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Making use of the ecosystem services concept in regional planning—trade-offs from reducing water erosion

Abstract

In this article we demonstrate how to integrate the ecosystem services concept into regional planning using the example of a case study in Saxony, Germany. We analysed how the reduction of water erosion as a regulating service impacts six other ecosystem services. Ecological integrity, provisioning services (provision of food and fibre, provision of biomass), regulating services (soil erosion protection, drought-risk regulation, flood regulation), and the cultural service landscape aesthetics are taken into account. Using a decision support software, we found that the greening of preferential discharge paths can reduce water erosion by 2–7 %. The introduction of hedgerows and the change in the soil management system from tillage to no-till practices revealed a reduction in the total soil loss by 33 and 89 %, respectively. A combination of the three erosion control measures—greening, hedgerows, and no-till management—reduced the soil loss most efficiently by 92 %. We found synergies between the measures for reducing erosion and the provision of ecological integrity, of regulating and cultural ecosystem services. In contrast, the impact on provisioning services was slightly negative. For the land use planning in the case study region we recommend therefore a combination of greening, hedges, and management change. We found that the applied integrated ecosystem services assessment approach, in combination with stakeholder involvement in the scenario development, helped communicating cross-sectoral effects of different management strategies in a comprehensive way and therefore supports regional planning.

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Acknowledgments

We wish to thank the colleagues from the planning district “Oberes Elbtal–Osterzgebirge” for their input, support, and help. The project RegioPower is funded in the ERA-Net program Bioenergy/Woodwisdom by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, funding reference number 22019911(11NF199). REGKLAM (01LR0802B) is a project of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The case study was carried out with support of the project Klimafit, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development as well as the Federal Office of Building and Regional Planning in the framework of the MORO project (spatial development strategies for Climate Change).

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Frank, S., Fürst, C., Witt, A. et al. Making use of the ecosystem services concept in regional planning—trade-offs from reducing water erosion. Landscape Ecol 29, 1377–1391 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-014-9992-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-014-9992-3

Keywords

  • Saxony
  • Decision support system
  • Soil management
  • Land use change
  • Landscape structure