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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 483298, 13 pages
Research Article

Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes: A Spatially Explicit Approach to Support Sustainable Soil Management

1Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, The University of Melbourne, 4 Water Street, Creswick, VIC 3363, Australia
2Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Ecosystem Sciences, PMB 2, Urrbrae, SA 5064, Australia
3Future Farming Systems Research Division, Department of Environment & Primary Industries, P.O. Box 3100, Bendigo Delivery Centre, VIC 3554, Australia
4Agriculture Productivity Group, Department of Environment & Primary Industries, 32 Lincoln Square, North Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia

Received 13 November 2013; Accepted 11 December 2013; Published 30 January 2014

Academic Editors: E. de Blas and H. G. Rosatto

Copyright © 2014 Mohsen Forouzangohar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Soil degradation has been associated with a lack of adequate consideration of soil ecosystem services. We demonstrate a broadly applicable method for mapping changes in the supply of two priority soil ecosystem services to support decisions about sustainable land-use configurations. We used a landscape-scale study area of 302 km2 in northern Victoria, south-eastern Australia, which has been cleared for intensive agriculture. Indicators representing priority soil services (soil carbon sequestration and soil water storage) were quantified and mapped under both a current and a future 25-year land-use scenario (the latter including a greater diversity of land uses and increased perennial crops and irrigation). We combined diverse methods, including soil analysis using mid-infrared spectroscopy, soil biophysical modelling, and geostatistical interpolation. Our analysis suggests that the future land-use scenario would increase the landscape-level supply of both services over 25 years. Soil organic carbon content and water storage to 30 cm depth were predicted to increase by about 11% and 22%, respectively. Our service maps revealed the locations of hotspots, as well as potential trade-offs in service supply under new land-use configurations. The study highlights the need to consider diverse land uses in sustainable management of soil services in changing agricultural landscapes.