Thursday, 20 June 2013

Ecosystem change in Dorset, 1930 to 2000 (#journal)

Mapping ecosystem service and biodiversity changes over 70 years in a rural English county

Biodiversity and ecosystem services continue to be compromised by land-use change, which is often focussed on enhancing agricultural production. This article maps changes between the 1930s and 2000 in climate change amelioration services (carbon storage), provisioning services (agriculture and forestry) and plant species richness (biodiversity) for Dorset.

Land-use maps were combined with proxies of service delivery for the different habitats in the region. Biodiversity was mapped using plant survey data from the two periods. Overall, there were significant increases in agriculture and large losses in biodiversity, which reflect widespread intensification of land use. But there was no change in Dorset's carbon store.

The carbon storage and the delivery of provisioning services both became more unequally distributed, indicating a change from relatively homogeneous delivery of services to concentration into hotspots. Various frameworks could be informed by our approach, including the ecosystem service aims of the EU biodiversity strategy and the newly created UK Nature Improvement Areas.

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