Exploring ecosystem services trade-offs in agricultural landscapes with a multi-objective programming approach

Jeroen C.J. Groot*, Seleshi G. Yalew, Walter A.H. Rossing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we present the LandscapeIMAGES modeling framework for multi-scale spatially explicit analysis of tradeoffs and synergies among ecosystem services provisioning across agricultural landscapes. The framework generates large sets of spatially explicit land-use and management scenarios to inform discussions among stakeholders involved in landscape planning processes. The generated plans are evaluated and optimized for multiple indicators of ecosystem services provisioning. The framework has been developed with an object-oriented programming approach to allow rapid implementation of new indicators and application to new case study landscapes. The modeling system includes (i) a generic framework for Pareto-based multi-objective optimization to generate a set of land-use and management plans, (ii) an easily expandable collection of modules to quantify indicators of ecosystem services provisioning, which can be used as objectives or constraints in optimization, and (iii) a graphical user interface that allows parameterization of the model and inspection of the original and generated land-use and management plans. This allows visualization of trade-offs and synergies among ecosystem services as a consequence of land-use and management planning choices. LandscapeIMAGES is currently used in projects aiming to improve the provision of multiple ecosystem services within landscapes in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Ecosystem services
  • Landscape design
  • Multifunctional landscapes
  • Pareto-based multi-objective differential evolution


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