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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331885


Location: Range Management Research

Title: Rangeland ecosystem services: Nature's supply and humans' demand

item SALA, OSVALDO - Arizona State University
item YAHDJIAN, L - University Of Buenos Aires
item Havstad, Kris
item AGUIAR, M - University Of Buenos Aires

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2016
Publication Date: 3/1/2017
Citation: Sala O.E., Yahdjian L., Havstad K., Aguiar M.R. 2017. Rangeland Ecosystem Services: Nature’s Supply and Humans’ Demand. In: Briske D. (eds) Rangeland Systems. Springer Series on Environmental Management. Springer, Cham. Book Chapter. p. 467-489.

Interpretive Summary: Ecosystem services are the benefits that society receives from nature. Some services are harvested as goods, such as food and wood. Other services are benefits such as clean water, recreational spaces and the cycling of nutrients such as nitrogen. The supply of these ecosystem services from any landscape is mostly determined by factors such climate, soils as well as historical land-use. Human demand represents the other side of the ecosystem services equation, which is related to the social beneficiaries. Human consumption of resources and utilization of services that are supplied by land depends upon both the capacity of a landscape to produce these services, but also the societal value and need placed on those resources and services. Demand for ecosystem services changes depending upon the individuals or groups of individuals who have an interest in a specific landscape and the ecosystem services it provides. The supply of each ecosystem service is based mostly on the land’s potential for any service and the use-history that could have affected that potential. The demand for each ecosystem service is often different for each group of beneficiaries or stakeholders. There is not a universal optimal strategy for land management since both demands for ecosystem services and the supply of ecosystem services change through time and with the ecological capacities of any landscape. However, supplies of services can be estimated given our existing knowledge of the ecological capacities of any specific land type. We can then inform users of those services which demands can be met, or not met, and provide an ecological basis for decisions on how to allocate supplies of any service to meet those demands.

Technical Abstract: Ecosystem services are the benefits that society receives from nature and they include the regulation of climate, the pollination of crops, the provisioning of intellectual inspiration and recreational environment, as well as many essential goods such as food, fiber, and wood. Rangeland ecosystem services are often valued differently by different stakeholders interested in livestock production, water quality and quantity, biodiversity conservation, or carbon sequestration. The supply of ecosystem services depends on biophysical conditions and land use history and it is assessed using surveys of soils, plants and animals. The demand for ecosystem services depends on educational level, income and location of residence; and it is assessed with stakeholder interviews and questionnaires/surveys. Rangeland management affects the supply of different ecosystem services by producing tradeoffs among services. Tradeoffs result when an increase in one service is associated with a decline in another and win-win situations occur when an increase in one service is associated with an increase in other services. This chapter provides a conceptual framework in which range management decisions are seen as a challenge of reconciling supply and demand of ecosystem services.