An integrated biophysical and ecosystem approach as a base for ecosystem services analysis across regions

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In an interconnected world, the ‘food system’ sustainability of any given region is increasingly dependent on ecosystem services originated from supporting regions in different parts of the world. However, commonly used research approaches, such as place based ecosystem service assessments and interregional biophysical accounting, have limited capacity to capture the complex interactions across regions. This research addresses this gap by integrating a global biophysical accounting of food crops with its related local ecosystem dis-services. It combines agricultural and ecosystem indicators to describe different classes of biophysical pressures and potential dis-services from growing 4 key agricultural staples exported to Israel from different agricultural areas around the world. Each class stands as a ‘functional region’ in which either a trade-off or a synergy exists between agricultural efficiency and environmental impact. The research finds that over half of Israel's crops supply was produced in areas with high soil loss potential, and almost 15% of it originates from areas with high water scarcity. It implies that changes to Israel's supply sources have the potential to reduce consumption related impacts on ecosystem services. The functional regions typology may be used as a global road map mediating interregional flows assessments with place-based ecosystem service assessments.




Fridman, D., & Kissinger, M. (2018). An integrated biophysical and ecosystem approach as a base for ecosystem services analysis across regions. Ecosystem Services, 31, 242–254.

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