Mapping and modelling ecosystem services

emptyEcosystem services have received increasing attention by both scientists and policy makers as a means to address the multiple benefits received from our environment. It is a common challenge to incorporate the concept of ecosystem services into environmental management strategies and operational policy. To meet this challenge, new methods to monitor, quantify and valuate ecosystem services are needed.

In addition, assessments of ecosystem services must be incorporated in scenario studies to explore the future dynamics under changing policy conditions. The department aims at preparing a tool box for the mapping and quantification of ecosystem service provision making use of a thorough understanding of ecological processes, both in terrestrial and marine environments. Such information is of importance to enable valuation of these services.

The department contributes to several projects in which, together with environmental economists, new approaches to valuation of ecosystem services are explored. Insights are used to inform policy design, schemes for PES (payments for environmental services), multi-functional land use strategies and rural development.

Key publications on this theme:

  • Verburg PH, van de Steeg J, Veldkamp A, Willemen L (2009) From land cover change to land function dynamics: A major challenge to improve land characterization. Journal of Environmental Management 90: 1327-1335. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.08.005.
  • Brander, L., Bräuer, I., Gerdes, H., Kuik, O., Navrud, S., Schaafsma, M. & Wagtendonk, A. (2009). Scaling-up ecosystem services’ values: towards guidelines for a policy-relevant approach. IVM report commissioned by European Environment Agency, Framework contractnr. EEA/AIR/04/004.
  • Gilbert, A.J. (2009). Connectance indicates the robustness of food webs when subjected to species loss. Ecological Indicators, 9, 72 – 80.
  • Vermaat, J., Goosen, H., Omtzigt, N. 2008. Do biodiversity patterns in Dutch wetland complexes relate to variation in urbanisation, intensity of agricultural land use or fragmentation? Biodiversity Conservation 16: 3585-3595.
  • Hommersom, A., Peters, S., Wernand, M.R. & de Boer, J. (2009). Spatial and temporal variability in bio-optical properties of the Wadden Sea. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 83, 360-370.
  • Bouma, J., Van der Woerd, H.J., Kuik, O., 2009. The value of information for water quality management in the North Sea. J. Environmental Management, Volume 90, Pages 1280-1288. 
  • Vermaat, J., Hellmann, F. 2010. Covariance in water- and nutrient budgets of Dutch peat polders: what governs nutrient retention? Biogeochemistry. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1007/s10533-009-9395-8.

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Assessment of supply of ecosystem services in Europe: the map indicates the number of services for which a high capacity is found