Title: Preserving regulating and cultural Ecosystem services: degradation and conservation status
Publisher: Springer
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC71925
ISBN: 978-94-007-6454-5
URI: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-007-6455-2_12
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-6455-2_12
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: For many years humans have benefited from provisioning services such as meat from wild animals, raw material and livestock grazing; regulating services such as water and climate regulation; supporting services such as soil fertility and cultural services such as recreation. These ecosystem services are now being de-graded and used unsustainably around the world. Understanding the levels of threats facing various ecosystem services and their conservation status is im-portant in safeguarding them. In this study, the degradation and transformation of five regulating ecosystem services in South Africa were examined. Results showed that at least 10% of the total hotspot area and 20% of the total area that provide substantial amount (the range) of all five ecosystem services has been transformed or degraded. The range of water regulation and supply had the highest level of transformation (30%, 27 respectively). The range of carbon storage had the highest degradation (10%) followed by surface water supply (9%). Amongst the hotspots, water flow regulation and supply had yet again the highest levels of transformation (33%, 25% respectively). The hotspot of water supply was the most degraded (11.7%). More than 60% of all transformation that occurred within the hotpots and ranges of all five ecosystem services could be attributed to cultivation. The second most common driver of driver of transformation was plantations. Although protected areas present an opportunity for safeguarding ecosystem services, they are hardly included in the identification of areas for the establishment of protected areas. The areas important in providing many ecosystem services in Europe and Africa continue to be found outside protected areas. Apart from recreational services, at least 80% of such areas remain outside protected areas. Conservation strategies for ecosystem services needs to be developed urgently to safeguard them. Any such strategy should consider the benefit of multiple ecosystem services as many ecosystem services inside and outside protected areas.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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