Scale and ecosystem services: how do observation, management, and analysis shift with scale—lessons from Québec

Author(s): Raudsepp-Hearne, C., G.D. Peterson
In: Ecology and Society 21(3): 16.
Year: 2016
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Landscapes, Stewardship
Link to centre authors: Peterson, Garry
Full reference: Raudsepp-Hearne, C., G.D. Peterson. 2016. Scale and ecosystem services: How do observation, management, and analysis shift with scale: Lessons from Québec. Ecology and Society 21(3): 16.


Ecosystem service assessment and management are shaped by the scale at which they are conducted; however, there has been little systematic investigation of the scales associated with ecosystem service processes, such as production, benefit distribution, and management. We examined how social-ecological spatial scale impacts ecosystem service assessment by comparing how ecosystem service distribution, trade-offs, and bundles shift across spatial scales. We used a case study in Québec, Canada, to analyze the scales of production, consumption, and management of 12 ecosystem services and to analyze how interactions among 7 of these ecosystem services change across 3 scales of observation (1, 9, and 75 km²). We found that ecosystem service patterns and interactions were relatively robust across scales of observation; however, we identified 4 different types of scale mismatches among ecosystem service production, consumption, and management. Based on this analysis, we have proposed 4 aspects of scale that ecosystem service assessments should consider.


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