University of Oulu

Frederico Santarém, Jarkko Saarinen, José Carlos Brito, Mapping and analysing cultural ecosystem services in conflict areas, Ecological Indicators, Volume 110, 2020, 105943, ISSN 1470-160X,

Mapping and analysing cultural ecosystem services in conflict areas

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Author: Santarém, Frederico1,2,3; Saarinen, Jarkko3,4; Brito, José Carlos1,2
Organizations: 1CIBIO/InBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos da Universidade do Porto, R. Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
2Departamento de Biologia da Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto. Rua Campo Alegre, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
3Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2022-03-02


Human-mediated global environmental change threatens ecosystem services worldwide. Detailed cultural ecosystem services mapping is crucial to counteract ecosystem degradation, but such mapping exercises have been confined to small-scale analyses in developed countries. Additionally, disturbances constraining the supply of cultural ecosystem services transboundary have never been mapped, which hampers the accurate management of ecosystems, particularly in underdeveloped countries affected by human conflicts. The Sahara-Sahel ecoregions of Africa represent an excellent model to map the distribution of transboundary attractions and constraints to cultural ecosystem services due to the many conflicts affecting its drylands. We mapped and analysed the supply of cultural ecosystem services in the Sahara-Sahel, using a multicriteria approach that includes transboundary attractions and constraints playing at broader scales. We wanted to understand where are located the hotspots of cultural ecosystem services and which regions displaying the highest levels of attractions may be simultaneously threatened by constraint features. Overall, 35.4% of the study area displays high (27.9%) to very high (7.5%) levels of attractions to cultural ecosystem services supply, while 8.6% of the area displays high (7.5%) to very high (1.1%) levels of constraints that limit the usufruct of these services in the region. Our findings showed that the main mountains and wetlands of the region are supplying high levels of cultural ecosystem services but are threatened in some parts of their range by transboundary constraints. Some country-borders displayed a high concentration of constraints impacting desert biodiversity and human communities. This highlights the urgency of policymakers to reinforce transboundary strategic actions to halt the ongoing destruction of natural resources in the region. The developed approach is scalable and replicable in any ecosystem, including in those located in data-scarce regions. Including constraints to ecosystem services supply is paramount to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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Series: Ecological indicators
ISSN: 1470-160X
ISSN-E: 1872-7034
ISSN-L: 1470-160X
Volume: 110
Article number: 105943
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105943
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: Financial support was given by AGRIGEN-NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000007, supported by Norte Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). FS and JCB are supported by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia through grant PD/BD/132407 and contract FCT-DL57; JS is supported by Academy of Finland (grant 272168). We would like to thank BirdLife International and IUCN for providing access to data used in this work.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 272168
Detailed Information: 272168 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license by