Land conversion affects the delivery of ecosystem goods and services. In this study, we used a 50 years time
series of land cover maps to assess the potential impacts of forest cover changes on ecosystem services.
A multi-source data integration strategy was followed to reduce inconsistencies in land cover change
detection that result from the comparison of historical aerial photographs and satellite images. Our forest
cover change analysis highlighted a shift from net deforestation to net reforestation in the early 1990s,
consistent with the forest transition theory. When taking the nature of forest cover changes into account,
our data show that the areal increase of the forested area was not associated with an improvement in
ecological conditions. The overall capacity of the landscape to deliver ecosystem services dropped steadily
by 16% over the 50 years’ study period. Conversion of native forests to agricultural land was associated
with the strongest decline in ecosystem services. Conversion of natural grasslands into pine plantations
mostly led to negative and probably irreversible impacts on the delivery of ecosystem services. Conversion
of degraded agricultural lands into pine plantations led to an improvement in ecological conditions.
An effective spatial targeting of forestation programs has the potential to maximize the environmental
benefits that forest plantations may offer while minimizing their environmental harm.
Exotic tree plantations (pine). “From the 1980s onwards, exotic tree species (mostly eucalyptus and pine) were increasingly used for plantation forests that now cover extensive areas “ Planting of pine motivated by need for quick revenue for farmers, increase economic benefits from grassland landscapes. The government supports/incentivizes afforestation for carbon credit schemes “While the ecological benefits provided by natural recovery in comparison to mono-specific plantations of exotic tree species are undoubtedly greater (Table 7), afforestation with pines was still largely preferred by local farmers. Pine plantations were mainly located in páramo grasslands (64%) and agricultural lands (35%) (Fig. 5).” “Forest plantations were already promoted by the government in the 1960s. The first patches of forest plantations appeared in the Pangor catchment in 1977. Forest plantations only began to appear at a relatively wide scale in Ecuador in the 1970s and 1980s through the establishment of governmental programs linking the Ministry of Agriculture (INEFAN, FONAFOR, Plan Bosque) with rural landowners (Farley, 2007, 2010)” “The goals of these first plantations were to meet the fuel wood demand and to restore degraded landscapes for small agricultural activities (Vanacker et al., 2003), while larger plantations were developed for industrial purposes like sawn-wood transformations (Farley, 2007). From the 1990s onwards, the extent and size of the exotic tree plantations increased rapidly, although the sources and amounts of funding provided by the governmental programs (such as the PLANFOR) started to decline (Granda, 2005; Farley, 2010). More recently, the major source of funding was coming from international programs aiming at mitigating climate change impacts through the generation of carbon credits like the Clean Development Mechanism of the UNFCCC (Farley, 2010).”
|Climate change impacts||Effect of Nbs on CCI||Effect measures|
|Soil erosion||Mixed results||1. Protection against water erosion - The protection against water erosion was evaluated on the basis of vegetation cover. The latter represents the effect of soil cover, plants, soil biomass and soil disturbing activities on erosion - Ref Molina et al. ; C-factor (%) 2. Erosion regulation a. The ability of land cover types to regulate soil erosion has been assessed based on 137Cs measurements realized by Henry et al. (2012) in a catchment located just north of the study site. Soil erosion within the last 50–60 years can be estimated from the 137Cs levels of topsoil material (Mabit et al., 2008; Henry et al., 2012).|
Pangor watershed, Western Andean Range; altitude between 1434 and 4333 m