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ECU-MAES: A National Ecosystem Services Assessment and Mapping for the status and future development of ecosystem services and biodiversity - a fast track study in Ecuador
HongMi Koo
The goal of ECU-MAES is to conduct a joint mapping and assessment of the capacities to provide regulating, provisioning and cultural services as a fast track study to initiate deeper going joint research activities on biodiversity and ecosystem services hot spots, cold spots, losses, trade-offs and their impacts for Ecuador. Such spatially explicit information is currently missing to inform institutions and policies related to nature conservation and land use and land management planning.

Research objectives are:
  1. Identifying the most relevant ecosystem services and usable indicators from prevailing research, monitoring and other data for Ecuador through a national stakeholder process
  2. Setting up a national scale ecosystem services mapping and assessment through the use of models / digital information tools (GISCAME) referring to the above services and indicators; this includes an analysis of landscape metrics as a corrigendum for some regulating and cultural services
  3. Projecting the further development of ecosystem services provision under land use and cover changes using scenarios taken from participatory processes and literature research
  4. Deriving spatially explicit recent and future risk areas of high losses in ecosystem services and biodiversity for which governance instruments to counteract the losses will be identified

Research questions are:
  1. What are current capacities of Ecuadorian ecosystems (under consideration of their context to other ecosystems such as grasslands or agriculture) to provide ecosystem services?
  2. What capacities are hold by specific landscape types / biomes (Andes, Amazon region, Pacific coast region) considering their ecosystems and their landscape structure?
  3. Which ecosystem services are prevailing, which are threatened and would need conservation with regard to the three main regions?
  4. Which ecosystem services would affect biodiversity and other ecosystem services if they would be improved (trade-off with biodiversity and other ecosystem services)?
  5. Are biodiversity hotspots matching with ecosystem services hotspots (and coldspots)?
  6. What kind of measures (adapted land use and management) would support the conservation / enhancement of threatened ecosystem services; which would be the impacts for the overall balance of ecosystem services at regional scale?
  7. Which recommendations can be drawn for land users and owners, district managers and policy makers?
  8. How could be future ecosystem services provision under climate change, global land changes, tele-coupled markets and other stressors?

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