Skip to main content

Historical influences on the current provision of multiple ecosystem services: is there a legacy of past landcover?

Dallimer, Martin, Davies, Zoe G., Diaz-Porras, Daniel P., Irvine, Katherine N., Maltby, Lorraine L., Warren, Philip H., Armsworth, Paul R., Gaston, Kevin J. (2015) Historical influences on the current provision of multiple ecosystem services: is there a legacy of past landcover? Global Environmental Change, 31 . pp. 307-317. ISSN 0959-3780. (doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.01.015)

Abstract

Ecosystem service provision varies temporally in response to natural and human-induced factors, yet research in this field is dominated by analyses that ignore the time-lags and feedbacks that occur within socio-ecological systems. The implications of this have been unstudied, but are central to understanding how service delivery will alter due to future land-use/cover change. Urban areas are expanding faster than any other land-use, making cities ideal study systems for examining such legacy effects. We assess the extent to which present-day provision of a suite of eight ecosystem services, quantified using field-gathered data, is explained by current and historical (stretching back 150 years) landcover. Five services (above-ground carbon density, recreational use, bird species richness, bird density, and a metric of recreation experience quality (continuity with the past) were more strongly determined by past landcover. Time-lags ranged from 20 (bird species richness and density) to over 100 years (above-ground carbon density). Historical landcover, therefore, can have a strong influence on current service provision. By ignoring such time-lags, we risk drawing incorrect conclusions regarding how the distribution and quality of some ecosystem services may alter in response to land-use/cover change. Although such a finding adds to the complexity of predicting future scenarios, ecologists may find that they can link the biodiversity conservation agenda to the preservation of cultural heritage, and that certain courses of action provide win-win outcomes across multiple environmental and cultural goods.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.01.015
Uncontrolled keywords: Above-ground carbon; Cultural heritage; Historical ecology; Land-use change; Species richness; Urban greenspace
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 17 May 2015 14:18 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:34 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48532 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year