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The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment provides a framework for organizing and categorizing ecosystem services (Figure used by permission of Island Press)  

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment provides a framework for organizing and categorizing ecosystem services (Figure used by permission of Island Press)  

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Ecosystem services are the goods and services provided by ecosystems that maintain and improve human well-being. This framework is inherently anthropocentric, organizing ecological processes by their effects on human beneficiaries and explicitly connecting ecosystem processes to human welfare. The ecosystem services approach facilitates management...

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... ways to organize ecosystem services, and categories may need to be refined for specific projects [11]. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment [5] has divided ecosystem services into four main categories: provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting. This categorization, and how ecosystem services link to human well-being, is illustrated in Fig. ...

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... ESA is by definition anthropocentric (Brauman et al., 2014;De Vreese et al., 2019), given that ecosystems are valued in the context of services for humans. Whilst different interpretations exist, the most common understanding stems from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2003), that differentiated between four types of ecosystem Fig. 2. Sustainable development discourses mapped against the spectrum of environmental ethics. ...
Article
As a globally mandated decision-support tool, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has the potential to contribute to the protection of biodiversity, which is increasingly under threat because of human activities. Concern over its ability to do this, however, has led to the addition of trade-off rules, Ecosystem Services Assessment (ESA), and biodiversity offsets. But given that EIA is set in a political decision-making context, what is reasonable to expect of EIA? In this paper we seek to explore what level of biodiversity protection we can expect EIA to support (and therefore whether these additions are worthwhile). Our point of departure is that EIA supports its political context and associated societal goals, and those goals typically (explicitly or implicitly) reflect some form of sustainable development. Given that the appropriate level of biodiversity protection is a moral consideration, we take an environmental ethics perspective to explain how different levels of protection are associated with different ethical positions on a spectrum from anthropocentrism (where only humans have intrinsic rights) through to ecocentrism (where all individuals of all species have intrinsic rights). We then investigate how different sustainable development discourses, one economic (on a spectrum from weak to strong sustainability) and one ecological (on a spectrum from shallow to deep ecology) map against the environmental ethics spectrum. We find that the economic discourse on sustainable development, which tends to prevail in political decision-making, is heavily anthropocentric, whereas an ecological discourse has some potential to deliver ecocentrism, but only where a deep ecology interpretation is adopted. We then show that the practise of EIA (with or without the addition of other approaches) maps against, and is bounded by, an economic discourse on sustainable development. The reality is, therefore, that EIA can do no more than contribute to delaying incremental biodiversity loss. If EIA were legislated to protect biodiversity using a deep ecology discourse, then only brownfield development would be possible.
... The key purpose of understanding the processes of ESs from supply to demand is to inform ESs management. However, there are no formal ES management organizations in the world, ESs are regulated unintentionally by various management efforts [20,21]. A river basin is a semi-closed ecological and economic system, representing logical management units of the water cycle, throughout which all decisions and actions have interdependent ecological, social and economic implications. ...
... Stream-floodplain ecosystems (hereafter stream-floodplain) are some of the most productive on the earth (Tockner and Stanford, 2002) and offer a range of ecosystem services (ES), including supporting unique habitat and biodiversity, improving water quality, reducing flooding and providing recreation value (Costanza et al., 1997;Brauman et al., 2014;Hanna et al., 2017). Simultaneously, stream-floodplain systems are also one of the most threatened and heavily managed, mostly to further exploit the services provided by these unique ecosystems (Tockner et al., 2010;Bhattacharya et al., 2016). ...
Article
Natural-infrastructures (e.g., floodplains) can offer multiple ecosystem services (ES), including flood-resilience and water quality improvement. In order to maintain these ES, state and non-profit organizations consider various stream interventions, including increased floodplain connectivity and revegetation. However, the effect of these interventions is rarely quantified at a large spatial scale. We build a hydraulic model to simulate the influence of above-mentioned interventions on stream power and water depth during 5 yr and 100 yr flood return-intervals for two watersheds in Vermont, USA. Simulated revegetation of floodplains increased water depth and decreased stream power, whereas increasing connectivity resulted in decline of both responses. Combination of increased connectivity and floodplain revegetation showed greatest reduction in stream-power suggesting that interventions may influence stream response in diverse ways. Across all three interventions, 14% and 48% of altered reaches showed increase in stream power and water depth over baseline, indicating that interventions may lead to undesirable outcomes and their apparent effectiveness can vary with the measure chosen for evaluation. Interventions also influenced up to 16% of unaltered reaches (i.e., in which no interventions were implemented), indicating the consequences of interventions can spread both up and downstream. Multivariate analysis showed that up to 50% of variance in stream response to interventions is attributable to characteristics of reaches, indicating that these characteristics could mediate the effectiveness of interventions. This study offers a framework to evaluate the potential ES provided by natural infrastructure. All stream interventions involve tradeoffs among responses and between target and non-target areas, so careful evaluation is therefore needed to compare benefits and costs among interventions. Such assessments can lead to more effective management of stream-floodplain ecosystems both in Vermont and elsewhere.
... Some issues that may con found the process include differing objectives of stake holders, valuations of a given ecosystem service, levels of knowledge regarding science and terminology. Despite these complications, framing the decision in monetary terms can help open the discussion to a broader range of stakeholders (Brauman et al. 2014). Whether a specific system should be restored can be evaluated by considering both the BCR of restoration actions and the site's current and future susceptibility to SWI. ...
Article
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Coastal wetlands perform a unique set of physical, chemical, and biological functions, which provide billions of dollars of ecosystem services annually. These wetlands also face myriad environmental and anthropogenic pressures, which threaten their ecological condition and undermine their capacity to provide these services. Coastal wetlands have adapted to a dynamic range of natural disturbances over recent millennia, but face growing pressures from human population growth and coastal development. These anthropogenic pressures are driving saltwater intrusion (SWI) in many coastal systems. The position of coastal wetlands at the terrestrial–marine interface also makes them vulnerable to increasing rates of sea-level rise and changing climate. Critically, anthropogenic and natural stressors to coastal wetlands can act synergistically to create negative, and sometimes catastrophic, consequences for both human and natural systems. This review focused on the drivers and impacts of SWI in coastal wetlands and has two goals: (1) to synthesize understanding of coastal wetland change driven by SWI and (2) to review approaches for improved water management to mitigate SWI in impacted systems. While we frame this review as a choice between restoration and retreat, we acknowledge that choices about coastal wetland management are context-specific and may be confounded by competing management goals. In this setting, the choice between restoration and retreat can be prioritized by identifying where the greatest return in ecosystem services can be achieved relative to restoration dollars invested. We conclude that restoration and proactive water management is feasible in many impacted systems.
... It is useful to involve all relevant stakeholders in decisions that affect local ecosystems, particularly if effective management requires a change in human behaviour. Stakeholders include those whose actions affect the provision of ecosystem services and also those whose well-being is affected by an alteration in those services (Brauman et al., 2014). However, it can be difficult to devise systematic methods for incorporating stakeholder opinions and preferences, particularly in the context of remote rural environments. ...
Technical Report
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Identify pressures Ireland’s freshwaters are among the best in Europe. However, they are under increasing pressure from a range of land-use and other anthropogenic pressures, especially from elevated nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and sediment inputs. The continuing loss of high status waters is a key concern. Planned future land-use intensification for food production, together with climate change will further stress aquatic resources both in terms of quality and quantity. The ESManage Literature Review highlights how pressures have implications for a range of ecosystem services derived from freshwaters. Inform policy The ESManage Literature Review considers how the ecosystem services framework aligns with the objectives of current policy and legislation to inform management of freshwater resources. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the key EU driver requiring Member States to improve and sustainably manage water quality. The specific benefits of incorporating the ecosystem services framework into the implementation of the WFD relate to illustrating how human wellbeing is dependent on good ecological health and widening the focus from good ecological status as an end in itself to showing how it supports societal goals. Additionally, it allows for the proper assessment and communication of the benefits and co-benefits of implementing the WFD, highlighting potential trade-offs involved in selecting cost-effective measures but also avoiding unintended impacts of measures on other benefits (not directly associated with the measure). Other relevant policy measures such as the EU Biodiversity Strategy aim to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restore them in so far as feasible. Develop solutions Identification of the chain of knowledge and data needs, as outlined in the ESManage Literature Review, is a key step in efforts to incorporate the ecosystem services framework into policy related to the management of freshwater resources. This review details these information needs and associated knowledge gaps, especially with respect to understanding the complex ecological linkages between the health and resilience of the ecosystem (critically dependent on biodiversity) and the provision of ecosystem services, converting this understanding into projections of possible future changes in ecosystem services provision that can be understood by the wider public, and identifying the means by which this public can value such changes to ecosystem service provision.
... The total pollination services provided by a forest patch are thus an implicit comparison with an ecosystem that provides zero benefit. 22 For hydrologic services, however, a zero benefit state is not a rational assumption; water will cycle over any landcover type, though hydrologic fluxes ranging from precipitation inputs to surface-groundwater partitioning may be affected by land-use change. 23 To evaluate the impact of plausible land-use transitions on groundwater recharge in leeward Hawai'i, we developed water budgets for multiple forest and pasture sites. ...
... Ecosystem services can provide insight and guidance simply by identifying services of importance to people and indicating how delivery of those services might change. 22 To calculate the value of land-use-change impacts on water availability in Hawai'i, we considered the additional costs or savings that would be incurred by the municipality when pumping the water. This approach disregards many potentially important elements of value, ranging from the cost of installing new wells to the need to replace groundwater with water from an alternate source, such as desalination. ...
... 43 An additional reason ecosystem services appear to have gained traction as a management approach is because they circumvent the language of conflict between people and nature. 22,44 Protecting or restoring ecosystems for benefits provided to specific people instead illuminates synergies and trade-offs among various user groups. ...
Article
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Ecosystem services, the benefits ecosystems provide to people, and hydrologic services, the subset of terrestrial ecosystem services related to water, appear with increasing frequency in water resources research and watershed management. Linking biophysical function to human well-being is central to the theory of ecosystem services, so distinctive characteristics of research on hydrologic services arise from addressing the way people are affected by ecohydrologic processes. However, based on a rapid scoping of 381 peer-reviewed studies of hydrologic services, I identified only a small fraction that appear to effectively make the link from biophysical processes to people. In their abstracts, many of the reviewed articles use the language of hydrologic services but appear to be essentially disciplinary studies, accounting for either biophysical functioning or specific beneficiaries in their analysis, but not both. In addition to guiding research, the direct link from biophysical processes to human well-being makes hydrologic services an appealing foundation for watershed management. The hydrologic services framework has been used to assess conservation benefits, evaluate management practices, prioritize siting, account for externalities, and perform trade-off or cost-benefit analysis. Hydrologic services hold potential for novel research and effective watershed management, but challenges remain in executing interdisciplinary research and in addressing the idiosyncratic demands of local management.For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
... Similar to wetlands, buffer strips are currently under evaluation, amongst others, in the context of the 'Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water' [48] on their benefits for natural water retention, i.e., the services buffer strips provide in terms of regulating water flows. Water purification services are enhanced via permanent vegetated buffers, including vegetative filter strips, riparian buffers, and grassed waterways [14,49]. Buffer strips especially reduce the water pollution of nonpoint source water from agricultural land [50]. ...
Article
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In December 2013, the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council formally adopted the new regulations for the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (2014-2020). The new regulations include three obligatory greening measures: ecological focus areas, maintaining permanent grassland, and crop diversification. We assess the impact of these measures on ecosystem services using scientific and gray literature. The literature review reveals that the adopted greening measures will have mixed effects, i.e., trade-offs and synergies across ecosystems services. Provisioning services, in particular crop production, are expected to decrease when the measures are implemented. All other service categories, i.e., regulating and cultural services, will increase – or are at least will not obviously be negatively affected – once the measures are implemented. However, in terms of tradeoffs and synergies, much depends on objectives being pursued, the baseline or alternative land use underlying the comparison, and on the prevalent farming systems and farm characteristics. Including the ecosystem services concept into the design and assessment of policies would allow a systematic review of the consequences of measures also for services otherwise easily ignored.
... Meijer [443], for instance, defined environmental flow as the proportion of the natural flow regime that is maintained in a river, wetland or coastal zone to sustain ecosystems and the benefits they provide for people (i.e. ecosystem services; see [444], this volume). Various methods have been developed to quantify the environmental flow requirement. ...
Chapter
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The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires a status assessment of all water bodies. If that status is deteriorated, the WFD urges the identification of its potential causes in order to be able to suggest appropriate management measures. The instrument of investigative monitoring allows for such identification, provided that appropriate tools are available to link the observed effects to causative stressors, while unravelling confounding factors. In this chapter, the state of the art of status and causal pathway assessment is described for the major stressors responsible for the deterioration of European water bodies, i.e. toxicity, acidification, salinisation, eutrophication and oxygen depletion, parasites and pathogens, invasive alien species, hydromorphological degradation, changing water levels as well as sediments and suspended matter. For each stressor, an extensive description of the potential effects on the ecological status is given. Secondly, stressor-specific abiotic and biotic indicators are described that allow for a first indication of probable causes, based on the assessment of available monitoring data. Subsequently, more advanced tools for site-specific confirmation of stressors at hand are discussed. Finally, the local status assessments are put into the perspective of the risk for downstream stretches in order to be able to prioritise stressors and to be able to select appropriate measures for mitigation of the risks resulting from these stressors.
... Fig. 2). Land use influences the development and use of ecosystem services (see [36], this volume) in a positive or negative way (see also Section A in this book). The advantage of the concept of ecosystem services is that the concept explicitly shows the complex feedback loops and mutual influences between ecosystems and human benefits [37]. ...
... Brauman et al. [37] put forward that ecosystem services provide a framework for considering the use of natural resources and changes in land use (see also [36], this volume). Tamis et al. [38] acknowledge the added value of ecosystem services in translating it to environmental policies and potential use by stakeholders, thus creating synergy between ecosystem services and indirect benefits. ...
... Are there alternatives? The ecosystem services concept allows to recognise the value of ecosystem goods and services [43] and to balance the values (see [36], this volume). In this way the concept of ecosystem services helps to tune the spatial system to the ecosystem and vice versa. ...
Chapter
Spatial planning essentially involves the development and implementation of strategies and procedures to regulate land use and development in an attempt to manage and balance the numerous pressures placed upon land. Spatial planning can (or should) play an important role in addressing water issues. It is an established mechanism through which some of the river basin management challenges can be addressed. Such challenges are for instance flooding and aquatic pollution which are strongly influenced by the nature and location of land use and the changes in that use. However, spatial planning traditions and spatial planning systems within the European Union are diverse. There is no such thing as the common spatial planning system for Europe. In this Chapter an analysis is made of how different spatial planning styles in Europe connect to river basin management. From this analysis it appears that especially the style of spatial planning and flexibility in administrative procedures determine whether and how spatial planning can contribute to river basin management. However, there is not one clear preferable spatial planning tradition or type of planning system that has an optimal fit with river basin management. The way the social/ecological systems approach is facilitated by the spatial planning style seems to be an important factor for the match with river basin management. The systems approach matches spatial planning with river basin management as it connects social and ecological systems, and the ecosystem services approach can further enable that connection. Stakeholder involvement, which is linked to area-related interests, addresses the needs and possibilities that will influence river basin management and implementation. The diversity of the spatial planning styles in Europe asks for adaptive and iterative planning in order to be able to implement the connection to river basin management. Adaptive and iterative planning fits well in traditions that rely on flexible organizational planning systems. The connection between spatial planning and river basin management can only be made in tailored processes. As the description of spatial planning traditions shows, countries often work along a ‘mix of traditions’, this gives the opportunity to take up the advantages of the different traditions in connecting spatial planning to river basin management
... supply of purified water, recreational value (enjoyment of nature) and retention of water and sediment, etc. These are often termed ecosystem services (see further at [57], this volume). ...
... In ecology, the concept of reference condition is increasingly used to describe the standard against which impacted sites are compared in order to be able to separate significant, anthropogenic impacts from natural variation [57]. Especially in the WFD, the European Union has adopted the concept of 'reference conditions' in a legal context with the aim to protect and improve ecological status [58]. ...
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The identification of plausible causes for water body status deterioration will be much easier if it can build on available, reliable, extensive and comprehensive biogeochemical monitoring data (preferably aggregated in a database). A plausible identification of such causes is a prerequisite for well-informed decisions on which mitigation or remediation measures to take. In this chapter, first a rationale for an extended monitoring programme is provided; it is then compared to the one required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). This proposal includes a list of relevant parameters that are needed for an integrated, a priori status assessment. Secondly, a few sophisticated statistical tools are described that subsequently allow for the estiation of the magnitude of impairment as well as the likely relative importance of different stressors in a multiple stressed environment. The advantages and restrictions of these rather complicated analytical methods are discussed. Finally, the use of Decision Support Systems (DSS) is advocated with regard to the specific WFD implementation requirements.