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

Evans, Chris D.; Bonn, Aletta; Holden, Joseph; Reed, Mark S.; Evans, Martin G.; Worrall, Fred; Couwenberg, John; Parnell, Mark. 2014 Relationships between anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem functions in UK blanket bogs: linking process understanding to ecosystem service valuation. Ecosystem Services, 9. 5-19. 10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.06.013

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Abstract/Summary

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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.06.013
CEH Sections: Emmett
ISSN: 2212-0416
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - Official URL link provides full text
Additional Keywords: peat, climate regulation, carbon, water quality, ecosystem function
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 05 Dec 2014 14:53 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/508945

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