Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ecosystem Services: Looking Forward to Mid-Century

30.05.2014

Research by Bren professor projects land-use changes up to 2051 and examines options for auctions that provide incentives for landowners

As population grows, society needs more — more energy, more food, more paper, more housing, more of nearly everything. Meeting those needs can lead to changes in how land is used.


Policies need to balance various land uses to preserve valuable ecosystem services.

Native grasslands, forests and wetlands may be converted into croplands, tree plantations, residential areas and commercial developments. Those conversions can, in turn, diminish the health of natural ecosystems and their ability to provide an array of valuable services, such as clean air and water, wildlife and opportunities for recreation, to name a few.

In two papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, UC Santa Barbara’s Andrew Plantinga addresses how to strike a balance between providing for humanity’s growing needs and preserving the natural systems that make it possible to meet those needs.

In one paper, Plantinga, a professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and colleagues model the future of land-use change in the United States under various scenarios and possible effects on the provision of some important ecosystem services. In a related publication, the researchers develop incentive structures to best encourage landowners to provide ecosystem services.

The work of the first paper explains a new land-use model for the contiguous U.S., which forecasts trends from 2001-2051 using two baseline scenarios and three policy alternatives designed to encourage forest cover and the preservation of natural landscapes as well as the reduction of urban expansion.“The 1990s Trend” baseline scenario assumes land-use trends will continue as they did during the 1990s, resulting in less cropland, pasture and rangeland and more forests and urbanization.

The “High Crop Demand” model accounts for significant growth in the demand for agricultural commodities as well as related pressures to expand agricultural lands. The researchers used these scenarios as alternative baselines against which they analyzed the effects of the three alternative land-use policies: forest incentives, natural habitats and urban containment.The first policy provides incentives for reduced deforestation and for afforestation — moving land into forest, whether by converting cropland to natural forest or by establishing commercial timber operations.

The second provides incentives for conserving natural habitats, and the third restricts urban land expansion.The key takeaway, Plantinga explained, is that there are tradeoffs for every policy regardless of which baseline scenario is applied. “Projected land-use changes by 2051 will likely enhance the provision of some ecosystem services and decrease the provision of others,” he said. In this application, ecosystem services are defined as the goods and services provided by nature that are of value to people.In the end, land use is not the most important component, according to Plantinga.

“The point is to identify which types of ecosystem services are provided as land use changes,” he concluded. “Food and carbon sequestrations are fine and may even rise under the various scenarios, but you may need strong incentives to limit declines in the provision of other ecosystem services.

”Incentive Structures for LandownersPlantinga collaborated with many of the same co-authors on another paper which identifies the best auction structure for securing ecosystem services, particularly those provided by private landowners. Building on established auction theory, the paper breaks new ground in structuring an auction that addresses three key challenges to inducing private landowners to provide optimal levels of ecosystem services.These include the spatial component of ecosystem services.

For example, adjoining parcels of land may be more valuable from the perspective of providing habitat than three fragmented parcels adding up to the same size. Additional challenges include asymmetric information, which refers to the fact that landowners know the opportunity cost of their land while the government agency does not, and the requirement to use voluntary incentives or what are often called payments for ecosystem services.

Because forests, clean rivers, climate regulation and other ecosystem services are freely available to everyone, landowners often receive nothing for actions they take on their own land that contribute to the pool of ecosystem services. Those services may be underprovided due to a lack of price incentives for private activities taken for the public good.

The researchers designed an auction that would elicit the optimal enrollment of lands —and the optimal provision of ecosystem services — in situations defined by asymmetric information and spatially dependent benefits.

Contact Info: 
James Badham
james@bren.ucsb.edu
(805) 893-5049

Julie Cohen | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2014/014199/ecosystem-services-looking-forward-mid-century

Further reports about: Management ecosystem ecosystems forests habitat structures urbanization

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Northern bald ibises fit for their journey to Tuscany
21.08.2015 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

nachricht Boreal forests challenged by global change
21.08.2015 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: OU astrophysicist and collaborators find supermassive black holes in quasar nearest Earth

A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...

Im Focus: What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?

A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...

Im Focus: Self-healing landscape: landslides after earthquake

In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.

These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...

Im Focus: FIC Proteins Send Bacteria Into Hibernation

Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.

For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IPA develops prototype of intelligent care cart

It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.

Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists

20.08.2015 | Event News

Scientists meet in Münster for the world’s largest Chitin und Chitosan Conference

20.08.2015 | Event News

Large agribusiness management strategies

19.08.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

28.08.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

An ounce of prevention: Research advances on 'scourge' of transplant wards

28.08.2015 | Health and Medicine

Fish Oil-Diet Benefits May be Mediated by Gut Microbes

28.08.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>