Forests (Jun 2023)

Landscape Characteristics in Relation to Ecosystem Services Supply: The Case of a Mediterranean Forest on the Island of Cyprus

  • George Kefalas,
  • Roxanne Suzette Lorilla,
  • Panteleimon Xofis,
  • Konstantinos Poirazidis,
  • Nicolas-George Homer Eliades

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 7
p. 1286


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The Mediterranean area is one of the most significantly altered biodiversity hotspots on the Earth’s surface; it has been intensively affected by anthropogenic activity for millennia, forming complex socioecological systems. In parallel, the long history of natural ecological processes and the deep interlinking with human populations led to landscape patterns, such as spatial heterogeneity, that facilitate the provision of essential ecosystem services (ESs). As such, a comprehensive understanding of the underlying factors that influence the supply of ESs is of paramount importance for effective forest management policies that ensure both ecological integrity and human welfare. This study aimed at identifying local specific interactions across three different spatial scales between landscape metrics and ESs using global and geographical random forest models. The findings showed that dense forest cover may have a positive effect on the supply of ESs, such as climate regulation and timber provision. Although landscape heterogeneity is considered among the main facilitators of ecosystem multifunctionality, this did not fully apply for the Marathasa region, as forest homogeneity seems to be linked with provision of multiple services. By assessing under which landscape conditions and characteristics forest ESs thrive, local stakeholders and managers can support effective forest management to ensure the co-occurrence of ESs and societal wellbeing.