Incorporating climate change into ecosystem service assessments and decisions: a review

Runting, Rebecca K., Bryan, Brett A., Dee, Laura E., Maseyk, Fleur J. F., Mandle, Lisa, Hamel, Perrine, Wilson, Kerrie A., Yetka, Kathleen, Possingham, Hugh P. and Rhodes, Jonathan R. (2017) Incorporating climate change into ecosystem service assessments and decisions: a review. Global Change Biology, 23 1: 28-41. doi:10.1111/gcb.13457

Author Runting, Rebecca K.
Bryan, Brett A.
Dee, Laura E.
Maseyk, Fleur J. F.
Mandle, Lisa
Hamel, Perrine
Wilson, Kerrie A.
Yetka, Kathleen
Possingham, Hugh P.
Rhodes, Jonathan R.
Title Incorporating climate change into ecosystem service assessments and decisions: a review
Journal name Global Change Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-2486
Publication date 2017-01-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/gcb.13457
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 23
Issue 1
Start page 28
End page 41
Total pages 14
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 2306 Global and Planetary Change
2304 Environmental Chemistry
2303 Ecology
2300 Environmental Science
Abstract Climate change is having a significant impact on ecosystem services and is likely to become increasingly important as this phenomenon intensifies. Future impacts can be difficult to assess as they often involve long timescales, dynamic systems with high uncertainties, and are typically confounded by other drivers of change. Despite a growing literature on climate change impacts on ecosystem services, no quantitative syntheses exist. Hence, we lack an overarching understanding of the impacts of climate change, how they are being assessed, and the extent to which other drivers, uncertainties, and decision making are incorporated. To address this, we systematically reviewed the peer-reviewed literature that assesses climate change impacts on ecosystem services at subglobal scales. We found that the impact of climate change on most types of services was predominantly negative (59% negative, 24% mixed, 4% neutral, 13% positive), but varied across services, drivers, and assessment methods. Although uncertainty was usually incorporated, there were substantial gaps in the sources of uncertainty included, along with the methods used to incorporate them. We found that relatively few studies integrated decision making, and even fewer studies aimed to identify solutions that were robust to uncertainty. For management or policy to ensure the delivery of ecosystem services, integrated approaches that incorporate multiple drivers of change and account for multiple sources of uncertainty are needed. This is undoubtedly a challenging task, but ignoring these complexities can result in misleading assessments of the impacts of climate change, suboptimal management outcomes, and the inefficient allocation of resources for climate adaptation.
Keyword Carbon sequestration
Cumulative impacts
Decision making
Food provision
Global change
Global warming
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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