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As a fundamental element of human lives, ecosystems and the services they provide across all socioecological regions are now under threat from human and natural activities. An assessment of the different categories of ecosystem services at various levels has become necessary for sustainable use and conservation. This study seeks to identify and characterize provisioning ecosystem services affecting rural households in the Tolon and Wa West Districts of northern Ghana.

It examines the key dynamics of these services and discusses the major factors influencing their supply and utilization.

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Emphasis has increasingly been put on the use of ecosystem service indicators towards agreed upon policy goals. That is the case of indicators that can inform on progress towards the Aichi Targets and more recently progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The challenge is to identify those indicators that are most relevant to measuring progress towards the goal, while at the same time being supported by actually available data, conceptual understanding and credibility. Monitoring for ecosystem services at local to national and global scales needs to take into account how preferences and ecosystem services can change in space and time.

Services that are most relevant at national to global scales could be monitored systematically, while locally relevant services could be assessed within particular locations. The coast of Belize includes hundreds of kilometres of mangrove forests, extensive seagrass beds, and the largest unbroken reef in the Western Hemisphere. Tourism, as well as commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries, contribute to income and livelihoods, but at the same time threaten the very ecosystems that make these activities possible.

In The Natural Capital Project www. Interactions with a range of stakeholders and government agencies led to the identification of different categories of human activities, a zoning scheme, and three alternative future scenarios. The supply and economic value of lobster fisheries, tourism, coastal protection and habitat to support fisheries were modelled for current and future scenarios using InVEST.

Data sources included: i field assessments of lobster catch and revenue; ii high resolution land use cover maps developed from remote sensed data, iii model of lobster migration, iv current visitation data obtained from social media e. Risk under alternative scenarios for individual services as well as trade-offs among services across zones were assessed using additional spatial data on human activities and habitats, as well as information from the peer- reviewed and grey literature on the expected impacts of human activities on the services and the habitats.

The most desirable future scenario was identified and further refined to increase expected delivery of almost all services in all regions into The results from this future scenario were incorporated into the Coastal Zone Management plan for Belize in It was refined through further stakeholder involvement and expert review during and led to changes in national legislation such as the creation of marine reserves and the revocation of offshore drilling contracts issued earlier by the government of Belize. The ultimate goal of many efforts to monitor ecosystem services is to inform decision-makers and policy to ensure the long-term supply of services and the flow of benefits to societies.

While progress has been made on the quantification and mapping of services, less attention has been given to the needs of decision-makers and resource users from local to global scales.

Meaningful engagement with resource users and policy makers should occur early, explicitly and formally when monitoring services Menzel and Teng Creating such a network for monitoring ecosystem services at local to global scales will require significant effort from stakeholders from the research, policy and practice communities across the globe. National monitoring systems could create mechanisms by which local stakeholders can provide input and feed into the national system.

City and regional governments may help facilitate the engagement with local stakeholders, and help assess the status of services at local scales. Stakeholder participation in monitoring activities will vary widely depending on many factors including local relevance of the services they are monitoring, and whether incentives are provided. Local scale monitoring could dovetail into existing ecosystem services research which may have very different objectives but could contribute to an observation network.

One major challenge to date is that multi-scale cross-site comparisons are only possible if comparable approaches and indicators are used. To date a wide diversity of approaches and indicators complicate such comparisons. Great emphasis has been given over the last decade to the development of new metrics, tools and approaches, which has fostered creative solutions. Yet, standard procedures will eventually need to be identified and practical examples be provided to operationalise the ecosystem services concept e.


Automated, remotely sensed Earth observations will increasingly be used in the future to assess ecosystem services as well as the drivers that modify their supply and delivery. Changes in environmental and socio-economic features are more available than ever with the new sensors, such as those in the Sentinel fleet.

The critical issue is integration of the data in ways that make it readily usable for ecosystem service assessments Cord et al. Ecosystem services monitoring can be directly linked to on-going assessments that support policy design. IPBES is aiming to establish strategic partnerships, such as with monitoring programmes, to assist in the delivery of its work programme. Similarly, National governments are also signatories to Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

In most cases for instance the CBD , these rely on technical and scientific bodies to assess progress towards implementation of agreed decisions. National progress reports and assessment of needs towards achieving targets rely on monitoring ecosystem services. Agreements and commitments across different scales national to global on biodiversity and ecosystem services would benefit greatly from the extension and linking of various observing networks, which can promote the collection, access, packaging and communication of data.

Monitoring ecosystem services is vital for informing policy or decision-making to protect human well-being and the natural systems upon which it relies at different scales. While ecosystem services are linked to biodiversity, the social factors involved in their supply, delivery and value to human well-being implies that they cannot be predicted from biodiversity monitoring initiatives alone.

Here we emphasise that monitoring systems for ecosystem services must take into account provisioning, regulating and cultural services as well as their components of supply, delivery, contribution to well-being and value. A wide variety of data sources is available and relevant to ecosystem services monitoring, including national statistics, field-based assessments, remote sensing and models. Their elaboration will help ensure monitoring at relevant and where necessary multiple scales of interest. Outputs from monitoring a range of ecosystem services and their components at different spatial scales can actively support decision-making.

Analyses of multiple services and biodiversity can inform decision-makers such as land managers as to trade-offs and synergies among them. Modelling and exploring future scenarios of ecosystem services can then clarify the impacts of alternative policies on such trade-offs and synergies. Monitoring our life support systems and using this information in decision-making across all scales will be central to our endeavours to transform to more sustainable and equitable futures. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Open Access. First Online: 25 November Download chapter PDF.

Biodiversity is related to ecosystem services through a variety of mechanisms operating at different spatial scales Fig. Biodiversity regulates the state, the rates and in many cases the stability of ecosystem processes fundamental to most ecosystem services Cardinale et al. Fundamentally, biodiversity provides the evolutionary building blocks of life on Earth and therefore provides important adaptive capacity through its continued ability to support desired ecosystem services and processes in the face of often rapidly changing selective pressures Mace et al.

Open image in new window. In order to fully understand ecosystem services, we need to measure and monitor four different components: supply, delivery, contribution to well-being, and value Tallis et al. The table includes a definition and some popular metrics or indicators used in the quantification and assessment of services. This list is not exhaustive since it does not cover all services or potential indicators, but rather presents a range of different types of services that have been found to be very relevant to societies.

The abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems can contribute to mitigate such contaminants Biophysical e. Supply is best characterised by data sources that consider the condition of social-ecological systems, for example, from remote sensing and models. Delivery is often based on societal characteristics and can be accounted for from national statistics, field-assessment and models. Contributions to well-being are documented in different ways mostly field assessments, national statistics and census and have seldom been explicitly incorporated into models.

Economic value can be derived from markets, national statistics or from economic models. Sociocultural value can be obtained from field assessments of preferences, or from the analysis of cultural norms. Different types of value have been incorporated into models. The Natura toolkit was developed for assessing the socio-economic benefits associated with the ecosystem services of conserved or protected sites in Europe Kettunen et al.

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Emphasizes alternative states and the identification of stakeholders that win or lose from these states Applicable only at local scales. Not scalable from local to regional as its use is highly context dependent Natura: Assessing Socioeconomic Benefits www. Emphasizes what benefits are obtained by which stakeholders Mainly focused on conservation projects and thus current and potential protected areas.

A wide variety of approaches have been used for building and applying such models. Emphasis on relationships among multiple services Broadly applicable across a variety of social-ecological contexts.

Modules of either biophysical modelling and economic valuation Models do not simultaneously feedback on one another. High uncertainty when models are applied with coarse secondary data and no validation LPJmL www. Variability estimates over time Models require high resolution climate data that is only available in few countries. Generic models adapted to specific applications at different spatial scales and for particular social-ecological contexts Useful to quantify flows of the services to beneficiaries.

Models incorporate an uncertainty measure in its estimates done through Bayesian networks and Monte Carlo simulation Time consuming models requiring technically specialized skills. Models have a low level of generalization specific application at particular social-ecological contexts ESTA Coupled, dynamic bio-economic models to simulate the production and value of multiple ecosystem services.

Focus on understanding the trade-offs that emerge when management has multi-service objectives Models developed using best available data for a region. Any number of services can be assessed simultaneously Time consuming models requiring technically specialized skills and data-rich contexts MIMES www.

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Functional and dynamic models over space and time developed from multiple data sources Integrated dynamics and interactions among services. Incorporate an uncertainty measure in its estimates Time consuming models requiring technically specialized skills. Also analyses the benefits provided by the natural environment, the beneficiaries of those ecosystem services, and assesses the impacts of possible human interventions on the continued provision of these benefits Rapid analysis of indexed, bundled services based on global data, along with conservation priority maps.

Models have a high level of generalization Models require high resolution biophysical and socio-economic data that is only available in few countries WaterWorld www. It incorporates high resolution spatial datasets for the entire world, spatial models for biophysical and socio-economic processes along with scenarios for climate, land use and economic change Rapid analysis of bundled services based on global data. The biophysical and socio-economic consequences of alternative interventions policy options can be modelled Models have a high level of generalization The high resolution datasets needed are only available for a few countries.

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We explore progress and gaps per ecosystem service category below. Box 3. The Demand for Ecosystem Services at Drinking Water Treatment Facilities in Barcelona Engagement with drinking water managers in Barcelona, Spain allowed for the identification of ecosystem services relevant for decision-makers. Monitoring Ecosystem Services for Coastal Planning in Belize The coast of Belize includes hundreds of kilometres of mangrove forests, extensive seagrass beds, and the largest unbroken reef in the Western Hemisphere. Altman, I. An ecosystem accounting framework for marine ecosystem-based management.

In: M.

Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: A Manual for Assessment Practitioners

McCarthy Eds. The sea: Ideas and observations on progress in the study of the seas Vol. Google Scholar. Andrew, M.

Animals of the Desert - Learning Ecosystems for Kids

Spatial data, analysis approaches, and information needs for spatial ecosystem service assessments: a review. CrossRef Google Scholar. Arkema, K. Embedding ecosystem services in coastal planning leads to better outcomes for people and nature.