Ecosystem Services in a changing Europe: improving projections through an enhanced integrated assessment approach

14:00 Wednesday 29 May


Room S13


Robert Dunford (United Kingdom) 1,2; Bjorn Beckmann (United Kingdom) 1; Paula Harrison (United Kingdom) 1

1 - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology; 2 - University of Oxford

Our future food supply, the air and water we require, and human wellbeing more generally, are increasingly recognised as being dependent on the careful management of the natural world. However, individual land-use sectors such as agriculture, forestry and urban development have their own priorities, many of which conflict with each other. In addition, the climate is changing, and societies may follow a range of different socio-economic development pathways and adaptive strategies. There is a pressing need for holistic understanding of the potential effects of our decisions on the natural world and its capacity to provide a wide range of life support services under a variety of climatic and socio-economic futures.

Integrated assessment modelling provides a mechanism for ecosystem service (ES) assessment across a range of linked land-use sectors. However, to date, such models only address a limited number of ES. Matrix-based approaches improve the categorical resolution of ES assessment by linking land-use classes to expected levels of supply and demand of a broad range of ES; a disadvantage is the simplistic assumption of uniform ES supply for each land use class, disregarding spatial and temporal variation, for example in agricultural yields under different climates and management regimes.

Here, we address the clear policy need for better information on the future of Europe’s ES by creating a hybrid between integrated modelling and land use matrix approaches in a way that allows future changes in the full range of ES to be calculated at the European scale.

We used the CLIMSAVE Integrated Assessment Platform 2 (IAP2) to model land use allocations and additional parameters for a range of Europe-specific future Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, combined with appropriate low- and high-end climate change scenarios. IAP2 takes cross-sectoral interactions into consideration and produces spatially explicit, model-driven quantifications of land use (e.g. forest cover, agricultural area) and additional parameters (e.g. irrigation usage, crop type and yield). We combined these outputs with a matrix of expert-based, land-use-linked values to extend the range of ES to a wide array of supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural services. The presentation assesses the range of potential ES provision for different futures and highlights trade-offs that occur between ES sections, stressing the importance of socio-economic change and adaptation even under worst-case scenarios. It makes clear the importance of considering decision implications across sectors and between regions when managing individual sectors to preserve future ES delivery.