Exploring Linkages between Supporting, Regulating, and Provisioning Ecosystem Services in Rangelands in a Tropical Agro-Forest Frontier

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Abstract

Rangeland management in former tropical rainforest areas may affect ecosystem services. We hypothesized that management practices like burning and overgrazing reduce supporting (soil quality) and consequently also provisioning (forage productivity and quality) and regulating (nutrient cycling) ecosystem services. We established 31 exclosures in two landscape categories (alluvial soils, low-hills), documented management practices, and assessed 18 soil quality indicators, litter decomposition as a proxy for nutrient cycling, and forage quantity and quality during one year in grasslands of the Lacandon region, southeast Mexico. Path analysis was used to explore direct and indirect effects of livestock management practices on soil-based ecosystem services. Landscape position had direct effects on management practices, and direct and indirect effects on soil properties. Altitude (a proxy for the soil catena, ranging from alluvial soils along the Lacantún river to Cambisols and Acrisols in the low-hills) was the variable showing most significant negative relations with soil quality and forage production. Decomposition rate was site-specific and had no relation with landscape position and management. Our study suggests that position on the landscape, which relates to nutrient and water availability, had stronger effects than management practices on forage productivity and quality and drives farmers management practices. View Full-Text
Original languageEnglish
Article number511
JournalLand
Volume9
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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