Ecosystem Services and landscape change associated with plantation expansion in a tropical rainforest region of Southwest China

Shiliang Liu*, Yijie Yin, Xuehua Liu, Fangyan Cheng, Juejie Yang, Junran Li, Shikui Dong, Annah Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid plantation expansion and its associated impacts on habitat fragmentation and landscape connectivity in many tropical areas has raised increasing concerns as to its impact on Ecosystem Services (ES). Using the InVEST modelling suite, we evaluated critical ES dynamics in four zones of varying plantation expansion intensity (high, medium, low and no plantation expansion) in Xishuangbanna prefecture in Southwest China from 1976 to 2012. Based on these results, we also exmained the relationship between ES and landscape pattern and connectivity derived by the “probability of connectivity” model. We found that during the study period, plantation area increased more than 20 times in Xishuangbanna prefecture as a whole, while broad-leaved forest cover decreased by nearly 30%. The impact of plantation on ES was substantial at both the regional and local scale. Carbon stocks and water yield services decreased by 15.48% and 10.85%, respectively, from 1976 to 2012 throughout the region as a whole. Within the selected study zones, carbon stock and water yeild decreased by 45% and 32%, respectively, from the no plantation to the high plantation zones in 2012 specifically. Plantation expansion has also resulted in a decrease in natural forest cover and a high level of habitat fragmentation. Landscape connectivity decreased by a range of 54.64–95.58% throughout the study area, with 134.58 km2 of forest patches of high importance reduced to medium or low importance during the study period. Correlation analysis showed that carbon storage was more closely correlated to landscape connectivity than forest habitat percentage, large patch index or cohesion index. Together, these results highlight that habitat configuration with a high connectivity level between fragmented patches is important for maintaining critical Ecosystem Services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
JournalEcological Modelling
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Landscape connectivity
  • Landscape pattern
  • Xishuangbanna


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