Modelling effects of land management on ecosystem services (PhD project)

Land use change and intensification are the main drivers of ecosystem degradation. Knowledge on the effects of land management on ecosystem services is therefore essential to make more balanced decisions on land management and develop sustainable land management strategies and policies. However, current modelling approaches that aim to assist land use decision making generally do not include land management effects on ecosystem services or tackle only a limited range of services.

Aim of the project

To better incorporate the effect of land management on the provision of ecosystem services in models on multiple scales, ranging from local landscapes to global systems. The link between land management and ecosystem services is studied in several case studies. Two landscape level studies are carried out, the first one in the Groene Woud, The Netherlands ( and the second one in the Baviaanskloof Catchment, South Africa as part of the PRESENCE project ( These landscape level experiences are used to improve global scale model relationships. In cooperation with the PBL (Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency), land management is refined and its effect on ecosystem services  are integrated into the IMAGE-GLOBIO model, an integrated assessment modelling framework for global environmental change.

Methods applied

Literature review, mapping and modelling, and scenario analysis. Mapping and modelling is done in ArcGIS environment.

(Expected) results

Quantified, generic relationships between land management and the provision of ecosystem services which can be modelled. The model-output includes the spatial visualization of ecosystem services (maps) from landscapes to global ecosystems.

Realized and expected published outputs

  • A framework that links land management to the provision of ecosystem services and provides a base for quantification and modelling
  • Eight ecosystem functions and services mapped in a Dutch case study (Het Groene Woud)
  • Evaluation of land management alternatives by modelling eight ecosystem services under multiple land management (restoration) scenarios in a South African case study (Baviaanskloof Catchment))
  • Inclusion of land management to global ecosystem services models – the IMAGE-GLOBIO modelling frame