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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management Vol. 8, No. 3, September 2012, 187–189 EDITORIAL Evidence and people’s perceptions of the importance of biodiversity and integrated land use management for ecosystem services and local livelihoods Pollination by bees, and other species, has been proven that were published earlier by Gos and Lavorel (2012). The extremely important for the production of many agricul- authors studied people’s perceptions and expectations of tural crops (see Ricketts et al. (2008) and Farwig et al. forest ecosystem services in the French Alps region and (2009) for an overview). Recent studies have mapped also related this to what it would mean for biodiversity hot and modelled pollination on a regional (Petz and Van spots. Similarly to Jalilova and Vacik (2012), the authors Oudenhoven 2012) and larger scale (Schulp et al. 2012), emphasized the importance of taking into account people’s but it has to be noted that most of these models are heav- views on ecosystem services and biodiversity. ily dependent on secondary data and making generalised Perhaps the most studied ecosystem service is carbon assumptions. Pollination studies have unearthed a few sequestration. In order to provide reliable information of trends, for instance relationships between pollination rate forests’ potential to sequester carbon, it is crucial to esti- and fruit set as well as pollinators’ distance to ﬁelds and mate how the carbon stocks of forests have changed over crop yield increase (Ricketts et al. 2008). However, there time (Bala et al. 2007). Land use practices such as logging, is still a need for primary data on pollinators’ diversity agro-forestry and others have a considerable effect on for- contributions, drivers of pollinators’ population numbers est ecology and diversity and consequently on its carbon and regional differences of crop yield increase as a result stock (Edwards et al. 2010). Asase et al. (2012) compared of pollination (Farwig et al. 2009). In this issue, Munyuli the long-term effect of logging on tree diversity and carbon (2012) describes a study on the inﬂuence of drivers to polli- stocks in forests in Ghana. It was found that tree diversity nators’ abundance and diversity on different spatial scales, of both smaller and larger trees was signiﬁcantly higher in ranging from microscale to regional scale. By comparing unlogged forests. In addition, the carbon stock was larger primary data from 30 different coffee farms in Uganda, in unlogged forests as well, although it has to be noted Munyuli was able to deduce that distance to forest and/or that this large difference was not signiﬁcant. More long- wetlands and intensity of farming were negatively corre- term studies like this should be conducted in order to better lated with the potential yield of coffee ﬁelds. In addition, quantify the impact of logging and other land use practices the effects of different pollination treatments were com- on forest biodiversity and carbon sequestration. pared to those of natural habitats. His study calls for the Land use also has a large inﬂuence on plant density establishment of coffee ﬁelds in the vicinity of natural and diversity in the Ugandan savannah, as was shown habitats as well as establishing pollinator-friendly farms. by Kalema and Witkowski (2012). In a savannah ecosys- The ﬁndings of this study can help farmers to consider tem where charcoal production dominated, plant density best practices that guarantee sufﬁciently high numbers of was higher compared to areas that were used primarily pollinators and thus stable coffee harvests. for cultivation and grazing. The authors found not only The word ‘biodiversity’ can have many different mean- that species composition and diversity was strongly inﬂu- ings to people, even if they have considerable knowledge enced by land use, but also that unsustainable harvesting and are aware of the phenomenon. Jalilova and Vacik for charcoal and intensive land use resulted in generally (2012) studied local people’s understanding of biodiversity low woody species diversity and richness. Considering in a country of which the valleys and forests can be charac- the local people’s dependence on the ecosystem for char- terised as extremely rich in biodiversity: Kyrgyzstan. Fruits coal as well as other goods and services, these ﬁnd- and nuts are especially abundant and diverse in certain ings can help in developing more sustainable land use areas in Kyrgyzstan, but the biodiversity of walnut fruit management. trees is under pressure due to anthropogenic factors. Apart A study by Akwetaireho and Getzner (2010) quantiﬁed from occupation, the dependence on forest biodiversity was the value of ecosystem services that naturally functioning shown to have a strong inﬂuence on how biodiversity was wetlands near Lake Victoria (Uganda) provide. The fact perceived. Although local people were willing to conserve that wetlands are vital for local households has been sup- the forest biodiversity, most people also stated that their ported by many other studies, but it is important to realise current socio-economic situation left them with no choice that the contribution of services varies strongly per coun- but to exploit the walnut forests in a way that can only be try and region, depending on the local socio-economic and described as unsustainable. The ﬁndings by Jalilova and environmental context. This is underlined by a new study Vacik are all the more interesting when compared to results by Adekola et al. (2012), who quantiﬁed the contribution ISSN 2151-3732 print/ISSN 2151-3740 online © 2012 Taylor & Francis http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2012.716961 http://www.tandfonline.com 188 Editorial of provisioning services to local livelihoods by a relatively services to inform coastal and marine planning. In this small (1 km ) wetland in South Africa. Through a num- issue, Rees et al. (2012) have added two important ﬁnd- ber of interesting data collection approaches, the authors ings to the scientiﬁc literature. Their ‘service-orientated’ were able to estimate that the wetland’s contribution to framework helps decision-makers to grasp the complex local people’s income represented about 15% of the aver- linkages between ecological functioning and indirect ser- age 2006 household income. Moreover, it was found that vices, the latter being a category that is largely overlooked wetland services are essential for household subsistence in marine spatial planning. However, the authors also and social activities like providing gifts to neighbours and emphasize that it is extremely difﬁcult to isolate the con- relatives (values of these activities were not monetized). tribution of individual ecosystem services because of the Unfortunately, it was also shown that due to a lack of close linkages that can be found in the delivery path- alternative income sources, the wetland is being degraded, way. Mapping and valuing individual indirect ecosystem which in turn reduces the incomes generated by the wet- services would offer a limited picture on how this and land. More information on drivers of wetland degradation other closely related marine ecosystem services actually and how that impacts local communities can be found in contribute to human well-being. From Rees et al. (2012) earlier work by Adekola and Mitchell (2011) and Iftekhar it becomes clear that numerous challenges remain in the (2008). assessment of MPAs’ ecosystem functioning and, in line Forested areas are not only important on large spa- with that, the planning and management of MPAs. tial scales. In urban, densely populated areas forests Alexander P.E. van Oudenhoven and Rudolf S. de Groot also have the potential to provide important ecosystem Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen services. Literature on urban ecosystem services, parti- University, Wageningen, The Netherlands cularly local climate regulation, air quality regulation and carbon sequestration, is scarce due to various reasons. The uncertainties related to air quality regulation assessments References (O , PM10 and NO , among others) are considerable, and Adekola O, Mitchell G. 2011. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Sep 1, 2012
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