Strong and nonlinear effects of fragmentation on ecosystem service provision at multiple scales

Mitchell, Matthew G. E., Bennett, Elena M. and Gonzalez, Andrew (2015) Strong and nonlinear effects of fragmentation on ecosystem service provision at multiple scales. Environmental Research Letters, 10 9: . doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/9/094014

Author Mitchell, Matthew G. E.
Bennett, Elena M.
Gonzalez, Andrew
Title Strong and nonlinear effects of fragmentation on ecosystem service provision at multiple scales
Journal name Environmental Research Letters   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1748-9326
Publication date 2015-09-10
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/10/9/094014
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 9
Total pages 12
Place of publication Bristol, United Kingdom
Publisher Institute of Physics Publishing
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Human actions, such as converting natural land cover to agricultural or urban land, result in the loss and fragmentation of natural habitat, with important consequences for the provision of ecosystem services. Such habitat loss is especially important for services that are supplied by fragments of natural land cover and that depend on flows of organisms, matter, or people across the landscape to produce benefits, such as pollination, pest regulation, recreation and cultural services. However, our quantitative knowledge about precisely how different patterns of landscape fragmentation might affect the provision of these types of services is limited. We used a simple, spatially explicit model to evaluate the potential impact of natural land cover loss and fragmentation on the provision of hypothetical ecosystem services. Based on current literature, we assumed that fragments of natural land cover provide ecosystem services to the area surrounding them in a distance-dependent manner such that ecosystem service flow depended on proximity to fragments. We modeled seven different patterns of natural land cover loss across landscapes that varied in the overall level of landscape fragmentation. Our model predicts that natural land cover loss will have strong and unimodal effects on ecosystem service provision, with clear thresholds indicating rapid loss of service provision beyond critical levels of natural land cover loss. It also predicts the presence of a tradeoff between maximizing ecosystem service provision and conserving natural land cover, and a mismatch between ecosystem service provision at landscape versus finer spatial scales. Importantly, the pattern of landscape fragmentation mitigated or intensified these tradeoffs and mismatches. Our model suggests that managing patterns of natural land cover loss and fragmentation could help influence the provision of multiple ecosystem services and manage tradeoffs and synergies between services across different human-dominated landscapes.
Keyword Landscape structure
Landscape fragmentation
Spatially explicit model
Ecosystem service supply
Ecosystem service flow
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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