We examined the use of ecosystem service (ES) approaches at the landscape scale to assess two major ecological restoration programs (ERPs) in China. We found 68 papers highlighting four aspects: (1) most papers considered only one ES, and all ES categories were not covered equally; (2) regional-scale and short-term assessments dominated the reviewed papers, and few papers evaluated the impacts of ERPs on ESs at multiple spatial scales; (3) the majority of datasets were from global and national databases; and (4) 40% of studies used mostly proxy models and did not report model validation. Finally, we identify four needs: (1) for a deeper understanding of the interactions between multiple ESs; (2) to establish multiple temporal and spatial scales on ERP assessments including future scenarios and balanced efforts of ERP assessments over the entire territory; (3) to establish multiple data scales; and (4) to develop robust modeling approaches.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Budget in American dollars (based on 2017 currency).
Agarwal, C., G.M. Green, J.M. Grove, T.P. Evans, and C.M. Schweik. 2002. A review and assessment of land-use change models: dynamics of space, time, and human choice. Gen Tech Rep NE-297 Newton Square, US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station.
Andrew, M.E., M.A. Wulder, T.A. Nelson, and N.C. Coops. 2015. Spatial data, analysis approaches, and information needs for spatial ecosystem service assessments: A review. GIScience & Remote Sensing 52: 344–373.
Bennett, E.M., G.D. Petreson, and L.J. Gordon. 2009. Understanding relationships among multiple ecosystem services. Ecology Letters 12: 1394–1404.
Brandt, J.S., T. Kuemmerle, H. Li, G. Ren, J. Zhu, and V.C. Radeloff. 2012. Using Landsat imagery to map forest change in southwest China in response to the national logging ban and ecotourism development. Remote Sensing of Environment 121: 358–369.
Burkhard, B., F. Kroll, F. Müller, and W. Windhorst. 2009. Landscapes’ capacities to provide ecosystem services: A concept for land-cover based assessments. Landscape Online 15: 1–22.
Caldwell, I.M., V.W. Maclaren, J.M. Chen, W.M. Ju, S. Zhou, Y. Yin, and A. Boland. 2007. An integrated assessment model of carbon sequestration benefits: A case study of Liping County, China. Journal of Environmental Management 85: 757–773.
Cao, S.X., L. Chen, and Z. Liu. 2009. An investigation of Chinese attitudes towards the environment: case study using the Grain for Green Project. Ambio 38: 55–64.
Cao, S.X., G. Sun, Z. Zhang, L. Chen, Q. Feng, B. Fu, S. McNulty, D. Shankman, et al. 2011. Greening China naturally. Ambio 40: 828–831.
Crossman, N., B. Burkhard, S. Nedkov, L. Willemen, K. Petz, I. Palomo, E.G. Drakou, B. Martin-Lopez, et al. 2013. A blueprint for mapping and modelling ecosystem services. Ecosystem Services 13: 4–14.
D’Amato, D., M. Rekola, N. Li, and A. Toppinen. 2016. Monetary valuation of forest ecosystem services in China: A literature review and identification of future research needs. Ecological Economics 121: 75–84.
De Groot, R.S., R. Alkemade, L. Braat, L. Hein, and L. Willemen. 2010. Challenges in integrating the concept of ecosystem services and values in landscape planning, management, and decision making. Ecological Complexity 7: 260–272.
De Groot, R.S., L. Brander, S. van der Ploeg, R. Costanza, F. Bernard, L. Braat, M. Christie, N. Crossman, et al. 2012. Global estimates of the value of ecosystems and their services in monetary units. Ecosystem Services 1: 50–61.
Farber, S.C., R. Costanza, and M.A. Wilson. 2002. Economic and ecological concepts for valuing ecosystem services. Ecological Economics 41: 375–392.
Feng, X.M., G. Sun, B. Fu, C.H. Su, Y. Liu, and H. Lamparski. 2012. Regional effects of vegetation restoration on water yield across the Loess Plateau, China. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 16: 2617–2628.
Feng, Z., Y. Yang, Y. Zhang, P. Zhang, and Y. Li. 2005. Grain-for-green policy and its impacts on grain supply in West China. Land Use Policy 22: 301–312.
Fisher, B., R.K. Turner, and P. Morling. 2009. Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making. Ecological Economics 68: 643–653.
Fu, B.J., Y. Liu, Y.H. Lu, C.S. He, Y. Zeng, and B.F. Wu. 2011. Assessing the soil erosion control service of ecosystems change in the Loess Plateau of China. Ecological Complexity 8: 284–293.
Ghassemian, H. 2016. A review of remote sensing image fusion methods. Information Fusion 32: 72–89.
Jia, X.Q., B. Fu, X.M. Feng, G.H. Hou, Y. Liu, and X.F. Wang. 2014. The tradeoff and synergy between ecosystem services in the Grain-for-Green areas in Northern Shaanxi, China. Ecological Indicators 43: 103–113.
Konig, H.J., L. Zhen, K. Helming, S. Uthes, L. Yang, X. Cao, and H. Wiggering. 2014. Assessing the impact of the sloping land conservation programme on rural sustainability in Guyuan, western China. Land Degradation and Development 25: 385–396.
Li, C., J. Qi, Z. Feng, R. Yin, B. Guo, F. Zhang, and S. Zou. 2010. Quantifying the effect of ecological restoration on soil erosion in China’s Loess Plateau region: An application of the MMP approach. Environmental Management 45: 476–485.
Li, W.H. 2004. Degradation and restoration of forest ecosystems in China. Forest Ecology and Management 201: 33–41.
Lindenmayer, D.B., C.R. Margules, and D. Botkin. 2000. Indicators of forest sustainability biodiversity: The selection of forest indicator species. Conservation Biology 14: 941–950.
Liu, J.G., S.X. Li, Z.Y. Ouyang, C. Tam, and X.D. Chen. 2008. Ecological and socioeconomic effects of China’s policies for ecosystem services. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 9477–9482.
Liu, J.G., Z.Y. Ouyang, W. Yang, W.H. Xu, and S.X. Li. 2013. Evaluation of ecosystem service policies from biophysical and social perspectives: The case of China. In Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, vol. 3, 2nd ed, ed. S.A. Levin, 372–384. New York: Elsevier.
Lü, Y., B. Fu, X. Feng, Y. Zeng, Y. Liu, R. Chang, G. Sun, and B. Wu. 2012. A policy-driven large scale ecological restoration: Quantifying ecosystem services changes in the Loess Plateau of China. PLoS ONE 7: e31782.
Maes, J., B. Egoh, L. Willemen, C. Liquete, P. Vihervaara, J.P. Schagner, B. Grizzetti, E.G. Drakou, et al. 2012. Mapping ecosystem services for policy support and decision making in the European Union. Ecosystem Services 1: 31–39.
Martinez-Harms, M.J., and P. Balvanera. 2012. Methods for mapping ecosystem service supply: A review. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 8: 17–25.
McVicar, T.R., L.T. Li, T.G. Van Niel, L. Zhang, R. Li, Q. Yang, X.P. Zhang, et al. 2007. Developing a decision support tool for China’s re-vegetation program: Simulating regional impacts of afforestation on average annual streamflow in the Loess Plateau. Forest Ecology and Management 251: 65–81.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA). 2005. Ecosystems and human well-being: A framework for assessment. Washington, DC: Island Press.
Muller, F., R. Hoffmann-Kroll, and H. Wiggering. 2000. Indicating ecosystem integrity—from ecosystem theories to eco targets, models, indicators and variables. Ecological Modelling 130: 13–23.
Nelson, E., G. Mendoza, J. Regetz, S. Polasky, H. Tallis, D. Cameron, K. Chan, G.C. Daily, et al. 2009. Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and tradeoffs at landscape scales. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7: 4–11.
Raudsepp-Hearne, C., and G.D. Peterson. 2016. Scale and ecosystem services: How do observation, management, and analysis shift with scale-lessons from Québec. Ecology and Society 21: 16.
Rykiel Jr., E.J. 1996. Testing ecological models: the meaning of validation. Ecological Modelling 90: 229–244.
Sun, D.F., L. Hong, R. Dawson, C.J. Tang, and L.X. Wen. 2006. Characteristics of steep cultivated land and the impact of the Grain-for-Green policy in China. Pedosphere 16: 215–223.
Wang, C., H. Ouyang, V. Maclaren, Y. Yin, B. Shao, A. Boland, and Y. Tian. 2007. Evaluation of the economic and environmental impact of converting cropland to forest: A case study in Dunhua county, China. Journal of Environmental Management 85: 746–756.
Xu, J.C. 2011. China’s new forests aren’t as green as they seem. Nature 477: 371.
Yang, L., W. Wei, L. Chen, and B. Mo. 2012. Response of deep soil moisture to land use and afforestation in the semi-arid Loess Plateau, China. Journal of Hydrology 475: 111–122.
Yin, R.S., G.P. Yin, and L.Y. Li. 2010. Assessing China’s ecological restoration programs: What’s been done and what remains to be done? Environment Management 45: 442–453.
Zhang, J., and J. Guan. 2007. Who will meet China’s import demand for forest products? World Development 35: 2150–2160.
Zhang, P., G. Shao, G. Zhao, D.C. Le Master, G.R. Parker, J.B. Dunning Jr., and Q. Li. 2000. Ecology: China’s forest policy for the 21st century. Science 288: 2135–2136.
Zhou, D., S. Zhao, and C. Zhu. 2012. The Grain for Green Project induced land cover change in the Loess Plateau: A case study with Ansai County, Shanxi Province, China. Ecological Indicators 23: 88–94.
This work was supported by the Fonds de Recherche Nature et Technologies du Québec (FRQNT) in collaboration with the China Scholarship Council (CSC), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). We appreciate the support of Prof. J. Fan, Prof. X.Z. Deng and Prof. L. Zhen for providing us advices, which helped improve the paper. We are grateful to Jessika Pickford (Traduction Catalytik) for the English revision. This paper has also benefited from comments by anonymous reviewers.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this article
Cite this article
Wen, X., Théau, J. Assessment of ecosystem services in restoration programs in China: A systematic review. Ambio 49, 584–592 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01214-w
- Ecological restoration program
- Ecosystem services
- Systematic review