Most methods to assess ecosystem services have been developed on large scales and depend on secondary data. Such data is scarce in rural areas with widespread poverty. Nevertheless, the population in these areas strongly depends on local ecosystem services for their livelihoods. These regions are in focus for substantial landscape investments that aim to alleviate poverty, but current methods fail to capture the vast range of ecosystem services supporting livelihoods, and can therefore not properly assess potential trade-offs and synergies among services that might arise from the interventions.
We present a new method for classifying village landscapes into social-ecological patches (landscape units corresponding to local landscape perceptions), and for assessing provisioning ecosystem services and benefits to livelihoods from these patches. We apply the method, which include a range of participatory activities and satellite image analysis, in six villages across two regions in Burkina Faso. The results show significant and diverse contributions to livelihoods from six out of seven social-ecological patches.
The results also show how provisioning ecosystem services, primarily used for subsistence, become more important sources of income during years when crops fail. The method is useful in many data poor regions, and the patch-approach allows for extrapolation across larger spatial scales with similar social-ecological systems.
Research news | 2018-03-22
As ocean temperatures rise globally, all eyes are on the Arctic’s unexploited region. But several issues must be considered before diving into unchartered fishing territory
Research news | 2018-03-20
A final reply to Montoya et. al's criticism of the planetary boundaries framework
General news | 2018-03-19
In 2017, we surpassed one thousand published articles in peer-reviewed journals and we hosted the fourth international conference on resilience and sustainability science. Another year to be proud of, we think
Research news | 2018-03-14
Amid an increase in megacities, changes in ecosystems far away can affect local access to freshwater
Research news | 2018-03-12
Ten essentials for guiding action-oriented research on energy transformation and climate change
Research news | 2018-03-09
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have been highlighting some of our women researchers at the centre. In our final profile this week, we showcase associate professor Beatrice Crona, whose work spans from small-scale fisheries governance to global drivers of change.