The montane multifunctional landscape: How stakeholders in a biosphere reserve derive benefits and address trade-offs in ecosystem service supply

Heinze, Alan; Bongers, Frans; Ramírez Marcial, Neptalí; García Barrios, Luis; Kuyper, Thomas W.


Ecosystem service (ES) assessments, which make an explicit link between nature and people's well-being, can support the management of natural protected areas that face complex and persistent sustainability challenges. We present a case study of ES supply in a biosphere reserve community in southern Mexico. We aimed to identify stakeholder-relevant ES and to analyse trade-offs between them. After engaging local stakeholders, we conducted a biophysical assessment of ES supply and associations across four different land uses. Closed forests and riparian areas, which occurred in different parts of the landscape, supplied high levels of multiple ES. Furthermore, co-produced farming goods and services that supported local livelihoods and conservation-oriented ecosystem services coincided in these four habitats. Together, these habitats provided a diverse array of ES across the landscape, indicating that stakeholders benefited from a multifunctional landscape. At the same time significant trade-offs were found in the supply of forage cover against most other ES, especially tree-based goods and services. These trade-offs revealed conflicts between agricultural land and neighbouring open forests and riparian areas, as well as opposed service demands among beneficiary groups. To address these trade-offs, stakeholders agreed on enhancing forest benefits in order to support both local livelihoods and conservation goals.