Tradeoffs between ecosystem services in the Mariño watershed, Apurímac, Perú

Area characterisation: 

The small Mariño watershed (500 km2) is located in the province of Abancay, Apurímac region, in the Peruvian Andes. It is characterized by a very rugged topography, steep slopes, and high altitude (from 1900 to 5300 masl at Ampay glacier). It presents a great diversity of flora, fauna and ecosystem types, including subtropical thorn woodland, subtropical montane wet forest, and subtropical alpine rain tundra. Agriculture is the main livelihood activity with maize, potato and beans as main crops. Main social and environmental challenges include poverty and water scarcity.


We aim to support regional and national decision-making on landscape management and ecosystem services in Peru, through stakeholder involvement and research on tradeoffs between ecosystem services.

Potential impacts/benefits: 

Policy and management interventions have been designed in Peru to protect or restore ecosystems and enhance the contribution of ecosystem services to human wellbeing, particularly in relation with water regulation, food production, soil protection and adaptation to climate change. However, the management of multiple services across landscapes is challenging, given that trade-offs between services often occur over space and time, for example, where increasing food production leads to decreases in water regulation. 

Transferability of the result: 

Our research deals with assessing multiple ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating and cultural), analyzing tradeoffs among them, understanding the implications of ecosystem changes on people who benefit from ecosystem services (winners and losers), and exploring how power relationships between stakeholders influence the management of ecosystem services. The approaches and methods can be used in other case studies, given that the issues encountered in our case study are similar in many places worldwide.

Lessons learned: 

Beneficiaries of ecosystem services and ecosystem managers had few opportunities to interact with each other. Ecosystem services approaches can contribute to territorial management by creating networks between ecosystem managers (e.g., farmers) and beneficiaries (e.g., water users).