National ecosystems services priorities for planning carbon and water resource management in Colombia

N. Rodríguez, D. Armenteras, J. Retana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. The modelling and mapping of ecosystem services (ES) are important components of any programme of land management planning, as they help evaluate the potential benefits that ecosystems provide to society. The objective of this paper is to evaluate ES for setting priorities and planning carbon and water resource management in Colombia. By using information related to provision and regulation services for water, carbon storage and protection services against extreme events such as landslides, we have evaluated the spatial distribution of ES and identified geographical hotspots. The results are presented for two levels of analyses: (1) natural regions and (2) watersheds. We found differences in the distribution and range of values for ES and observed that each region and watershed tends to maximise one or two services, with the exception of the Caribbean region, which presents low values for most services. The services of water resources provision, regulation of water flow and carbon storage in the above-ground biomass presented high correlations among them, with the Pacific and Amazonian regions presenting the highest average values for these ES. The Andean region was important for the prevention of landslides and the amount of carbon in the soil. At the watershed level, the Amazon watershed and those associated with transition areas (piedmont) between the Andes and the lowlands of the Amazonian, Orinoquia and Pacific regions were the areas where the greatest number of hotspots was concentrated. These results provide valuable information on how better use official institutional information to quickly define and prioritise ES, to guide management actions within the country's recent policies on integrated water resources management and on biodiversity and ES.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-618
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Carbon storage
  • Ecosystem services mapping
  • Planning
  • Water provision
  • Watershed


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