Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (7): 1277-1289.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201707012

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A review of ecosystem services supply and demand

Lin MA1,2,3, Hao LIU4, Jian PENG3, Jiansheng WU2,3()   

  1. 1. Institute for Studies in County Development, Shandong University, Qingdao 266200, Shandong, China
    2. Key Laboratory for Habitat Environmental Science and Technology, School of Urban Planning and Design,Shenzhen Graduate School, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
    3. Laboratory for Earth Surface Process, Ministry of Education, College of Urban and Environment Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    4. School of Government, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2016-07-15 Revised:2017-03-22 Online:2017-08-07 Published:2017-08-07
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41330747


Natural ecosystems supply tangible products and intangible services, which are demanded and consumed by human beings. Therefore, supply and demand make up the dynamic process of ecosystem services flowing from natural ecosystems to human society. The process of identifying, measuring, mapping and conducting an equilibrium analysis of the supply and demand of ecosystem services is beneficial for the effective management of natural ecosystems and optimal allocation of natural resources. Moreover, this can provide theoretical support to payments for environmental services and ecological compensation, thus promoting ecological security and sustainable development. Although the study of ecosystem services supply and demand is important, related studies are limited in China and are mainly focused on Europe and North America. Based on the theory and case studies conducted in China and other countries, this paper first presented the definition of ecosystem services supply and demand, including actual supply, potential supply, satisfied demand, and total demand. Second, the classifications of ecosystem services were compared based on their spatial characteristics. Third, the methods of mapping ecosystem services supply and demand were divided as follows: (1) land use estimation, which needs simple operation and limited data, may cause errors due to the loss of internal heterogeneity and boundary effects; (2) ecological process simulation is mostly applied in water-related ecosystem services, showing detailed and reliable results with multi-calculation; (3) spatial data superposition, which is an ideal method for mapping ecosystem services with complete spatial data sets; (4) expert knowledge, where the mapping of ecosystem services supply and demand is decided by a group of experts or is based on the previous related findings; however, the mapping principle followed in a local study may not be applicable to studies conducted at other places; and (5) the use of integrated models InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs), which is suitable for supply analysis, and ARIES (ARtificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services), maps service flow from natural ecosystems to human beings. Finally, we discussed the equilibrium analysis framework for ecosystem services supply and demand from three angles: actual supply and potential supply, satisfied demand and total demand, and the spatial and quantitative relation between supply and demand.

Key words: actual supply, potential supply, satisfied demand, total demand, ecosystem services flow, ARIES