A framework for the assessment of ecosystem goods and services; a case study on lowland floodplains in England
The rural space is increasingly valued for the multiple ecosystem services that it can deliver. For example, priorities in many lowland floodplains in England have changed in recent years from a focus on agricultural production towards environmental quality and the management of flood risk, in part linked to climate change. Recent concerns about food security, however, may reinstate the importance of agricultural production in these fertile areas. This paper explores changes in rural land use in floodplains by measuring the range of ecosystem services provided under different management scenarios. Generic land use scenarios consider management options that focus on single objectives, such as maximising agricultural production, maximising biodiversity and maximising flood storage capacity. Indicators are developed to value the ecosystem services provided by floodplains under each scenario, identifying potential synergy and conflict. This integrated ecosystems approach can help to inform future policy and practice for floodplain management, hopefully in ways that appeal to key stakeholders.
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