Grassland Ecosystem services can yield more value when managed efficiently
Three grassland ecosystem services have economic significance when managed at a regional and farm scale.
FREMONT, CA: Grasslands contribute to a large portion of the world's agricultural land, and how they are managed has an impact on ecosystem services. By leveraging how ecosystem services respond to spatial changes in environmental factors like altitude, slope, and soil quality, spatially tailored policy tools can boost the provision of ecosystem services. Most policy instruments, on the other hand, are focused on individual farms, where spatial disparities are minimal. They examine the economic value of three grassland ecosystem services (forage provision, carbon sequestration, and habitat preservation) and their variability in a 791 km2 Swiss region with 19,000 farmland parcels when managed at the regional and farm scales, respectively. Biophysical information on grassland ecosystem services and their economic values are combined in their spatially explicit bio-economic modeling approach.
They also discover that the variability of economic values derived from prices and willingness to pay estimates is greater than the economic advantages derived through spatial targeting that takes advantage of environmental differences across space. This means that in their case study region, pricing and/or societal demand heterogeneity of these three ecosystem services is more significant for grassland management than spatial heterogeneity. The framework used here enables for an ex-ante evaluation of economic advantages from spatial targeting, providing essential information for the deployment of incentive mechanisms addressing the nexus of food production and ecological service provision in grasslands.
Grasslands make up a significant portion of the world's agricultural land. They play an important role in global food security, and grassland ecosystems contribute to human well-being by providing a variety of ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, pollination, and habitat preservation. As a result, grassland management has a significant impact on global agriculture's long-term viability. However, there are numerous trade-offs in the provision of grassland ecosystem services, such as fodder and habitat preservation.
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