Spatio-temporal dynamics of regulating ecosystem services in Europe – The role of past and future land use change

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    Land use is a main driver for changes in supply and demand of regulating ecosystem services (ES). Most current ES inventories are static and do not address dynamics of ES supply resulting from historic and future land use change. This paper analyzes the role of land use change for the supply of two regulating services, flood regulation and climate regulation, in the European Union (EU) for the period between 1900 and 2000 as well as for four plausible scenarios of future land use change up to 2040. We show that spatio-temporal dynamics of climate regulation are high during this time period, and that future levels of climate regulation are higher than 100 years ago. For flood regulation, we show that increases in the demand over the past century, which are continued in the future scenarios, are the main contributor for spatial mismatches of supply and demand. Our results indicate that, in spite of land use change, the overall supply of the two regulating services is expected to be moderately stable, or to even increase in the coming decades. At the same time, demands for these services are rapidly increasing, and it is unlikely that projected supply is sufficient to meet these demands. The results also indicate that land use allocation that favors the supply of regulating services can be seen as a nature-based solution in which potentials for synergies between multiple ES can be operationalized.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-135
    JournalApplied Geography
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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