Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (6): 960-973.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201706002

• Ecological Environment and Ecosystem Services • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress on ecosystem service trade-offs: From cognition to decision-making

Jian PENG1,2(), Xiaoxu HU1, Mingyue ZHAO1, Yanxu LIU1, Lu TIAN2   

  1. 1. Laboratory for Earth Surface Process, Ministry of Education, College of Urban and Environment Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. Key Laboratory for Environmental and Urban Sciences, School of Urban Planning and Design, Shenzhen Graduate School, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2017-01-05 Revised:2017-04-28 Online:2017-06-25 Published:2017-06-25
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41322004


As a hot spot in geography, ecology and related disciplines, ecosystem services have been playing a vital role in bridging the human society with the ecosystem. A deep understanding of the relationship among ecosystem services is a critical enabling factor for sustainable management and decision-making in multiple ecosystem services, in turn realizing the dual goals of economic development and ecological protection and thus contributing to the overall wellbeing of human. Through a systematic review of the concept of ecosystem service trade-offs, this article explores their characteristics in terms of spatial scales, temporal scales and reversibility, considering human's wellbeing at different levels as the ultimate goal of ecosystem service trade-offs and ecological compensation as a baseline method of protection in trade-offs. Such ecosystem services trade-offs are expressed by quantitative indexing and integrated modelling. While such trade-offs and synergies among ecosystem services could present significant variations by spatial and temporal scales, scenario simulation and multi-objective analysis are effective ways to support decision-making in ecosystem service trade-offs. Based on these findings, the multi-scale correlation of ecosystem service trade-offs, the flow of ecosystem service based on telecoupling, and the consumption and compensation of ecosystem services are identified to be the main directions for future research on ecosystem service trade-offs.

Key words: ecosystem services, trade-offs, ecosystem service flow, ecological compensation, telecoupling, multi-scale correlation