Mapping ecosystem services in Colombia: Analysis of synergies, trade-offs and bundles in environmental management

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  • Aracely Burgos-Ayala
  • Amanda Jiménez-Aceituno
  • Megan Meacham
  • Daniel Rozas-Vásquez
  • María Mancilla García
  • Juan Rocha
  • Alexander Rincón-Ruíz

Ecosystem services (ES) have gained significant attention in recent years from the global environmental initiatives that involve science and policy. Multiple scholars have analyzed how ES are integrated with environmental policies, plans, and strategic assessments. However, there is a lack of information on how countries translate these policies, plans and assessments into concrete environmental management actions that integrate an explicit ES approach. To help fill this gap, we analyze how the Colombian Regional Autonomous Corporations (CARs) have used the ES approach in their environmental management projects implemented between 2004 and 2015. This study aims to analyze the type and diversity of ES managed by the CARs, as well as the synergies, trade-offs, and bundles of ES prioritized by them. We used content analysis of the CARs reports and statistical analysis to explore whether CARs explicitly use the ES concept. Our results showed that provisioning, regulating, and cultural ES were similarly prioritized by the CARs, however, explicit mention of ES was limited. Regulating services showed remarkable potential for synergies, and there was a pattern of trade-offs between cultural and some regulating and provisioning services. We found three bundles of ES: “Restoration and conservation of agrosystems”, “Mosaic of services” and “Farming and fibers” occupying, respectively, 9, 36 and 55% of the total area of Colombia. Our findings show that multiple ES are targeted and affected by environmental management actions. The contribution of this study has the potential to inform adequately policy decisions to be used in environmental management and planning practices to prioritize areas for maximizing ES provision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101608
JournalEcosystem Services
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript for their insightful and constructive suggestions. We thank Aura Marcela Torres and Martha Parada for their assistance during data collection. AJA would like to acknowledge support from the Sida funded Guidance for Resilience in the Anthropocene: Investments for Development (GRAID) project at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden. MGM and MM are funded by the “Fundamental Research in Biosphere-based Sustainability Science” program, a strategic research collaboration and postdoc program between the Stockholm Resilience Centre and The Natural Capital Project (Stanford University) funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, Sweden. JR was supported by FORMAS grant 942-2015-731. DRV appreciates the support provided by ANID through the Fondecyt project 11200733 and the ProFondecyt-UCT 2019PF-DR-06. ABA was supported by the scholarship “Pasaporte a la Ciencia 2019” within the Scientific Colombian Program (Reto-país “Uso sostenible de la biodiversidad, desarrollo económico y competitividad“), and appreciates the support provided by the FONDECYT-1230750 by ANID, and the POSTDOC_DICYT 092375ZR_Postdoc (Vicerrectoría de Investigación, Desarrollo Innovación, Universidad de Santiago de Chile). All authors are grateful to their families for being patient and understanding with the high demands of time and energy required to produce this (and other) publication. Open access funding provided by Stockholm University, Sweden.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024

    Research areas

  • Bundles, Environmental management, Environmental policy, Social-ecological systems, Synergies, Trade-offs
  • Biology
  • Ecosystems Research