Estimating the impacts of land use/land cover changes on Ecosystem Service Values: The case of the Andassa watershed in the Upper Blue Nile basin of Ethiopia
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Estimating the impacts of land use/land cover (LULC) changes in Ecosystem Service Values (ESV) is indispensable to provide public awareness about the status of ESV, and to help in policy-making processes. This study was intended to estimate the impacts of LULC changes on ESV in the Andassa watershed of the Upper Blue Nile basin over the last three decades (1985–2015), and to predict the ESV changes in 2045. The hybrid land use classification technique for classifying Landsat images, the Cellular-Automata Markov (CA-Markov) model for LULC prediction, and the modified ecosystem service value coefficients for estimating ESV were employed. Our findings revealed that there was a continues expansions of cultivated land and built-up area, and withdrawing of forest, shrubland and grassland during the 1985–2015 periods, which are expected to continue for the next three decades. Consequently, the total ESV of the watershed has declined from US$26.83 × 106 in 1985 to US$22.58 × 106 in 2000 and to US$21.00 × 106 in 2015 and is expected to further reduce to US$17.94 × 106 in 2030 and to US$15.25 × 106 in 2045. The impacts of LULC changes on the specific ecosystem services are also tremendous.