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Document: Projecting effects of land use change on human well being through changes in ecosystem services (Doc-418)

Yee, S.H., Paulukonis, E., Simmons, C., Russell, M., Fullford, R., Harwell, L., and L.M. Smith
Projecting effects of land use change on human well being through changes in ecosystem services
Document Type
Ecological Modelling
Changing patterns of land use, temperature, and precipitation are expected to impact ecosystem se1vices, including water quality and quantity, buffering of extreme events, soil quality, and biodiversity. Scenario ana­ lyses that link such impacts on ecosystem se1vices to human well-being may be valuable in anticipating potential consequences of change that are meaningful to people living in a community. Ecosystem se1vices provide munerous benefits to community well-being, including living standards, health, cultural fulfillment, education, and connection to nature. Yet assessments of impacts of ecosystem se1vices on human well-being have largely focused on human health or moneta1y benefits (e.g. market values). This study applies a human well-being modeling framework to demonsffate the potential impacts of alternative land use scenarios on multi-faceted components of human well-being through changes in ecosystem se1vices (i.e., ecological benefits functions). The modeling framework quantitatively defines these relationships in a way that can be used to project the influence of ecosystem se1vice flows on indicators of human well-being, alongside social se1vice flows and economic se1vice flows. Land use changes are linked to changing indicators of ecosystem se1vices through the application of ecological production functions. The approach is demonstrated for two future land use scenarios in a Florida watershed, representing different degrees of population growth and environmental resource protection. Increasing rates of land development were almost universally associated with declines in ecosystem se1vices indicators and associated indicators of well-being, as natural ecosystems were replaced by impe1vious surfaces that depleted the ability of ecosystems to buffer air pollutants, provide habitat for biodiversity, and retain rainwater. Scenarios with increases in indicators of ecosystem se1vices, however, did not necessarily translate into increases in indicators of well-being, due to cova1ying changes in social and economic se1vices indicators. The approach is broadly ffansferable to other communities or decision scenarios and se1ves to illustrate the potential impacts of changing land use on ecosystem se1vices and human well-being.
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