Forest fragments modulate the provision of multiple ecosystem services

Mitchell, Matthew G. E., Bennett, Elena M. and Gonzalez, Andrew (2014) Forest fragments modulate the provision of multiple ecosystem services. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51 4: 909-918. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12241


Author Mitchell, Matthew G. E.
Bennett, Elena M.
Gonzalez, Andrew
Title Forest fragments modulate the provision of multiple ecosystem services
Journal name Journal of Applied Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-2664
0021-8901
Publication date 2014-08-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1365-2664.12241
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 51
Issue 4
Start page 909
End page 918
Total pages 10
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Abstract Agricultural landscapes provide the essential ecosystem service of food to growing human populations; at the same time, agricultural expansion to increase crop production results in forest fragmentation, degrading many other forest-dependent ecosystem services. However, surprisingly little is known about the role that forest fragments play in the provision of ecosystem services and how fragmentation affects landscape multifunctionality at scales relevant to land management decisions. We measured the provision of six ecosystem services (crop production, pest regulation, decomposition, carbon storage, soil fertility and water quality regulation) in soya bean fields at different distances from adjacent forest fragments that differed in isolation and size across an agricultural landscape in Quebec, Canada. We observed significant effects of distance-from-forest, fragment isolation and fragment size on crop production, insect pest regulation, and decomposition. Distance-from-forest and fragment isolation had unique influences on service provision for each of the ecosystem services we measured. For example, pest regulation was maximized adjacent to forest fragments, while crop production was maximized at intermediate distances-from-forest. As a consequence, landscape multifunctionality depended on landscape heterogeneity: the range of field and forest fragment types present. We also observed strong negative and positive relationships between ecosystem services that were more prevalent at greater distances-from-forest. Synthesis and applications. Our study is one of the first to empirically measure and model the effects of forest fragments on the simultaneous provision of multiple ecosystem services in an agro-ecosystem at the landscape and field scales relevant to landowners and managers. Our results demonstrate that forest fragments, irrespective of their size, can affect the provision of multiple ecosystem services in surrounding fields, but that this effect is mediated by fragment isolation across the landscape. Our results also suggest that managing habitat fragmentation and landscape structure will improve our ability to optimize ecosystem service provision and create multifunctional agricultural landscapes. Our study is one of the first to empirically measure and model the effects of forest fragments on the simultaneous provision of multiple ecosystem services in an agro-ecosystem at the landscape and field scales relevant to landowners and managers. Our results demonstrate that forest fragments, irrespective of their size, can affect the provision of multiple ecosystem services in surrounding fields, but that this effect is mediated by fragment isolation across the landscape. Our results also suggest that managing habitat fragmentation and landscape structure will improve our ability to optimize ecosystem service provision and create multifunctional agricultural landscapes.
Formatted abstract
1. Agricultural landscapes provide the essential ecosystem service of food to growing human populations; at the same time, agricultural expansion to increase crop production results in forest fragmentation, degrading many other forest-dependent ecosystem services. However, surprisingly little is known about the role that forest fragments play in the provision of ecosystem services and how fragmentation affects landscape multifunctionality at scales relevant to land management decisions.

2. We measured the provision of six ecosystem services (crop production, pest regulation, decomposition, carbon storage, soil fertility and water quality regulation) in soya bean fields at different distances from adjacent forest fragments that differed in isolation and size across an agricultural landscape in Quebec, Canada.

3. We observed significant effects of distance-from-forest, fragment isolation and fragment size on crop production, insect pest regulation, and decomposition.

4. Distance-from-forest and fragment isolation had unique influences on service provision for each of the ecosystem services we measured. For example, pest regulation was maximized adjacent to forest fragments, while crop production was maximized at intermediate distances-from-forest. As a consequence, landscape multifunctionality depended on landscape heterogeneity: the range of field and forest fragment types present.

5. We also observed strong negative and positive relationships between ecosystem services that were more prevalent at greater distances-from-forest.

6. Synthesis and applications. Our study is one of the first to empirically measure and model the effects of forest fragments on the simultaneous provision of multiple ecosystem services in an agro-ecosystem at the landscape and field scales relevant to landowners and managers. Our results demonstrate that forest fragments, irrespective of their size, can affect the provision of multiple ecosystem services in surrounding fields, but that this effect is mediated by fragment isolation across the landscape. Our results also suggest that managing habitat fragmentation and landscape structure will improve our ability to optimize ecosystem service provision and create multifunctional agricultural landscapes.
Keyword Agriculture
Decomposition
Ecosystem services
Forest fragmentation
Isolation
Landscape management
Multifunctional landscapes
Pest regulation
Synergies
Trade-offs
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
Non HERDC
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 37 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sat, 06 Sep 2014, 02:35:59 EST by Matthew Mitchell on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management