Globally, the balance of ecosystem services in urban agglomerations is increasingly influenced by coupled human and natural systems. Studying the balance of ecosystem services has been an essential part of research into global environmental change and sustainable development. However, the existing literature lacks research about the spatial dependence and spatial spillover effects of the ecosystem services balance; this reduces the effectiveness of formulating and implementing ecosystem conservation and land use policies, especially in developing countries. In this study, we attempt to fill this gap in the literature by examining the geographic variations and spatial determinants of the ecosystem services balance with an integrated spatial panel approach in the Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River Urban Agglomerations (MRYRUA), China. Land use/land cover change data derived from the Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper are employed to analyze the spatiotemporal evolution features of landscape pattern and the supply, demand, and balance of ecosystem services with landscape pattern metrics and a revised ecosystem services matrix method in the MRYRUA from 1995 to 2015. The results indicate that construction land in the MRYRUA increases continuously, while farmland decreases during that time. Counties with higher indices of ecosystem services supply and balance are concentrated primarily in mountainous areas, while indices of ecosystem services demand in the three smaller urban agglomerations, plains areas, surrounding counties of major cities, and along major traffic routes are higher. Spatial dependence and spatial spillover effects of the ecosystem services balance index are observed in the MRYRUA. Population density and road density are negatively associated with an ecosystem services balance. Landscape pattern metrics are also statistically significant—either positive or negative. Our findings suggest that the driving forces as well as the spillover effects should be taken into consideration in integrative ecosystem management and land use sustainability measures in urban agglomerations. These findings have important implications for urban planning and decision-making related to development and ecosystem services.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law