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SCALEFORES: Scaling Rules For Ecosystem Service Mapping

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SCALEFORES (SCALEFORES: Scaling Rules For Ecosystem Service Mapping)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

Land is a limited resource that must fulfil multiple functions. The big question is, how can we meet growing human demand for resources and ensure human well-being, without impairing biodiversity and ecosystem functions?

Such questions necessitate a landscape ecological approach, on the principle that ecosystem composition, structure and function partially depend on the spatial (and temporal) context of the ecosystem (i.e. its landscape context).

In the SCALEFORES project we adopt a landscape ecological approach to study a wide range of ecosystem services. We do empirical analyses of existing biophysical and socioeconomic datasets across broad geographic regions, in addition to spatial simulation modelling, to understand how landscape context affects ecosystem service provision at multiple scales.

The understanding gained from this research should be useful in understanding how to design, protect, and enhance landscapes relative to ecosystem services at multiple scales, and to inform tools for mapping ecosystem services.
This first 30 months of SCALEFORES have focused on developing new statistical methods for understanding how the spatial scale of variables (such as the amount of forest within some distance of pond) affects the aspects of nature most important to people (ecosystem services or natural capital). We've come up with two new methods for acheiving this, and have tested them with data in Britain on invasive species, water quality and bird diversity, and are using the methods to better understand how to manage invasive bamboo in the forests of Japan.
Our new methods are well beyond the state of the art, as they mean we can now use the 'big data' available from satellites, surveys from government and citizen sciences to understand what management actions work in what places to maintain our ecosystem services and what ones don't. We're going to use our new methods to understand trade-offs - that is how do we manage our landscapes to get the things we want and need sustainably?