Mapping and characterizing ecosystem services of social–ecological production landscapes: case study of Noto, Japan
Improving our understanding about ecosystem production, function, and services is central to balancing both conservation and development goals while enhancing human well-being. This study builds a scientific basis for conservation and development planning by exploring the types, abundance, and spatial variation in ecosystem services in the Noto Peninsula of Japan, a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems. Although the Noto Peninsula is recognized as an important social–ecological production landscape, limited quantitative information about ecosystem services is available. This study evaluates and maps ecosystem services and explores their spatial variation using original data obtained through questionnaire surveys and secondary data from literature, statistics, and geographic information systems. The hilly and mountainous geography of the Noto Peninsula and its remoteness from large consumption markets work as constraints for agricultural provisioning services by limiting water resources, labor productivity, and choice of economically viable crops. However, the rich forests, and marine and coastal resources provide various economic opportunities for forest-, fishery-, and livestock-related provisioning services. Geographical conditions such as land use and cover type also play an important role in differentiating the spatial variation of regulating services, a variation that starkly differs to distribution patterns in other areas. Unlike provisioning and regulating services, natural and artificial landscape components including traditional and cultural constructions such as shrines and temples work as an anchor to help people appreciate intangible and tangible cultural services, linking different services to specific locales across the Noto Peninsula.