Land use change and availability of ecosystem services in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest


The importance of quantifying existing ecosystem services, assessing the impacts of various land use decisions and ultimately evaluating the overall costs and benefits of different land use patterns having internalized ecosystem services, is now widely recognized and such work is at the forefront of current landscape management planning. We aim to quantify ecosystem services derived from different land uses within the Atibainha Reservoir catchment in Brazil, determine the spatial distribution of ecosystem services and quantify the impacts of land use changes on the provision of ecosystem services. Four ecosystem services were considered: carbon sequestration, mitigation of sediment delivery into the reservoir, purification of water and maintenance of soil fertility. Results indicate strong increase in the provision of ecosystem services among the main land uses in the following order: urban area/bare soil; pastures; plantation of eucalyptus and native forests. The most important services provided by native forests, when compared with bare soil, were carbon sequestration and prevention of sedimentation, with an additional 864 569 tons of carbon stored in forest biomass in 30 years, and prevention of 244 511 tons of sediment delivery into the reservoir per year, respectively, from 7624 ha of lands around the reservoir. Spatial variation in the provision of ecosystem services were mapped to develop a tool to support decision making at the landscape scale. Results and maps from the decision support tool can support policies that ensure effective land-use planning and can serve as the basis for the development of payment for ecosystem service schemes in the region. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Ditt, E.H., Mourato, S., Ghazoul, J., and Knight, J. June 2010. Land use change and availability of ecosystem services in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Land Degradation & Development, v.21, pp.591-603.