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 Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>