Non-linear effects of natural and anthropogenic drivers on ecosystem services: Integrating thresholds into conservation planning

Delong Li, Wenfang Cao, Yuehan Dou, Shuyao Wu, Junguo Liu*, Shuangcheng Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ecosystem services (ESs) have been widely used for ecological protection and land spatial planning. Natural and anthropogenic drivers exhibit a strong dynamic coupling relationship with ESs. However, current ESs-related research focused on mapping the ESs spatially or investing the trade-offs and synergies relationship between ES, ignoring the nonlinear response of ESs to natural and anthropogenic drivers. Here we aimed to investigate the nonlinear effect of 14 potential drivers (8 natural and 6 anthropogenic) on the total value of six typical ESs (ESV). Taking Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration (BTH) in China as an example, we established 14 constrain lines and identified critical thresholds through the restricted cubic splines (RCS) regression. We found strong non-linear impacts of natural and anthropogenic drivers on ESV and critical thresholds existed among all the 14 constrain lines. The RCS plots showed that the overall ESV was kept at a high level before or after certain thresholds (e.g., altitude >687 m, slope >13.4°, NDVI >0.7, distance from water <31.2 km, etc.). We categorized these threshold combinations and found the potentially high ES delivery areas were mainly distributed in the Yanshan Mountian, accounting for approximately 5% of the total BTH region. These critical thresholds offer a new method to delineate conservation and restoration priority areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116047
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume321
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Critical threshold
  • Ecosystem service
  • Natural and anthropogenic driver
  • Restoration priority area
  • Restricted cubic spline

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