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Does agricultural intensification cause tipping points in ecosystem services?

Watson, S. C.L., Newton, A. C., Ridding, L., Evans, P.M., Brand, S., McCracken, M., Gosal, A. S. and Bullock, J.M., 2021. Does agricultural intensification cause tipping points in ecosystem services? Landscape Ecology, 36, 3473-3491.

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2021_Article_.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1007/s10980-021-01321-8


Context: Agricultural intensification is being widely pursued as a policy option to improve food security and human development. Yet, there is a need to understand the impact of agricultural intensification on the provision of multiple ecosystem services, and to evaluate the possible occurrence of tipping points. Objectives: I.To quantify and assess the long-term spatial dynamics of ecosystem service (ES) provision in a landscape undergoing agricultural intensification at four time points 1930, 1950, 1980 and 2015.II.Determine if thresholds or tipping points in ES provision may have occurred and if there are any detectable impacts on economic development and employment. Methods: We used the InVEST suite of software models together with a time series of historical land cover maps and an Input–Output model to evaluate these dynamics over an 85-year period in the county of Dorset, southern England. Results: Results indicated that trends in ES were often non-linear, highlighting the potential for abrupt changes in ES provision to occur in response to slight changes in underlying drivers. Despite the fluctuations in provision of different ES, overall economic activity increased almost linearly during the study interval, in line with the increase in agricultural productivity. Conclusions: Such non-linear thresholds in ES will need to be avoided in the future by approaches aiming to deliver sustainable agricultural intensification. A number of positive feedback mechanisms are identified that suggest these thresholds could be considered as tipping points. However, further research into these feedbacks is required to fully determine the occurrence of tipping points in agricultural systems.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Agriculture; Ecosystem services; Thresholds; InVEST modelling; Tipping points
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:35972
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:06 Sep 2021 15:17
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:29


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