Ecosystem restoration on Hainan Island: can we optimize for enhancing regulating services and poverty alleviation?

Ruida Li, Hua Zheng, Stephen Polasky, Peter L. Hawthorne, Patrick O'Connor, Lijuan Wang, Ruonan Li, Yi Xiao, Tong Wu, Zhiyun Ouyang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The restoration of ecosystems provides an important opportunity to improve the provision of ecosystem services. Achieving the maximum possible benefits from restoration with a limited budget requires knowing which places if restored would produce the best combination of improved ecosystem services. Using an ecosystem services assessment and optimization algorithm, we find choices that generate maximum benefits from ecosystem restoration. We applied a set of weights to integrate multiple services into a unified approach and find the optimal land restoration option given those weights. We then systematically vary the weights to find a Pareto frontier that shows potentially optimal choices and illustrates trade-offs among services. We applied this process to evaluate optimal restoration on Hainan Island, China, a tropical island characterized by multiple ecosystem service hotspots and conditions of poverty. We analyzed restoration opportunities with the goal of increasing a provisioning service, plantation revenue, and several water-related ecosystem services that contribute to improved water quality and flood mitigation. We found obvious spatial inconsistencies in the optimal location for maximizing separate services and tradeoffs in the provision of these services. Optimized land-use patterns greatly out-performed the non-target restoration scheme. When explicit consideration of the importance of poverty alleviation was taken into account, the location of the prioritized areas shifted and trade-offs among services varied. Our study emphasizes the importance of integrating social concerns into land-use planning to mitigate conflicts and improve equity, especially in the areas where poverty and hotspots of biodiversity and ecosystem services are highly geographically coincident.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084039
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the . Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences XDA19050504 National Natural Science Foundation of China 41871217 41925005 yes � 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • ecosystem services
  • efficiency frontier
  • land-use planning
  • poverty alleviation
  • spatial weighting


Dive into the research topics of 'Ecosystem restoration on Hainan Island: can we optimize for enhancing regulating services and poverty alleviation?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this