It is increasingly recognized that ecosystem services provide a foundation for the well-being of individuals and society (MEA 2005). Land managers typically strive to enhance particularly desirable services. For example, farmers plant crops and manage the soil and hydrologic conditions to favor crop production. In agricultural regions such as the US Corn Belt, exceptionally high agricultural production has been achieved, but at the expense of other ecosystem services, including abundant wildlife and clean water. In the past, land managers were unaware of these tradeoffs or simply considered them less important in favor of a collective mindset to maximize agricultural production. More recently, however, there has been rising demand for a broader range of ecosystem services coupled with documented degradation of landscape capabilities to provide them. Concern over these circumstances has grown among policymakers, scientists, and conservationists (MEA 2005), and there is now a general recognition that we must be more deliberate in managing our agricultural landscapes for multiple ecosystem services (Brandt and Vejre 2004; Foley et al. 2005; Palmer et al. 2004; Secchi et al. 2008). How should conservation planners go about this task? What methods are available to guide them toward this goal? In this paper, we present a conceptual framework and discussion of some approaches to conservation planning that may help to move this endeavor forward.
Dosskey, Mike; Wells, Gary; Bentrup, Gary; Wallace, Doug. 2012. Enhancing ecosystem services: Designing for multifunctionality. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 67(2):37A-41A.