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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Regional Environmental Change
Volume (Issue) 17(8)
Page(s) 2309 - 2321
Title of proceedings Regional Environmental Change
DOI 10.1007/s10113-017-1118-4


Ecosystem services (ES) management has to cope with a high degree of uncertainty related to changes in socio-economic and climatic conditions as well as in societal values. Information regarding the quantity and location of these uncertainties can facilitate identifying which areas require management attention and policy support. In this context, science for mapping ES is evolving rapidly, but there remains a lack of quantitative methods to integrate and visualize uncertainties related to regional and global changes that affect both ES supply and demand. Using a mountain case study in Switzerland, this paper quantifies and maps the uncertainty of future ES provision related to changes in regional and global socio-economic and climatic drivers as well as in ES preferences. We model and map patterns of (dis)agreements regarding ES in a multitude of scenarios and evaluate the magnitude and sources of uncertainty in these patterns. The results illuminate which drivers cause the highest levels of uncertainty in future ES provision and highlight areas where changes in ES are similar across scenarios or where changes are dependent on regional or global contexts. In this case study, changes in ES occur more consistently in remote areas, while in the main valley such changes are highly uncertain and particularly sensitive to national socio-economic drivers and climate change. The uncertainty maps can serve as a basis for discussing regional development plans and national policy strategies. The suggested approach could serve as a straightforward means to quantify and communicate spatial uncertainties in future ES studies.