Ecosystem service value assessment of a natural reserve region for strengthening protection and conservation.
Additional Document Info
Ecosystem Services (ESs) refer to the direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human well-being and subsistence. Ecosystem valuation is an approach to assign monetary values to an ecosystem and its key ecosystem goods and services, generally referred to as Ecosystem Service Value (ESV). We have measured spatiotemporal ESV of 17 key ESs of Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve (SBR) in India using temporal remote sensing (RS) data (for years 1973, 1988, 2003, 2013, and 2018). These mangrove ecosystems are crucial for providing valuable supporting, regulatory, provisioning, and cultural ecosystem services. We have adopted supervised machine learning algorithms for classifying the region into different ecosystem units. Among the used machine learning models, Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Random Forest (RF) algorithms performed the most accurate and produced the best classification estimates with maximum kappa and an overall accuracy value. The maximum ESV (derived from both adjusted and non-adjusted units, million US$ year-1) is produced by mangrove forest, followed by the coastal estuary, cropland, inland wetland, mixed vegetation, and finally urban land. Out of all the ESs, the waste treatment (WT) service is the dominant ecosystem service of SBR. Additionally, the mangrove ecosystem was found to be the most sensitive to land use and land cover changes. The synergy and trade-offs between the ESs are closely associated with the spatial extent. Therefore, accurate estimates of ES valuation and mapping can be a robust tool for assessing the effects of poor decision making and overexploitation of natural resources on ESs.