The provision of ecosystem services across a multifunctional landscape in Quebec, Canada

The Montérégie, located in southwestern Quebec is a patchwork of agricultural fields, forests, and villages near the major city of Montréal.

Landscape patchwork in the Montérégie region in Montreal, Canada

P. Langlois/Flickr

The area supports numerous recreational and livelihood activities including hiking, hunting, maple syrup production, and farming. Across this multifunctional landscape, researchers identified six well-defined bundles of ecosystem services that are clustered in specific areas of the landscape and map onto well-known social-ecological subsystems. For example, a “village” bundle characterized by high values for forest recreation, carbon sequestration, soil phosphorus, soil organic matter, water quality, and deer hunting and with lower values for tourism, nature appreciation, pork production and crops, corresponded to places on the landscape that contained vibrant village communities. The other bundles, mapped at a municipal level, were identified as cropland, crops and pork, tourism, exurban, and cottages. The presence of bundles that exist repeatedly across the landscape supports the idea that there is a relationship between structural elements of the landscape, such as connectivity, and the provision of ecosystem services. While much remains to be understood regarding the direct effects of landscape connectivity on the provision of ecosystem services, recent research in the Montérégie demonstrates that forest fragments affect ecosystem service provision in surrounding agricultural fields, such that managing habitat fragmentation can help to increase the quantity and resilience of services.