Mapping Trade-Offs in Ecosystem Services from Reforestation in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

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We examine the efficiency with which a suite of ecosystem services can be restored by different reforestation configurations. We use a spatial analysis to quantify the ecosystem service trade-offs and synergies of five equal-area, large-scale bottomland hardwood reforestation scenarios for a study area in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Each reforestation configuration is designed to achieve a different environmental objective: nutrient retention, intact riparian and floodplain areas, forest breeding bird habitat, and black bear habitat connectivity. A random reforestation of the same area is also created to represent an opportunistically driven scenario. The opportunistic reforestation delivered services between 85% and 94% less efficiently than targeted reforestation. We also find a distinct service trade-off between reforestation to address water quality and reforestation to provide habitat for large vertebrates. This analysis underscores the importance of spatially quantifying ecosystem services and their trade-offs when seeking to optimize the ecosystem service benefits of restoration.

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