Land use/cover change is a proxy for quantifying ecosystem service values. This study examined ecosystem service values based on land use/cover changes and exemplified the implications for sustainability in the rapidly urbanizing city of Dongguan, China.
From 1994 to 2015, the decline of the total ecosystem service values was 618.98 × 106 Yuan. In 1994, the human to ecosystem service value (H-ESV) ratio was about 1:1404 (Yuan/Year), but it decreased to around 1:572 in 2005 and 1:428 in 2015. Additionally, the ecosystem service values will decline to about 506.66 × 106 Yuan in 2030 under the Spontaneous Scenario and will have an
H-ESV ratio of 1:401. Under the Ecological Protection Scenario, the ecosystem service values will decline to about 306.25 × 106 Yuan in 2030 and will have an H-ESV ratio of 1:403. The rapidly increasing city population influences the H-ESV ratio.
The urban to ESV (U-ESV) ratio changed from 1.60 in the 1994-2005 period to 2.20 in the 2005-2015 period. This indicates that the decline in ecosystem service values was affected mainly by urban expansion during the period 1994-2005. The U-ESV ratio will be 1.59 during the period 2015-Spontaneous Scenario 2030 and 1.71 during the period 2015-Ecological Protection Scenario 2030. However, during the period 2015-Spontaneous Scenario 2030, the decline of total ecosystem service values will be affected by urban expansion as well as by other non-urban landscape changes.