Ecosystem services have been categorised as provisioning (e.g. food, fibre, fuel, water), regulating (e.g. water quality, flood and erosion control, C sequestration), cultural (e.g. recreation, aesthetic and spiritual values), and supporting services (e.g. carbon, water, nutrient cycling) (WRI, 2007). Sustainable use of these ecosystem services is an important consideration in determining which are desirable trajectories to follow towards a low-carbon economy and adapting to future climates.
Many of the choices made by people in both rural and urban areas in relation to moving to a low-carbon economy and adapting to climate change will impact on the way that land is used, and this, in turn will affect the balance of ecosystem services that the land provides.
For example, choices to substitute fossil fuels with biofuels raises issues of where biofuel crops will be grown, choices to buy local food to reduce food miles raises the issue of where the local produce will be grown, while choices to switch to renewable energy sources raises issues of where wind-farms, small-scale hydro schemes, and biomass crops will be located. All of these will influence choices by land managers of different land cover and land management, which may have implications for ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water quantity and quality, and biodiversity.
Because the total land area is fixed, tradeoffs and synergies between all of these different ecosystem services will inevitably occur. Thus, it is essential to consider the impact of responses to climate change on ecosystem services if we are to understand their impact on the sustainability of the overall system.
- Expected Climate Change and Options for European Silviculture
- Estimating potential C-sequestration rates under bioenergy crops
- Land Capability, Land Use Scenarios and Climate Change Scenarios
- RECIPE Project – EU-FP5 project on reestablishment of peatland biodiversity and long term regeneration
- Preferences for improved management of soil carbon in Scotland
- Climate change and carbon footprinting in the Cairngorms – developing bottom up methods to match top-down estimates of carbon use
Updated: 24 Apr 2013, Content by: RM