Ecosystem services (ESs) are the direct or indirect contribution of ecosystems to human welfare. Natural vegetation plays an important role in providing diverse ESs for human societies, but is decreasing rapidly due to human-driven land use change, especially rapid expansion of commercial plantations.
It is necessary to explore the relationship between vegetation types and their supply capacity of ESs, so as to formulate detailed natural vegetation protection plans. Previous studies have not paid sufficient attention to quantify variations in ESs supply between altitude-associated vegetation types.
In a study published in Science of The Total Environment, researchers from Hohai University and Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) tried to quantify variations in ESs in diverse vegetation types associated with altitude gradients, and to devise effective vegetation protection schemes to ensure ESs provision.
InVEST models and statistical methods were used to identify similarities or differences in ESs provision between different vegetation types, and explore spatial differences in ESs at different altitudes in the Xishuangbanna region.
The researchers presented a quantitative method for determining vegetation ESs supply, based on remote sensing technology and spatial statistical methods.
The results showed that vegetation types in Xishuangbanna and their ESs supply capacity differed markedly, with the overall ESs supply capacity of natural forests exceeding that of commercial plantations.
The researchers suggest the introduction of stakeholder consultation mechanisms to implement ecological compensation and poverty alleviation by e-commerce, so as to reduce the economic pressure imposed on local communities by implementation of ecological protection measures.
BAI Yang Ph.D
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China