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

Ana Buchadas, CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratrio Associado, Universidade do Porto; Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Integrated Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems (IRI THESys)
Francisco Moreira, CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratrio Associado, Universidade do Porto; CIBIO-InBIO Laboratório Associado, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa; BIOPOLIS Program in Genomics, Biodiversity and Land Planning, CIBIO
Davy McCracken, Hill & Mountain Research Centre, SRUC: Scotland's Rural College
José Lima Santos, Forest Research Centre (CEF), Instituto Superior de Agronomia, University of Lisbon
Angela Lomba, CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratrio Associado, Universidade do Porto; Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto; BIOPOLIS Program in Genomics, Biodiversity and Land Planning, CIBIO

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-12947-270105

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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.

Key words

ES bundles; Farming Systems; High Nature Value farmlands; Landscape management; Nature's Contributions to People (NCP); Regional scale; Synergies; Trade-offs

Copyright © 2022 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087