Effects of land-use change on wetland ecosystem services: A case study in the Doñana marshes (SW Spain)

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Land-use change is a major driver behind the loss of ecosystem services. We assessed changes in ecosystem services from land-use conversions during the period 1918-2006 in the Doñana marshland and estuary in southwestern Spain, one of the largest European wetlands. We contrasted those results with social perceptions of ecosystem services trends using two techniques (expert judgment by a multidisciplinary scientific panel and semi-structured interviews of locals and visitors). The results show that by 2006, (1) 70.5% of the natural or semi-natural land covers had been converted to intensive agriculture and other mono-functional uses, hampering the performance of regulating services and (2) 31% of the wetland area had been strictly protected, affecting cultural and provisioning services. Our results show that land-use changes have led to a polarized territorial matrix exhibiting fundamental trade-offs in ecosystem service supply, where provisioning services produced for exportation and sale in the market, such as cash crops and fiber, have been enhanced at the expense of regulating services, such as hydrological regulation, flood buffering, and habitats for species and specific cultural and provisioning services used traditionally by the locals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Pages (from-to)160-174
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 02.2014
Externally publishedYes