remains a serious threat to future food security. Yet, global soil degradation assessments are based on qualitative expert judgments or remotely sensed quantitative proxy values that suffice to raise awareness but are too coarse to identify appropriate sustainable land management interventions. Studies in China and Sub Saharan Africa illustrate the considerable impact of degradation on crop production but also point to the need for solutions dependent on location specific agro-ecological conditions and farming systems.The development of a comprehensive approach should be feasible to better assess both extent and impact of soil degradation interlinking various scales, based on production ecological approaches and remote sensing to allow disentangling natural and human induced causes of degradation. A shared common knowledge base cataloguing hard-won location-specific interventions is needed for successfully preventing or mitigating degradation.
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Synergies between biodiversity conservation objectives and ecosystem service management were investigated in the Succulent Karoo biome (83,000km2) of South Africa, a recognised biodiversity hotspot. Our study complemented a previous biodiversity assessment with an ecosystem service assessment. Stakeholder engagement and expert consultation focussed our investigations on surface water, ground water, grazing and tourism as the key services in this region. The key ecosystem services and service hotspots were modelled and mapped. The congruence between these services, and between biodiversity priorities and ecosystem service priorities, were assessed and considered in relation to known threats. Generally low levels of overlap were found between these ecosystem services, with the exception of surface and ground water which had an 80% overlap. The overlap between ecosystem service hotspots and individual biodiversity priority areas was generally low. Four of the seven priority areas assessed have more than 20% of their areas classified as important for services. In specific cases, particular service levels could be used to justify the management of a specific biodiversity priority area for conservation. Adopting a biome scale hotspot approach to assessing service supply highlighted key management areas. However, it underplayed local level dependence on particular services, not effectively capturing the welfare implications associated with diminishing and limited service provision. We conclude that regional scale (biome level) approaches need to be combined with local level investigations (municipal level). Given the regional heterogeneity and varied nature of the impacts of drivers and threats, diverse approaches are required to steer land management towards sustainable multifunctional landscape strategies. KeywordsEcosystem service assessment-Grazing-Water-Tourism-Biodiversity hotspots-Climate change
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This study mapped the production of five ecosystem services in South Africa: surface water supply, water flow regulation, soil accumulation, soil retention, and carbon storage. The relationship and spatial congruence between services were assessed. The congruence between primary production and these five services was tested to evaluate its value as a surrogate or proxy ecosystem service measure. This study illustrates that (1) most of South Africa's land surface is important for supplying at least one service, (2) there are low levels of congruence between the service ranges and even lower levels between the hotspots for different ecosystem services, and (3) primary production appears to show some potential as a surrogate for ecosystem service distribution. The implications of a heterogeneous landscape for the provision of ecosystem services and their management are highlighted and the potential for managing such services in a country like South Africa is discussed.
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Developing countries are required to produce robust estimates of forest carbon stocks for successful implementation of climate change mitigation policies related to reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Here we present a "benchmark" map of biomass carbon stocks over 2.5 billion ha of forests on three continents, encompassing all tropical forests, for the early 2000s, which will be invaluable for REDD assessments at both project and national scales. We mapped the total carbon stock in live biomass (above- and belowground), using a combination of data from 4,079 in situ inventory plots and satellite light detection and ranging (Lidar) samples of forest structure to estimate carbon storage, plus optical and microwave imagery (1-km resolution) to extrapolate over the landscape. The total biomass carbon stock of forests in the study region is estimated to be 247 Gt C, with 193 Gt C stored aboveground and 54 Gt C stored belowground in roots. Forests in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia accounted for 49%, 25%, and 26% of the total stock, respectively. By analyzing the errors propagated through the estimation process, uncertainty at the pixel level (100 ha) ranged from ± 6% to ± 53%, but was constrained at the typical project (10,000 ha) and national (>1,000,000 ha) scales at ca. ± 5% and ca. ± 1%, respectively. The benchmark map illustrates regional patterns and provides methodologically comparable estimates of carbon stocks for 75 developing countries where previous assessments were either poor or incomplete.
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Resources for biodiversity conservation are severely limited, requiring strategic investment. Understanding both the economic benefits and costs of conserving ecosystems will help to allocate scarce dollars most efficiently. However, although cost-benefit analyses are common in many areas of policy, they are not typically used in conservation planning. We conducted a spatial evaluation of the costs and benefits of conservation for a landscape in the Atlantic forests of Paraguay. We considered five ecosystem services (i.e., sustainable bushmeat harvest, sustainable timber harvest, bioprospecting for pharmaceutical products, existence value, and carbon storage in aboveground biomass) and compared them to estimates of the opportunity costs of conservation. We found a high degree of spatial variability in both costs and benefits over this relatively small (approximately 3,000 km(2)) landscape. Benefits exceeded costs in some areas, with carbon storage dominating the ecosystem service values and swamping opportunity costs. Other benefits associated with conservation were more modest and exceeded costs only in protected areas and indigenous reserves. We used this cost-benefit information to show that one potential corridor between two large forest patches had net benefits that were three times greater than two otherwise similar alternatives. Spatial cost-benefit analysis can powerfully inform conservation planning, even though the availability of relevant data may be limited, as was the case in our study area. It can help us understand the synergies between biodiversity conservation and economic development when the two are indeed aligned and to clearly understand the trade-offs when they are not.
Article
Quantifying and mapping ecosystem services (ES), their indicators and their relationships is of crucial importance for environmental management. In this article, we analyze the spatial distribution of multiple-ES indicators at three locations on the pioneer fronts of the Brazilian Amazon. We identify trade-offs and synergies between six ES indicators for soil, vegetation and biodiversity characterization. We also propose spatial representations of multiple-ES indicators (vegetation carbon stocks, rates of water infiltration into soil, soil chemical quality, soil carbon stocks, biodiversity and richness in Sphingidae). Finally, we discuss three different methods to map them depending on the goals of the maps, arguing that maps lean on objective-oriented approaches. The study is based on remote sensing and sampling data from 135 sampling points. We created multiple-ES indicators maps based on Principal Component Analysis (PCA), a score of ES richness, and discrimination of land cover units. PCA is an appropriate tool for showing high correlations between indicators, nevertheless has notable limitations for visual communication. The scoring method may help mapping ES hotspots, however it fails to consider relationships among them. The land-cover-based method has the advantage of being simple and easy to interpret, still it may not consider important indicators not related to land-cover changes. We discuss the interests and limitations of these different ways to map multiple-ES indicators, regarding the final goals of the maps.
Article
Policies play a vital role in setting priorities and actions for forest use and management. High rates of forest loss can be attributed to failure by policies to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. It is argued that in most Least Developed Countries such as Zambia, adopted forest and natural resources policies are rarely put into effect resulting in ecosystem degradation.This study examined policy actor's perception of implementation of policies aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation and their implications for forest resources.To examine policy implementation, 55 policy actors were interviewed at national, regional and local levels. This included government officials, Non-Governmental Organisations, traditional leaders and local people. Interviews were analysed using discourse analysis.Findings show that policy implementations deficits are prevalent in Zambia's forest sector. Policy actors identified the main barriers as inadequate institutional capacity, inadequate legal framework, political influences, insecure land tenure, poor funding, and lack of intersectoral coordination. The paper has shown gaps between policies and their implementation. To halt deforestation and forest degradation, it is imperative that formulated policies are implemented. This will require improved communication and coordination among government units and various stakeholders, sufficient resources and harmonizing policies and legal frameworks.
Technical Report
Report by the ELD (Economics of Land Degradation) Initiative
Article
Plurality in ecosystem service definitions and applications has resulted in a wide variety of methods to assess and map ecosystem services (ES). Although this helped the field to progress and evolve in several directions and contexts, this diversity challenges the mainstreaming of ES information into policy making, natural resource management and green accounting. The Mapping 2 and Modelling 3 working groups of the Ecosystem Service Partnership (ESP) have taken up the challenge to provide structure and guidance in ES mapping practices. The ESP working groups have developed a checklist of information and decisions needed for ES mapping and documentation (Crossman et al., 2013), an online data sharing platform for ES maps (http://esp-mapping.net), and a series of Special Issues (SI) on ES mapping in scientific journals (Crossman et al., 2012, Burkhard et al., 2013, Alkemade et al., 2014). In our search for best ES mapping practices to support decision making we, as leads of the related ESP working groups, invited papers for this SI with recommendations on the ES mapping methods and a description of their applicability under specific geographic characteristics and user objectives. Decision-making in which ES maps can play a role is not restricted to national governments, but involves, for example, private companies , watershed managers and non-government organizations. Based on the collection of papers in this SI, we found that the best ES mapping practices to support decision making should be robust, transparent and stakeholder-relevant. These mapping practices include robust modeling, measurement, and stakeholder-based methods for quantification of ES supply, demand and/or flow, as well as measures of uncertainty and heterogeneity across spatial and temporal scales and resolution. Best ES mapping practices are also transparent to contribute to clear information-sharing and the creation of linkages with decision support processes. Lastly, best ES mapping practices are people-central, in which stakeholders are engaged at different stages of the mapping process and match the expectations and needs of end-users. Based on the 16 papers included in this SI, this editorial provides an overview of the best practices and remaining challenges , that lead to robust, transparent and stakeholder-relevant ES mapping for supporting diverse decision-making in diverse contexts.
Article
Science in general and modelling in particular provide in-depth understanding of environmental processes and clearly demonstrate the present unsustainable use of resources on a global scale. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for instance, shows that climate is changing and with a 95% certainty it is the humans have caused the change. The future climatic conditions are shown to be largely adversely affecting human wellbeing on this planet. Yet we see in numerous examples that societies are very slow in reacting to this rapid depletion of natural resources. What still seems lacking is the translation of scientific reports and the results of analysis and modelling into corrective actions. We argue that one of the reasons for this is the traditional workflow of environmental modelling, which starts with the purpose, the goal formulation, and ends with problem solutions or decision support tools. Instead, modelling, and applied science in general, has to enhance its scope beyond the problem solving stage, to do more on the problem definition and solution implementation phases. Modelling can be also used for identification of societal values and for setting purposes by appropriate communication of the modelling process and results. We believe this new approach for modelling can impact and bring the social values to the forefront of socio-environmental debate and hence turn scientific results into actions sooner rather than later. Instead of being separated from the modelling process, the translation of results should be an intrinsic part of it. We discuss several challenges for recent socio-environmental modelling and conclude with ten propositions that modellers and scientists in general can follow to improve their communication with the society and produce results that can be understood and used to improve awareness and education and spur action.
Article
Public participation GIS (PPGIS) methods have progressed over the last decade, but as a rapidly evolving practice and area of research, there are new challenges. To identify the key issues and research priorities in PPGIS, two researchers that have designed and implemented more than 40 empirical studies spanning both environmental and urban applications present their views about the present and future of PPGIS for land use planning and management. This paper is intended to be a synthesis, but not necessarily a consensus of the key issues and research priorities. We have organized the paper into six general key issues and four priority research topics. The key issues are: (1) conceptual and theoretical foundations, (2) the diversity of definitions and approaches to participatory mapping, (3) the spatial attributes measured in participatory mapping, (4) sampling, participation, and data quality, (5) relationships between participatory mapped attributes and physical places, and (6) the integration of PPGIS data into planning decision support. Our top research priorities include: (1) understanding and increasing participation rates, (2) identifying and controlling threats to spatial data quality, (3) improving the “PP” or public participation in PPGIS, and (4) evaluating the effectiveness of PPGIS. Our purpose for presenting a research agenda is to stimulate discourse among PPGIS researchers and practitioners about future research needs and to provide support for the mobilization of resources to undertake future empirical research.
Article
This paper investigates the use of forest provisioning ecosystem services (FPES) in coping with stresses and shocks in rural households of Miombo woodland systems. It assesses the influence of socio-economic factors (wealth and gender) in households' coping decisions. The study employs a mixed methods approach by combining focus groups meetings, in-depth interviews, and interviews of 244 households stratified by household wealth classes and gender of household heads in Copperbelt province, Zambia. The results show that households face multiple shocks and that FPES are the most widely used coping strategy used by households facing idiosyncratic shocks, by households, followed by kinship. A higher proportion of poor and intermediate households rely on FPES to cope with various shocks than their wealthier counterparts. When stratified by gender, more male-headed households used FPES than female headed households. With respect to coping with household food stresses, charcoal production and sale is the most widely used strategy, followed by off-farm activities and remittances. In designing forest management strategies aimed at reconciling forest conservation and rural development, such as reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) schemes, it is vitally important that alternate coping strategies are made available to rural households to reduce pressure on forests.
Article
Maps of ecosystem services are repeatedly mentioned in the ‘‘EU biodiversity strategy to 2020’’ as being necessary to achieve the goals of this strategy. On regional and landscape levels too, maps are more and more often suggested to be essential for proper management of ecosystems and their services. This paper presents results drawn from interviews on a regional level and from a focus group discussion on national and EU levels. Both dealt with the question of how exactly spatially explicit information can be used in decision-making concerning biodiversity and ecosystem services. Amongst others the use of maps as a means of fulfilling reporting duties of the Members States to the European Commission; also mentioned was the use of maps as a communication tool; and to improve the targeting of policy measures. However, a number of challenges in relation to the credibility, salience and legitimacy of maps also came up during interviews and discussion. The challenges identified lead us to the conclusion that while maps can be tremendously helpful, they should be used carefully. From the information gathered we derive a number of recommendations on how to deal with the salience and legitimacy of maps.