Kate Liss

McGill University
M.Sc. candidate

Supervisor: Elena Bennett
Start: 2010-06-01
End: 2012-10-25
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The role of landscape structure in the provision of ecosystem services in the Montérégie
Quantification of ecosystem services (ES) can be valuable for managing multifunctional landscapes and promoting practical conservation measures. However, despite extensive academic attention, actual implementation of ES assessment for management has been limited. Consistent measurement methods and accurate modeling tools are crucial to support successful ES-informed management strategies and ensure the confidence of managers and policy makers in the ES framework. I present two major impediments to ES operationalization and propose measures to mitigate them. First, a case study reviewing the methods used to measure pollination ecosystem services highlights the extreme variability in approaches to quantifying a single ES. This lack of consistency impairs our ability to compare results across studies and may lead to ineffective ES-based management. In addition to issues associated with ES indicators, quantification using ES models can be problematic. The models most often used to estimate ES use landuse/landcover (LULC) datasets as primary inputs, and rely on information about LULC composition (type and amount of each class), often without regard for their spatial distribution. I investigated the relative importance of these spatial attributes in the relationship between LULC and ES provision by comparing variation in measured ES provision for municipalities in the Monteregie region east of Montreal to calculated landscape metrics. The proportion of all explained variance in ES provision that was attributable to configuration exceeded that of composition for seven of ten ES considered. The higher relative influence of configuration suggests that models incorporating LULC information beyond composition can provide more reliable projections to contribute to management and policy decisions.


ecosystem services, landscape heterogeneity, landscape configuration, landscape composition, ecosystem service measurement


1- Validation of modeled carbon-dioxide emissions from an urban neighborhood with direct eddy-covariance measurements
Christen, A., N.C. Coops, B.R. Crawford, R. Kellett, K.N. Liss, I. Olchovski, T.R. Tooke, M. van der Laan, J.A. Voogt
2011 Atmospheric Environment