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Interactions among Agricultural Production and other Ecosystem Services Delivered from European Temperate Grassland Systems

Interactions among Agricultural Production and other Ecosystem Services Delivered from European Temperate Grassland Systems

Advances in Agronomy, Vol 109 109: 117-154

ISSN/ISBN: 0065-2113

Global demand for food is increasing as is the recognition that this must be achieved with minimal negative impacts on the environment or other ecosystem services (ESs). Here we develop an understanding of the relationships among ESs delivered within temperate agricultural grassland systems in lowland Europe. We reviewed the refereed literature on pair-wise interactions between nine different ESs. These were agricultural production, climate regulation, air quality regulation, water quality regulation, hydrological regulation, soil erosion regulation, nutrient cycling, biodiversity conservation, and landscape quality. For each pair, we sought information on how each ES responds to changes in the other. Each interaction was assigned to one of five categories: (i) no direct relationship between the driving ES on the responding ES, (ii) the driving ES has a negative impact on the responding ES, (iii) the driving ES has a positive impact on the responding ES, (iv) the evidence of direction of effect is inconclusive, because of either inadequate information or contradictions in the literature, and (v) there is no current evidence in the current literature for a relationship. Negative relationships resulted only from the effects of increasing the intensity of agricultural production on other ESs. Available evidence infers that erosion regulation and good nutrient cycling were the only two driving ESs shown to enhance agricultural production implying that their protection will enhance our ability to meet future food needs. In order for agriculture to become more sustainable, we need to develop agricultural methods that can minimize the negative impacts of these win lose relationships.

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