Mapping the Loss of Ecosystem Services in a Region Under Intensive Land Use Along the Southern Coast of South Africa | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
March 2019
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© 2019 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Intensive land use activities worldwide have caused considerable loss to many ecosystem services. The dynamics of these threats must be quickly investigated to ensure timely update of management strategies and policies. Compared with complex models, mapping approaches that use scoring matrices to link land use/land cover and landscape properties with ecosystem services are relatively efficient and easier to apply. In this study, scoring matrices are developed and spatially explicit assessments of five ecosystem services, such as erosion control, water flow regulation, water quality maintenance, soil quality maintenance, and biodiversity maintenance, are conducted for a region under intense land use along the southern coast of South Africa. The complex interaction of land use/land cover and ecosystem services within a particular landscape is further elucidated by performing a spatial overview of the high-risk areas that contribute to the loss of ecosystem services. Results indicate that both agricultural activities and urban development contribute to the loss of ecosystem services. This study reveals that with sufficient knowledge from previous literature and inputs from experts, the use of scoring matrices can be adapted to different regional characteristics. This approach can be improved by adding additional landscape properties and/or adapting the matrix values as new data become available.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Malherbe, Hanlie
Pauleit, Stephan
Lorz, Carsten


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