Partition of some key regulating services in terrestrial ecosystems: Meta-analysis and review.

Published in Science of The Total Environment, v. 562:47-60

Viglizzo, E.F., Jobbágy, E.G., Ricard, M.F., Paruelo, J.M.

Publication year 2016
IAI Program


IAI Project CRN3095


•The partition of regulatory services in ecosystems poses a major policy challenge.

•We examined how partitions occur at the hydrosphere-anthroposphere intersection.

•Five data sources were processed through meta-analysis.

•Humans can exert some control ES partitioning through aboveground biomass changes.

•Human control on ecosystem service partition increases at decreasing spatial scales.


Our knowledge about the functional foundations of ecosystem service (ES) provision is still limited and more research is needed to elucidate key functional mechanisms. Using a simplified eco-hydrological scheme, in this work we analyzed how land-use decisions modify the partition of some essential regulatory ES by altering basic relationships between biomass stocks and water flows. A comprehensive meta-analysis and review was conducted based on global, regional and local data from peer-reviewed publications. We analyzed five datasets comprising 1348 studies and 3948 records on precipitation (PPT), aboveground biomass (AGB), AGB change, evapotranspiration (ET), water yield (WY), WY change, runoff (R) and infiltration (I). The conceptual framework was focused on ES that are associated with the ecological functions (e.g., intermediate ES) of ET, WY, R and I. ES included soil protection, carbon sequestration, local climate regulation, water-flow regulation and water recharge. To address the problem of data normality, the analysis included both parametric and non-parametric regression analysis. Results demonstrate that PPT is a first-order biophysical factor that controls ES release at the broader scales. At decreasing scales, ES are partitioned as result of PPT interactions with other biophysical and anthropogenic factors. At intermediate scales, land-use change interacts with PPT modifying ES partition as it the case of afforestation in dry regions, where ET and climate regulation may be enhanced at the expense of R and water-flow regulation. At smaller scales, site-specific conditions such as topography interact with PPT and AGB displaying different ES partition formats. The probable implications of future land-use and climate change on some key ES production and partition are discussed.