Urbanization as a land use change driver of forest ecosystem services Academic Article


  • Land Use Policy


  • Land use change in the form of urbanization is a direct driver affecting the provision of ecosystem services from forests. To better understand this driver, we modeled the effects of urbanization on three regulating and provisioning ecosystem services in two disparate watersheds in Florida, USA. The study integrated available geospatial and plot-level forest inventory data to assess future changes in carbon storage, timber volume and water yield during a period of 57 years. A 2003–2060 urbanization and land use change scenario was developed using land cover data and a population distribution model. The Integrated Valuation and Ecosystem Services Tradeoffs model was then used to quantify changes in ecosystem services. Carbon storage was reduced by 16% and 26% in the urbanized 2060 scenario in both the rural Lower Suwannee and urban Pensacola Bay watersheds, respectively. Timber volume was reduced by 11% in the Lower Suwannee and 21% in the Pensacola Bay watershed. Water yield, however, increased in both watersheds by 4%. Specific sub-watersheds that were most susceptible to urbanization were identified and mapped and ecosystem service interactions, or trade-offs and synergies, are discussed. Findings reveal how urbanization drives the spatio-temporal dynamics of ecosystem services and their trade-offs. This study provides policy makers and planners an approach to better develop integrated modeling scenarios as well as designing mapping and monitoring protocols for land use change and ecosystem service assessments.

publication date

  • 2016-7-1


  • 54

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0264-8377

number of pages

  • 12

start page

  • 188

end page

  • 199