JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2019, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (12): 2516-2528.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20191203

• Special Forum of "Wetland" • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Determining the intensity of the trade-offs among ecosystem services based on production-possibility frontiers: Model development and a case study

YANG Wei(), JIN Yu-wan, SUN Li-xin, SUN Tao, SHAO Dong-dong   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2019-07-10 Revised:2019-10-20 Online:2019-12-28 Published:2019-12-28


We developed a four-step method to quantify trade-offs among ecosystem services: evaluate the targeted services at different spatial-temporal scales; identify whether a trade-off exists between pairs of ecosystem services; graph the production-possibility frontier curve; and use that curve to calculate the trade-off intensity between services. Using China's Yellow River Delta wetlands as a case study, we examined the potential trade-offs between material production, carbon storage, and habitat quality under three land-use scenarios (business-as-usual, protection, and exploitation). We found significant correlations between all pairs of the three ecosystem services. Trade-offs existed between material production and habitat quality in all scenarios, with the following order of intensity: protection (6.4) < 2015 status quo (21.8) < business as usual (22.5) < exploitation (24.3). Synergies always existed between habitat quality and carbon storage. The material production and carbon storage services were synergistic in the protection and business as usual scenarios, but they exhibited a trade-off in the exploitation scenario, with a trade-off intensity (59.9) comparable to that (60.3) in the 2015 status quo. The methodology can be flexibly used to analyze trade-offs and compare alternative management plans, thereby revealing the optimal management, which provides a scientific basis for achieving sustainable regional development and resource management.

Key words: trade-offs intensity, ecosystem services, production-possibility frontier, Yellow River Delta wetlands