Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to identify dryland ecosystem service trade-offs under different rangeland land uses

Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to identify dryland ecosystem service trade-offs under different rangeland land uses

Favretto, N., Stringer, L. C., Dougill, A. J., Dallimer, M., Perkins, J. S., Reed, M. S., … & Mulale, K. (2016). Multi-criteria decision analysis to identify dryland ecosystem service trade-offs under different rangeland land uses. Ecosystem Services, 17, 142-151.

Land degradation undermines ecosystem service provision, limiting economic returns from semi-arid rangelands. We apply a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) to assess the value of ecosystem services, using monetary and non-monetary techniques in semi-arid rangelands in Kgalagadi District, southern Botswana. In doing so, we provide an empirical understanding of the linkages between policy, land use and the provision of ecosystem services based on the perspectives of local stakeholders identified through interviews and a workshop consultation. Findings suggest communal grazing provides the widest range of monetary and non-monetary values linked to ecosystem service delivery. Current economic incentives and policy initiatives supporting the livestock sector, linked to fencing and borehole drilling, create perverse incentives that over-emphasise commercial food production at the expense of other services. We identify a need for policy reforms to support livelihood diversification through the provision of a wider range of ecosystem services, and for further research to explore market opportunities for veld products and carbon trading. We show that MCDA offers a useful holistic assessment framework that could be applied more widely to semi-arid rangelands globally.