New Tool for Ecological Services

Water Supply in Banglore, photo credit J. Gronwall via Stockholm Center

From the Stockholm Resilience Centre:

Following an intense study of agricultural ecosystems near Montreal, a new tool that enables the simultaneous analysis and management of a wide range of ecological services has been developed by Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne of McGill University´s Department of Geography, Elena Bennett of the McGill School of Environment, and centre researcher Garry Peterson.Risk of missing hidden ecosystem services
Environmental management typically focuses on nature´s resources like food, wildlife and timber, but can miss hidden ecosystem services such as water purification, climate moderation and the regulation of nutrient cycling.

The researchers show that ecosystems that maximized agriculture offer fewer hidden ecosystems services than more diverse agricultural landscapes. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science on March 1, 2010.

– Landscapes that provide a lot of one services, such as pig production, can be costly because they have fewer of the hidden services, such as the regulation of nutrient pollution, which are also important to people, Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne says.

They also show that in some areas high amounts of agricultural production can go hand in hand with the production of other ecosystem services. The researchers framework can be used to help identify “best-practice areas” and contribute to developing effective resource policies.

Full post here.

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