Assessing the potential delivery of ecosystem services by farmlands under contrasting management intensities

Ana Buchadas*, Francisco Moreira, DI McCracken, J Lima-Santos, Ângela Lomba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Farming systems under contrasting management practices can contribute differently to the delivery of bundles of ecosystem services (ES) in agricultural landscapes. Low intensity farming systems, such as High Nature Value farmlands, are expected to deliver a wider range of ES, whereas landscapes under more intensive management are expected to deliver mainly provisioning services. Understanding the management practices associated with desirable outcomes in terms of biodiversity and ES in agricultural landscapes is needed. Our research aimed to understand the links between the delivery of ES bundles associated with agricultural landscapes, and their socio-ecological drivers, using a region in northern Portugal as a case study. Based on publicly available data on ecosystems services and drivers, we analyzed ES associations, delineated ES bundles, and investigated their relationship with socio-ecological drivers. Overall, our results suggested spatial trade-offs between landscapes delivering provisioning services of high economic value, and landscapes delivering a more balanced set of multiple ES. Bundle analysis highlighted an association between higher landscape multifunctionality and higher values of landscape complexity, higher number of farmers, and farm sizes. Our results reflected the complexity of social and ecological factors operating at the landscape level, pinpointed landscapes with higher multifunctionality and disclosed the conditions underlying their occurrence. The results also highlighted the importance of low-intensity farming systems, namely those supporting High Nature Value farmlands, for the delivery of a wider range of ES at the landscape scale.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalEcology and Society
Volume27
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 15 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • ES bundles
  • Farming systems
  • high nature value farmlands
  • landscape management
  • nature's contribution to people
  • regional scale
  • synergies
  • trade-offs
  • High Nature Value farmlands
  • Nature's Contributions to People (NCP)
  • Farming Systems
  • Landscape management
  • Trade-offs
  • Regional scale
  • Synergies

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