TitleSpatial interactions among ecosystem services in an urbanizing agricultural watershed
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsQiu, JX, Turner, MG
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Start Page12149

Understanding spatial distributions, synergies, and tradeoffs of multiple ecosystem services (benefits people derive from ecosystems) remains challenging. We analyzed the supply of 10 ecosystem services for 2006 across a large urbanizing agricultural watershed in the Upper Midwest of the United States, and asked the following: (i) Where are areas of high and low supply of individual ecosystem services, and are these areas spatially concordant across services? (ii) Where on the landscape are the strongest tradeoffs and synergies among ecosystem services located? (iii) For ecosystem service pairs that experience tradeoffs, what distinguishes locations that are "win-win" exceptions from other locations? Spatial patterns of high supply for multiple ecosystem services often were not coincident; locations where six or more services were produced at high levels (upper 20th percentile) occupied only 3.3% of the landscape. Most relationships among ecosystem services were synergies, but tradeoffs occurred between crop production and water quality. Ecosystem services related to water quality and quantity separated into three different groups, indicating that management to sustain freshwater services along with other ecosystem services will not be simple. Despite overall tradeoffs between crop production and water quality, some locations were positive for both, suggesting that tradeoffs are not inevitable everywhere and might be ameliorated in some locations. Overall, we found that different areas of the landscape supplied different suites of ecosystem services, and their lack of spatial concordance suggests the importance of managing over large areas to sustain multiple ecosystem services.