Land use intensification causes the spatial contraction of woody-plant based ecosystem services in southwestern Ethiopia

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Integrating biodiversity conservation and food production is vital, particularly in the tropics where many landscapes are highly biodiverse, and where people directly depend on local ecosystems services that are linked to woody vegetation. Thus, it is important to understand how woody vegetation and the benefits associated with it could change under different land-use scenarios. Using a comprehensive, interdisciplinary study in southwestern Ethiopia, we modeled current and future availability of woody plant-based ecosystem services under four scenarios of landscape change. Land-use scenarios with intensified food or cash crop cultivation would lead to the contraction of woody-plant based ecosystem services from farmland to forest patches, increasing pressure on remaining forest patches. This raises questions about the viability of conventional intensification combined with land sparing—where conservation and production are separated—as a viable strategy for conservation in tropical landscapes where woody-plant based ecosystem services are vital to the lives of local communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number263
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 12.2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for funding by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the project \u201CTowards a Sustainable Bioeconomy: A Scenario Analysis for Jimma Coffee Landscape in Ethiopia\u201D (Project Number 63300083). The open access publication costs were funded by the German Research Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.