AgriFood-Published article

Optimizing intermediate ecosystem services in agriculture using rules based on landscape composition and configuration indices (published in Ecological Economics)

Authors: R.-G. Cong  Johan Ekroos  Henrik G Smith  Mark Brady 

Important intermediate ecosystem services (ES) such as crop pollination and biological control of pests, which underpin the final ES agricultural yields, are mediated by mobile organisms that depend on availability of habitat and its arrangement in the landscape. It has been suggested that landscape-scalemanagement (LSM) of habitat in a multi-farm setting results in higher provisioning of such ES compared to farm-scale management (FSM). However, to achieve the LSMsolution, farmers' land-use decisions need to be coordinated. To this end,we develop rules based on novel landscape composition and configuration indices. Wemodel farmers' interdependencies through ES in an agent-based model (ABM) and optimize land use at both the farm and landscape scales for comparison. Our analysis is based on a simple artificial landscape with homogeneous soil quality and uses crop pollination as an illustrative ecosystem service. We consider habitat configuration at the field scale. Our rules demonstrate that the coordinated solution is characterized by a higher degree of habitat availability and a configuration of habitat that is dispersed rather than agglomerated.We tested these rules over a range of assumptions about ecological parameter values and suggest that such rules could be used to improve governance of ES in agricultural landscapes.


R.-G. Cong

Johan Ekroos

Henrik G Smith

Mark Brady