Relationships between anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem functions in UK blanket bogs: Linking process understanding to ecosystem service valuation

Chris D. Evans*, Aletta Bonn, Joseph Holden, Mark S. Reed, Martin G. Evans, Fred Worrall, John Couwenberg, Mark Parnell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Quantification and valuation of ecosystem services are critically dependent on the quality of underpinning science. While key ecological processes may be understood, translating this understanding into quantitative relationships suitable for use in an ecosystem services context remains challenging. Using blanket bogs as a case study, we derived quantitative 'pressure-response functions' linking anthropogenic pressures (drainage, burning, sulphur and nitrogen deposition) with ecosystem functions underpinning key climate, water quality and flood regulating services. The analysis highlighted: i) the complex, sometimes conflicting or interactive effects of multiple anthropogenic pressures on different ecosystem functions; ii) the role of 'biodiversity' (primarily presence/absence of key plant functional types) as an intermediate factor determining how anthropogenic pressures translate into changes in flows of some ecosystem services; iii) challenges relating to the spatial scale and configuration of anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem service beneficiaries; and iv) uncertainties associated with the lags between anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem responses. The conceptual approach described may provide a basis for a more quantitative, multi-parameter approach to the valuation of ecosystem services and the evidence-based optimisation of policy and land-management for ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-19
Number of pages15
JournalEcosystem Services
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Carbon
  • Climate regulation
  • Ecosystem function
  • Peat
  • Water quality

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