Assessing Ecosystem Service Trade-offs in Třeboňsko Biosphere Reserve, the Czech Republic
Ecosystem services represent the basic precondition of human existence and well-being. However, the conversion and degradation of ecosystems have resulted in substantial decrease in the provision of ecosystem services worldwide (MA 2005, Vitousek et al. 1997) and the importance of ecosystem service research for environmental decision-making has been widely recognised (Goldstein et al. 2010, Daily et al. 2009). Analysing the trade-offs among various ecosystem services helps to understand the full impact of landscape management, which is particularly important in valuable and vulnerable areas (Bennett and Balvanera 2007).
In the Czech Republic, Třeboňsko Protected Landscape Area (PLA) and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve represents a site unique for its high cultural and natural value and intensive interactions between nature and society (Pokorný et al. 2000). Třeboňsko is characterized by its historically formed cultural landscape and human-made water reservoirs (fishponds), but also by natural wetlands and peatbogs with high levels of biodiversity. However, the area is currently endangered by strong anthropogenic influence, e.g. intensive fishing and gravel mining. The demand for mineral resources, food production and recreation represents the most important drivers of landscape change in Třeboňsko and, as a result, the balance of ecosystem services provided by the landscape is likely to be disturbed in favour of provisioning services in the future.
The aim of our study is to assess provision of selected ecosystem services and their trade-offs in Třeboňsko. Since the accented production of provisioning services affects primarily the level of regulating ecosystem services (Raudsepp-Hearne et al. 2010, Bennett et al. 2009), we analysed the levels of carbon sequestration and water purification for various future landscape scenarios.
First, local stakeholders affecting the landscape of Třeboňsko were addressed and their preferences concerning future landscape development were investigated. Consequently, we created several scenarios of the area's potential future development, based on mineral mining, fish, bioenergy and recreation demand. Second, InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs) modelling tools were utilized to assess the level of selected ecosystem services for each scenario. This suite of models, based on ecological production functions and economic valuation methods, was designed within the Natural Capital Project to enable the quantification of ecosystem services and the assessment of trade-offs, associated with alternative landscape choices (Daily et al. 2009, Nelson et al. 2009, Tallis and Polasky 2009, Kareiva et al. 2011). The results of the study will be implemented by the Administration of Třeboňsko PLA and will thereby influence local landscape management. We present the final results of the study and experience gained during their implementation, which is associated with the current designation of LTSER Třeboňsko.
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