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Natural CapitalTheory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services$
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Peter Kareiva, Heather Tallis, Taylor H. Ricketts, Gretchen C. Daily, and Stephen Polasky

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588992

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588992.001.0001

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How much information do managers need? The sensitivity of ecosystem service decisions to model complexity

How much information do managers need? The sensitivity of ecosystem service decisions to model complexity

Chapter:
(p.264) Chapter 15 How much information do managers need? The sensitivity of ecosystem service decisions to model complexity
Source:
Natural Capital
Author(s):

Heather Tallis

Stephen Polasky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588992.003.0015

This chapter compares simple and complex models of ecosystem service provision and spatial distribution for carbon storage and sequestration and crop pollination. Carbon stock estimates from the two models agreed well across multiple scenarios of land use in the Willamette Basin, Oregon. Estimates diverged much farther into the future, with the simpler model providing a more conservative estimate. The results also showed good agreement between estimates of pollination levels of watermelon in the California Central Valley (R2 = 0.99). Some divergence between estimates in the tails of the pollinator index distribution suggest that the simple model is most appropriate in landscapes where the pollinator community is not very diverse or where pollinators have similar habitat preferences. Managers selecting priority areas (represented by areas within the top quartile of service provision) for carbon or pollination investments would likely make the same decisions with either the simple or complex model, as the spatial patterns predicted by both simple and complex models aligned well. The question of whether simple or complex models better represent reality cannot be answered until ecosystem services become widely and regularly monitored.

Keywords:   model complexity, crop pollination, carbon storage, carbon sequestration, ecosystem based management, priority areas, land use management, zoning, spatial planning

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