Journal of Environmental Sciences (2012) 24(3): 419–426. doi: 10.1016/S1001-0742(11)60790-0Bai Y, Ouyang Z, Zheng H, Li X, Zhuang C, Jiang B
Natural ecosystems provide society with important goods and services. With the rapid increase in human populations and excessive utilization of natural resources, humans frequently enhance the production of some services at the expense of the others. Although the need for tradeoffs between conservation and development is urgent, the lack of efficient methods to assess such tradeoffs has impeded progress. Three land use strategy scenarios (development scenario, plan trend scenario and conservation scenario) were created to forecast potential changes in ecosystem services from 2007 to 2050 in Beijing, China. GIS-based techniques were used to map spatial and temporal distribution and changes in ecosystem services for each scenario. The provision of ecosystem services differed spatially, with significant changes being associated with different scenarios. Scenario analysis of water yield (as average annual yield) and soil retention (as retention rate per unit area) for the period 2007 to 2050 indicated that the highest values for these parameters were predicted for the forest habitat under all three scenarios. Annual yield/retention of forest, shrub, and grassland ranked the highest in the conservation scenario. Total water yield and soil retention increased in the conservation scenario and declined dramatically in the other two scenarios, especially the development scenario. The conservation scenario was the optimal land use strategy, resulting in the highest soil retention and water yield. Our study suggests that the evaluation and visualization of ecosystem services can effectively assist in understanding the tradeoffs between conservation and development. Results of this study have implications for planning and monitoring future management of natural capital and ecosystem services, which can be integrated into land use decision-making.
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