THEME 4. Socioeconomic analyses of MPB invasion scenarios
(1) To map the value of ecosystem services across historical and current MPB ranges
(2) To estimate potential changes in ecosystem service values in predicted areas of MPB expansion
(3) To assess and model the resilience of social-ecological systems to MPB outbreaks
(4) To perform a cost-benefit analysis of intervention strategies and management practices based on ranges of estimated ecosystem service values
Landscapes are increasingly viewed as complex human-environment systems, in which social, ecological and economic processes are intricately linked across multiple scales of space and time. This cross-scale coupling can lead to emergent system responses and cascading effects in response to disturbances, potentially impacting a wide range of ecosystem services as well as social and cultural institutions upon which humans depend. The current MPB epidemic and the anticipated northern and eastern range expansion scenarios thus have potential to impact the social, economic and ecological sustainability of communities in the path of MPB range expansion. To develop MPB mitigation and adaptation strategies, it is necessary to understand the magnitude of these impacts and identify which communities are most vulnerable to changes caused by the epidemic. The research will use an ecosystem services (ES) framework for estimating the changes in total economic value associated with different MPB infestation scenarios and identify stakeholder groups who will be predominantly affected by changes in non-market values. ES are the benefits derived from ecosystems, including the functioning physical, chemical and biological processes. ES can include products received from ecosystems (e.g. food, fibre, clean air and water), benefits derived from processes (e.g. nutrient cycling, water purification, climate regulation) and non-material benefits (e.g. recreation and aesthetic benefits). The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment provides a framework for categorising linkages between ecosystem services and human well-being, and identifies four categories: supporting services, provisioning services, regulating services, and cultural services. Theme 4 combines the expertise of Parrott (complex systems, human-environment systems modelling, social-ecological networks) and Heckbert (ecological economics, complex systems modelling) to analyse landscape-scale impacts of the MPB epidemic on ES, and assess vulnerability and resilience to these changes of communities located in areas of predicted range expansion.