Title: Assessing water ecosystem services for water resource management
Citation: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & POLICY vol. 61 p. 194-203
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC101061
ISSN: 1462-9011
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901116300892
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.04.008
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Ecosystem service concepts can offer a valuable approach for linking human and nature, and arguments for the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems. Despite an increasing interest in the topic, the application for water resource management has been hampered by the lack of practical definitions and methodologies. In this study we review and analyse the current literature and propose an approach for assessing and valuing ecosystem services in the context of water management. In particular, to study the link between multiple pressures, ecological status and delivery of ecosystem services in aquatic ecosystems under different scenarios of measures or future changes, which is of interest for the development of River Basin Management Plans under the EU Water Framework Directive. We provide a list of proxies/indicators for the biophysical assessment of the ecosystem services, dividing in indicators of natural capacity, actual flow and social benefit. We advocate the use of indicator of sustainability, combining the information on capacity and flow of the services. We also suggest methods for the economic valuation of aquatic ecosystem services per type of service and per spatial scale of application. We argue that the biophysical assessment and economic valuation should be conducted in connection for accounting for the different values of ecosystem services (ecologic, social and economic) and strengthening the recognition of the human dependency on nature. The proposed approach can be used for assessing the benefits of conservation and restoration of aquatic ecosystems in the implementation of the EU water policy.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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