Advancing spatial decision-making in a transboundary catchment through multidimensional ecosystem services assessment

Peer Reviewed
1 December 2023

Alicia Correa, Jorge Forero, Jorge Marco Renau, Ivan Lizarazo, Mark Mulligan, Daniele Codato


Global change has led to significant impacts on ecosystem services, posing a threat to the livelihoods of local communities worldwide. It is essential to assess these services to integrate them into regional planning, and policy design. We conduct ecosystem services assessments to inform spatial decision-making in a transboundary catchment. We focus on Mira-Mataje (11617 km2) transboundary catchment as an example of a natural unit, rich in natural resources that hosts an important cultural heritage of Indigenous and Afro-descendant ethnic groups.

We utilize three dimensions to evaluate ecosystem services: Firstly, the monetary dimension; secondly, the biophysical relevance, including current pressures and future threats; and thirdly, the social dimension. We combine globally available economic and remotely sensed datasets with the spatial ecosystem services modeling and mapping tool, Co$tingNature, and local knowledge and worldviews from community leaders.

Our results show that the total valuation of ecosystem services in the catchment is USD 2013344397 per year, with pixel values ranging from 3.7 to 4905783. High values concentrated near cities and main roads. We found that monetary values and current pressures on ecosystems services are correlated to total potential services for the entire catchment (-0.58 and −0.4 respectively). In addition, with our multidimensional assessment, we distinguish areas that require different types of management due to their specificities. For instance, the Awá territories hosts the largest total potential services, and will face greater threats in the future. This demonstrates the community's capacity to maintain the natural resources, but a more efficient control of illegal and unsustainable external activities is necessary. Afro-descendant territories on the highlands show overexploitation of its natural resources. Territories and land ownership must be recognized and to promote the transition to sustainable production. We provide advances in the research on the services valuation for potential integration into differentiated regional planning and sustainable policies.


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Publication reference
Correa, A., Forero, J., Marco Renau, J., Lizarazo, I., Mulligan, M., & Codato, D. (2023). Advancing spatial decision-making in a transboundary catchment through multidimensional ecosystem services assessment. Ecosystem Services, 64, 101554.

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Publication | 14 December 2023