Ecosystem service provision from agricultural lands of Argentina.

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment National,Sub-national
Country or countries covered Argentina
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

Various sub-national areas were included: Rolling Pampas, Central Pampas, Southern Pampas, Semiarid Pampas, Flooding Pampas and Mesopotamian Pampas, the Humid-Sub-humid Chaco, Central Sub-humid Chaco, Dry Chaco and Western Sub-humid Chaco, the Espinal, the Atlantic Forest, the Iberá Marshes, the Paraná Delta and the Yungas

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

We aimed to (i) estimate the relative (0–100) provision of ecosystem services through the application of a simple biophysical model, (ii) estimate the annual gross margin (GM) ha−1 of farming activities in different regions, and (iii) assess the tradeoffs between the provision of ecosystem and economic services in order to support decision making and land-use policy.

Mandate for the assessment

(i) to provide an approach, methods, techniques and tools to assess ecosystem service provision in arable lands; (ii) to explore options for land use policy- and decision-making.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Other (please specify)

Approaches and methods were developed for undertaking research activities.

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

It was assumed that the main ecosystem services (soil protection, production, purification and water supply, provision of habitat and shelter) were directly associated with the amount of biomass. Besides, other biophysical factors (slope, water bodies’ coverage, precipitation, etc.) were also assumed to be associated with services provision.

System(s) assessed

  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land
  • Grassland

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Food
  • Water


  • Regulation of water flows
  • Regulation of water quality
  • Waste treatment
  • Erosion prevention

Supporting Services/Functions

  • Habitat maintenance
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Primary production

Cultural Services

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish


Periodicity of assessment

One off

Assessment outputs



Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Power Point file showing progress in ecosystem service assessment in Argentina

Journal publications

Carreño, L. V., Frank, F.C., Viglizzo, E.F. (2012). Tradeoffs between economic and ecosystem services in Argentina during 50 years of land-use change. Argentina. In: Ecosystem services and Land Use Policy (E.F. Viglizzo, P. Laterra, J.M. Pauelo, EG Jobbágy, eds.). Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 154: 68– 77.

Frank, F.C., Viglizzo, E.F. (2012). Water use in rain-fed farming at different scales in the Pampas of Argentina. Agricultural Systems 109: 35–42.

Viglizzo, E.F., Frank, F.C., Carreño, L.V., Jobbágy, E.G., Pereyra, H., Clatt, J., Pincén, D., Ricard, F.M. (2011). Ecological and environmental footprint of 50 years of agricultural expansion in Argentina. Global Change Biology 17, 959–973.

Viglizzo, E.F., Paruelo, J. M., Laterra, P., Jobbágy, E.G. (2012). Ecosystem service evaluation to support land-use policy. In: Ecosystem services and Land Use Policy (E.F. Viglizzo, P. Laterra, J.M. Pauelo, EG Jobbágy, eds.). Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 54, 78–84.

Viglizzo, E.F., Ricard, F.M., Jobbágy, E.G. Frank, F.C., Carreño, L.V. (2011). Assessing the cross-scale impact of 50 years of agricultural transformation in Argentina. Field Crops Research 124: 186–194.

Training materials

AgroEcoIndex model

Training material on the use and applicationof AgroEcoIndex model

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Modelling
  • Trade-off analysis
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Indicators
  • Economic valuation

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Courses and meetings with farmers, decision makers and university students.

Key stakeholder groups engaged

Various assessments were made involving farmer groups, members of agricultural investment funds and agro-industrial firms. Assessments were in general rather discontinuous.

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process


Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Methodological documents were delivered for training experts.


Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Accessible when requested.

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

We expect an impact in the mid- and long-term because a lot of public agents, stakeholders, experts and university students were trained during the last 6-year period to use our approaches, methods and techniques. We have no still empirical evidence to demonstrate an effective impact of this assessment on policy makers and other actors of society.

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

We were more effective to reach scientific and technical actors than on public agents and policy makers.

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

We presume that we have largely contribute to fill capacity building needs because of increasing specific demands from stakeholders and interest groups.

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Access to funding, Workshops, Developing/promoting and providing access to support tools, Formal training, Communication and awareness raising

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Gaps were easily identified by stakeholders when they demand issues that we cannot satisfy.

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

We have strongly relied on biophysical methods to calculate the provision of ecosystem services as a bulk estimation, but we were still unable to de-aggregate a valuation of single ecosystem services.

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Simply telling the limitation of our methods to estimate the valuation on single ecosystem services.

Additional relevant information

We did not still find an efficient mechanisms to directly influence policy making and public agents.