Location, configuration, distribution: the role of landscape pattern and diversity in ecosystem services

Professor Bridget Emmett, Dr Matthew Jones, Dr Laurence Jones, Dr David Cooper, Dr Jane Hall, Professor Bernard Cosby, Dr Bethana Jackson. CEH.

Much focus on ecosystem service upscaling relies on relationships between quantified services and specific land use classes or habitat types using habitats as a proxy for the unit of service delivery. However, most UK landscapes comprise mosaics at varying scales of a range of habitat types, particularly for agricultural landscapes which cover 75% of the UK. The diversity of habitats, also termed landscape complexity, itself can alter ecosystem services. Landscape complexity can compensate for reduced species richness in delivery of services in agricultural landscapes, while the options for sustainable management to have an effect are greatest in landscapes of intermediate complexity. In this project we will evaluate how landscape complexity, as measured by diversity of habitats within it governs ecosystem service provision.

Agricultural viewThe overall aim of this project is to test the role of diversity of habitats and ecosystems, and their spatial configuration, at the landscape scale in the delivery of multiple ecosystem services.

We ask the following questions: 1) How does diversity of ecosystems or habitats at the landscape scale affect delivery of ecosystem services? 2) Does the spatial configuration, including size, pattern and location of habitats in the landscape affect delivery of ecosystem services?

We will test three of new generation ecosystem service models which operate at the landscape scale and support temporal and spatial process modelling routines: ARIES, INVEST  and LUCI. The three models treat organisation of the landscape in fundamentally different ways, and operate at different scales.