When we cannot have it all: Ecosystem services trade-offs in the context of spatial planning
Spatial planning have to deal with trade-offs between various stakeholders' wishes and needs as part of planning and management of landscapes, natural resources and/or biodiversity. To make ecosystem services (ES) trade-off research more relevant for spatial planning, we propose an analytical framework, which puts stakeholders, their land-use/management choices, their impact on ES and responses at the centre. Based on 24 cases from around the world, we used this framing to analyse the
... and diversity of real-world ES trade-offs. They cover a wide range of tradeoffs related to ecosystem use: land-use change, management regimes, technical versus nature-based solutions, natural resource use, and management of species. The ES trade-offs studied featured a complexity that was far greater than what is often described in the ES literature. Influential users and context setters are at the core of the trade-off decision making, but most of the impact is felt by noninfluential users. Provisioning and cultural ES were the most targeted in the studied trade-offs, but regulating ES were the most impacted. Stakeholders' characteristics, such as influence, impact faced, and concerns can partially explain their position and response in relation to trade-offs. Based on the research findings, we formulate recommendations for spatial planning. Highlights • Stakeholder choices on ecosystem use are central in ES trade-off analysis. • ES trade-offs analysis needs to embrace the full complexity to be useful for spatial planning. • The impact of trade-offs is often related with the intensity of use of ecosystem. • Regulating ES are rarely the main focus of trade-offs, but often are more impacted than provisioning and cultural ES. • Responses to trade-offs depends on the level of influence and concern of stakeholders.