Using InVEST to examine impacts of land use change on ecosystem services to inform planning in Georgia's Satilla River watershed
Early, Laura Marie
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Using InVEST modeling software, we quantified the provisioning of three ecosystem services (nutrient retention, carbon sequestration, and recreation services) in the Satilla River watershed. Alternate land use scenarios were evaluated for their impacts on the services mentioned. Scenarios represented county comprehensive plans, spatially projected population growth, various riparian buffer widths, and various forestry-to-agriculture ratios. The projected population growth scenario with a 100-ft riparian buffer maximized nutrient retention and carbon sequestration. In this same scenario, 90.4% of the natural land cover in the priority conservation area remained unchanged. The InVEST model showed a strong relationship between recreation services and development. The comprehensive plans scenario maximized the recreation services, as measured by visitation rates, but the projected population growth scenario with a 25-ft riparian buffer maximized recreation services when development was excluded from the model.