Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Dissertation Defence: A Spatial Network Approach for Modelling the Functional Interactions Between Multiple Ecosystem Services

April 15 at 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Rachel Field will defend their dissertation.

Rachel Field, supervised by Dr. Lael Parrott, will defend their dissertation titled “A Spatial Network Approach for Modelling the Functional Interactions Between Multiple Ecosystem Services” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biology.

An abstract for Rachel Field’s dissertation is included below.

Examinations are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Please email lael.parrott@ubc.ca to receive the Zoom link for this exam.


Ecosystem functions operate across multifunctional landscapes to produce and connect supply
areas of multiple ecosystem services (ES). However, conventional approaches in spatial ES
assessment typically map discrete areas that produce one or several ES, which ignores the
complex interrelationships among multiple ES. Managing a network of connected ES, and
maintaining their heterogenous distributions and relationships at the landscape scale, is crucial
for supporting the well-being of people and nature. However, spatial network models have not
represented the functional interactions between multiple ES in real landscapes, nor have they
been translated for practical governance applications.

The goal of this research was to develop a novel spatial network approach to represent and
quantitatively assess the functional interactions between multiple ES. First, we illustrate this
approach using a small, hypothetical landscape, and provide landscape connectivity-based
methodology for how to represent ES supply nodes and the functional links between them.
We then test the approach using existing ES supply data from a large, real-world landscape to
build a spatial multi-ES network model. Our network mapping results reveal long-distance
connectivity corridors, land-use and land cover types not typically associated with a particular
ES, and high-value functional interaction areas that are not present on individual supply area or
pairwise link maps. Quantitative network analyses show redistribution of the highest-value nodes
and links when comparing single- to multi-ES networks, and that certain potentially important
supply areas not detected by traditional valuation protocols are discovered through network
analyses. These results show how a network approach can identify potentially important areas on
the landscape that might be overlooked by conventional, single-jurisdiction ES assessments.
Lastly, we use a network community detection algorithm to partition the landscape into highly
connected clusters of ES supply areas, then assess the alignment of these with a social network
layer represented by the spatial jurisdictions of agencies involved in relevant ES governance in
the region. We identify which specific areas and among which agencies opportunities exist for
multi-sector, cross-scale coordination, and find that, regardless of cluster size, all agency scales
are relevant to coordinated governance of multiple ES across the multifunctional landscape.


April 15
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Additional Info

Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Environment and Sustainability, Research and Innovation, Science, Technology and Engineering
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates