This new paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters deals with measuring ecosystem multifunctionality across scales.
Multifunctionality refers to the capacity of an area to supply multiple ecosystem functions or services. While many conceptual and methodological advances have focused on defining and quantifying multifunctionality, the challenge of dealing with cross-scale dynamics of multifunctionality remains open. This study proposes a new way of measuring multifunctionality across spatial scales, illustrated with a European-wide dataset of 18 ecosystem services. The authors’ assessment captures not only the diversity of ecosystem services supplied within each municipality (alpha-multifunctionality), but also the unique contribution of each municipality to the regional ecosystem service diversity (beta-multifunctionality). This cross-scale analysis helps better understanding the spatial distribution of ecosystem services, which is required to design management and policies at the right scale. The authors’ analysis shows that alpha-multifunctionality follows a latitudinal gradient across Europe and strongly decreases towards the city centers of metropolitan areas. By relating alpha- and beta-multifunctionality to land use intensity, they show that low-intensity management systems support higher ecosystem multifunctionality across Europe. Municipalities of low alpha-multifunctionality, however, often contribute significantly to regional multifunctionality, by providing ecosystem services of a specific value to the region. This method to measure both alpha- and beta-multifunctionality thus provides a new way to inform reconciliation of competing land uses when maximizing alpha-multifunctionality is not reasonable.
Authors: Hölting, L.; Jacobs, S.; Felipe-Lucia, M.R.; Maes, J.; Norström, A.V.; Plieninger, T.; Cord, A.F.;