We are living in a period of massive global change. This rate of change may be almost without precedent in geologic history (1). Even the most remote areas of the planet are influenced by human activities. Modern landscapes have been highly modified to accommodate a growing human population that the United Nations has forecast to peak at 9.1 billion by 2050. Over this past century, reliance on services from ecosystems has increased significantly and, over past decades, sustainability of our modern, intensively managed ecosystems has been a topic of serious international concern (1). Numerous papers addressing a particular land-use change effect on specific ecosystem services have recently been published. For example, there is currently great interest in increasing biofuel production to achieve energy inde- pendence goals and recent papers have independently focused attention on impacts of land-use change on single ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration (2) and many others (e.g., water availability, biodiversity, pollination). However, land-use change clearly affects myriad ecosystem services simultaneously. Hence, a broader perspective and context is needed to evaluate and understand interrelated affects on multiple ecosystem services, especially as we strive for the goal of sustainably managing global ecosystems. Similarly, land uses affect ecosystem services synergistically; single land-use evaluations may be misleading because the overall impact on an ecosystem is not evaluated. A more holistic approach would provide a means and framework to characterize how land-use change affects provisioning of goods and services of complete ecosystems.
Additional publication details
The need for simultaneous evaluation of ecosystem services and land use change
Environmental Science and Technology
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center