Relationship between C:N/C:O Stoichiometry and Ecosystem Services in Managed Production Systems

Bhim Ghaley, Harpinder Sandhu, John Porter

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    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Land use and management intensity can influence provision of ecosystem services (ES). We argue that forest/agroforestry production systems are characterized by relatively higher C:O/C:N and ES value compared to arable production systems. Field investigations on C:N/C:O and 15 ES were determined in three diverse production systems: wheat monoculture (Cwheat), a combined food and energy system (CFE) and a beech forest in Denmark. The C:N/C:O ratios were 194.1/1.68, 94.1/1.57 and 59.5/1.45 for beech forest, CFE and Cwheat, respectively. The economic value of the non-marketed ES was also highest in beech forest (US$ 1089 ha-1 yr-1) followed by CFE (US$ 800 ha-1 yr-1) and Cwheat (US$ 339 ha-1 yr-1). The combined economic value was highest in the CFE (US$ 3143 ha-1 yr-1) as compared to the Cwheat (US$ 2767 ha-1 yr-1) and beech forest (US$ 2365 ha-1 yr-1). We argue that C:N/C:O can be used as a proxy of ES, particularly for the non-marketed ES, such as regulating, supporting and cultural services. These ES play a vital role in the sustainable production of food and energy. Therefore, they should be considered in decision making and developing appropriate policy responses for land use management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0123869
    Pages (from-to)e0123869
    Number of pages14
    JournalPLoS One
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2015


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