Singh et al., Mapping cumulative impacts to coastal ecosystem services in BC

Singh, G.G., I.M.S. Eddy, B.S. Halpern, R. Neslo, T. Satterfield and K.M.A. Chan (2020). “Mapping cumulative impacts to coastal ecosystem services in British Columbia.” PLOS ONE 15(5): e0220092. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220092

Ecosystem services are impacted through restricting service supply, through limiting people from accessing services, and by affecting the quality of services. We map cumulative impacts to 8 different ecosystem services in coastal British Columbia using InVEST models, spatial data, and expert elicitation to quantify risk to each service from anthropogenic activities. We find that impact to service access and quality as well as impact to service supply results in greater severity of impact and a greater diversity of causal processes of impact than only considering impact to service supply. This suggests that limiting access to services and impacts to service quality may be important and understanding these kinds of impacts may complement our knowledge of impacts to biophysical systems that produce services. Some ecosystem services are at greater risk from climate stressors while others face greater risk from local activities. Prominent causal pathways of impact include limiting access and affecting quality. Mapping cumulative impacts to ecosystem services can yield rich insights, including highlighting areas of high impact and understanding causes of impact, and should be an essential management tool to help maintain the flow of services we benefit from.