Changes of ecosystem service values in response to land use/land cover dynamics in Munessa-Shashemene landscape of the Ethiopian highlands

Mengistie Kindu, Thomas Schneider, Demel Teketay, Thomas Knoke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

385 Scopus citations

Abstract

Land use/land cover (LULC) dynamics alter ecosystem services values (ESVs), yet quantitative evaluations of changes in ESVs are seldom attempted. Using Munessa-Shashemene landscape of the Ethiopian highlands as an example, we showed estimate of changes in ESVs in response to LULC dynamics over the past four decades (1973-2012). Estimation and change analyses of ESVs were conducted, mainly, by employing GIS using LULC datasets of the year 1973, 1986, 2000 and 2012 with their corresponding global value coefficients developed earlier and our own modified conservative value coefficients for the studied landscape. The results between periods revealed a decrease of total ESVs from US$ 130.5 million in 1973, to US$ 118.5, 114.8 and 111.1 million in 1986, 2000 and 2012, respectively. While using global value coefficients, the total ESVs declined from US$ 164.6 million in 1973, to US$ 135.8, 127.2 and 118.7 million in 1986, 2000 and 2012, respectively. The results from the analyses of changes in the four decades revealed a total loss of ESVs ranging from US$ 19.3 million when using our own modified value coefficients to US$ 45.9 million when employing global value coefficients. Changes have also occurred in values of individual ecosystem service functions, such as erosion control, nutrient cycling, climate regulation and water treatment, which were among the highest contributors of the total ESVs. However, the value of food production service function consistently increased during the study periods although not drastically. All in all, it must be considered a minimum estimate of ESV changes due to uncertainties in the value coefficients used in this study. We conclude that the decline of ESVs reflected the effects of ecological degradation in the studied landscape and suggest further studies to explore future options and formulate intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume547
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Database
  • Ecosystem service functions
  • GIS
  • Natural capital
  • Remote sensing
  • Valuation
  • Value coefficients

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