Evaluating the ecological benefits of plantations in arid areas from the perspective of ecosystem service supply and demand-based on emergy analysis.

Affiliation

State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China; School of Natural Resources Science and Technology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Plantations can significantly improve the ecological environment of arid areas. However, in the arid area of Northwestern China, plantations consume several thousand cubic meters of water per hectare per year, which also has a negative effect. By evaluating the relationship between the supply and demand of ecosystem services, the positive and negative benefits of plantations can be effectively identified for regional sustainable development. This study took typical arid regions as examples and evaluated the changes in ecosystem services before and after the conversion of a desert shrub system to a plantation system based on emergy analysis. The relationship between the supply and demand of various ecosystem services from different stakeholder perspectives was investigated and combined with the degree of ecosystem service demand obtained from the participatory survey. Results showed the following. (1) The ecosystem services provided by vegetation increased, the ecosystem services provided by water resources decreased, and the total service decreased by 6.89E+17 sej. (2) The relationship between the supply and demand of ecosystem services provided by water resources was of the "low-high" type. Dust purification was of the "high-high" type, and carbon sequestration and soil conservation were of the "high-low" type. (3) From the perspective of citizens, the matching degrees of the supply and demand of dust purification and soil conservation services were 21.75% and 9.38% higher than those of farmers, respectively. From the perspective of farmers, the matching degrees of the supply and demand of water supply, water purification, power supply and sediment transport, and carbon sequestration were 9.90%, 10.96%, 3.22%, and 18.28% higher than those of citizens, respectively. In summary, attention should be given to the efficient use and conservation of water resources and the promotion of the coordinated development of ecosystem services by comparing the differences in matching degrees of supply and demand among different stakeholders when constructing plantations. Meanwhile, the distribution of water resources should be given attention to protect the water demand of citizens in a targeted manner for effectively improving the level of regional well-being.

Keywords

Ecosystem services,Plantation,Stakeholder,Supply and demand matching,

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