Vrebos, D. (2020) Facilitating spatially-explicit assessments of ecosystem service delivery to support land use planning. One Ecosystem, 5: e50540, https://doi.org/10.3897/oneeco.5.e50540
Since the early 2000s, there have been substantial efforts to transform the concept of ecosystem services into practice. Spatial assessment tools are being developed to evaluate the impact of spatial planning on a wide range of ecosystem services. However, the actual implementation in decision-making remains limited. To improve implementation, tools that are tailored to local conditions can provide accurate, meaningful information. Instead of a generic and widely-applicable tool, we developed a regional, spatially-explicit tool (ECOPLAN-SE) to analyse the impact of changes in land use on the delivery of 18 ecosystem services in Flanders (Belgium). The tool incorporates ecosystem services relevant to policy-makers and managers and makes use of detailed local data and knowledge. By providing an easy-to-use tool, including the required spatial geodatasets, time investment and the learning curve remain limited for the user. With this tool, constraints to implement ecosystem service assessments in local decision-making are drastically reduced. We believe that region-specific decision support systems, like ECOPLAN-SE, are indispensable intermediates between the conceptual ecosystem service frameworks and the practical implementation in planning processes.
Keywords: Ecosystem services, decision support system, landscape planning, land use change, spatial analysis