Chapter

Chapter 11 - Trade-Offs Between Biodiversity Conservation and Nutrients Removal in Wetlands of Arid Intensive Agricultural Basins: The Mar Menor Case, Spain

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Some ecosystem services (nutrient removal and biodiversity conservation) in the wetlands surrounding the Mar Menor (southeastern Spain), the largest coastal lagoon in the western Mediterranean, have been assessed. A dynamic system model was developed to estimate the dynamics of nutrients, the role of wetlands in nutrient removal, and the final inputs reaching the lagoon. The socioeconomic issues, such as land use changes and seasonal dynamics of the tourist population, are part of the variables defining the model. The model tracks the increase in irrigated lands and the associated increased nutrient inflows, causing the eutrophication of the lagoon and favoring summer jellyfish outbreaks. The model was applied to test several management options to reduce the point and diffuse pollution and showed that the use of the Mar Menor wetlands would be the measure achieving the highest nutrient removal. A cost-effective analysis (CEA) has shown that this is also the most cost-effective of tested measures. The dynamic model and the CEA analysis have allowed a first economic valuation of some of the avoided costs of this ecosystem service. However, particularly in arid environments, there may exist a trade-off between the nutrient removal functionality of wetlands and the preservation of their biodiversity, dependent on high salinity and scarce flows of water and nutrients. This demands adequate and cost-effective solutions that acknowledge such trade-off. One option is to spatially differentiate both functions by keeping present wetlands without additional flows and by restoring previously lost areas of wetland for such nutrient removal service.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Los flujos superficiales registran también elevados contenidos de nitrógeno y fósforo, con valores de concentración de nitrato que superan fácilmente los 100 mg/l de nitrato y en algunos puntos alcanzan los 200 mg/l. Para comprender y evaluar cuantitativamente todo este proceso de contaminación agraria y urbana en cada uno de sus componentes (aguas residuales urbanas, drenajes agrarios, descargas del acuífero en los humedales, salmueras de desalobración y aguas torrenciales) se elaboró un modelo de simulación dinámica (Martínez-Fernández et al, 2014;Esteve et al, 2016) que incorporó los factores ambientales y socioeconómicos implicados en la exportación de nutrientes a la laguna del Mar Menor. Con dicho modelo se ha estimado que la contribución de los vertidos urbanos representa alrededor del 15% de la entrada total de nutrientes a la laguna, mientras que la actividad agraria del Campo de Cartagena sería responsable del 85% de dicha entrada total. ...
... Hasta el año 2014, a pesar de las indudables alteraciones en los humedales y en distintas comunidades biológicas, el contenido en nutrientes en la columna de agua de la laguna, si bien se situaba por encima de los valores que habían caracterizado siempre al Mar Menor como una laguna oligotrófica, no había llegado a generar situaciones de explosiones masivas de fitoplancton, extendidas en el tiempo y que afectaran al conjunto de la laguna, de forma que las aguas seguían siendo mayoritariamente transparentes casi todo el tiempo y en buena parte de la laguna. A pesar de que la entrada de nutrientes de origen agrario estimadas para los últimos 30 años no dejó de crecer (figura 5), el Mar Menor mostró tres tipos de mecanismos de resiliencia: 1) el papel de los humedales periféricos, metabolizando el 14 % de los nutrientes exportados hacia la laguna (Martínez Fernández et al, 2014) 2) el desarrollo masivo de las comunidades bentónicas de macrófitos, posiblemente el principal mecanismo lagunar de absorción de nutrientes (Lloret y Marín, 2009,) 3) la explosión de plancton gelatinoso (medusas), un mecanismo secundario de captura de nutrientes (Martínez Fernández et al, 2014). ...
... Hasta el año 2014, a pesar de las indudables alteraciones en los humedales y en distintas comunidades biológicas, el contenido en nutrientes en la columna de agua de la laguna, si bien se situaba por encima de los valores que habían caracterizado siempre al Mar Menor como una laguna oligotrófica, no había llegado a generar situaciones de explosiones masivas de fitoplancton, extendidas en el tiempo y que afectaran al conjunto de la laguna, de forma que las aguas seguían siendo mayoritariamente transparentes casi todo el tiempo y en buena parte de la laguna. A pesar de que la entrada de nutrientes de origen agrario estimadas para los últimos 30 años no dejó de crecer (figura 5), el Mar Menor mostró tres tipos de mecanismos de resiliencia: 1) el papel de los humedales periféricos, metabolizando el 14 % de los nutrientes exportados hacia la laguna (Martínez Fernández et al, 2014) 2) el desarrollo masivo de las comunidades bentónicas de macrófitos, posiblemente el principal mecanismo lagunar de absorción de nutrientes (Lloret y Marín, 2009,) 3) la explosión de plancton gelatinoso (medusas), un mecanismo secundario de captura de nutrientes (Martínez Fernández et al, 2014). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
La atención prioritaria de la Fundación al desarrollo de la nueva política europea orientada al logro del buen estado ecológico de las aguas condujo a la creación de un grupo específico de análisis del desarrollo de la directiva. Bautizado inicialmente como Observatorio de Seguimiento e Implementación de la Directiva Marco del Agua (ODMA) cambió su nombre, en 2013, por el de Observatorio de Políticas del Agua (OPPA), al tiempo que ampliaba su campo de interés a otras actuaciones como la directiva de riesgo de inundación, entre otras. Desde sus orígenes, el Observatorio ha combinado el estudio de aspectos de carácter metodológico de la política de aguas con la atención a cuestiones concretas que se plantean con una clara dimensión territorial. La colaboración entre especialistas, generalmente académicos, con una sólida base disciplinar y profesionales –académicos o no- con un conocimiento contrastado de los diferentes territorios se ha mostrado fructífera, no sólo en las tareas de seguimiento de la DMA, sino también en la creación de nuevo conocimiento con un consistente contenido local. El Observatorio de las Políticas del Agua inicia, con la publicación del presente Informe del Observatorio de Políticas del Agua 2017. Retos de la planificación y gestión del agua en España, una serie de publicaciones con voluntad de periodicidad anual dedicadas al análisis de diversos aspectos de las políticas hídricas. El Informe se concibe como una recopilación de textos en los que los diferentes autores analizan de manera sintética los diversos aspectos de la política de aguas que, por una u otra causa, han merecido su atención a lo largo del año.
... This large increase in water transfers to the Campo de Cartagena watershed increased water and nutrient flows to the lagoon and its wetlands , 2014Esteve et al. 2008Esteve et al. , 2016Carreño et al. 2008;Carreño 2015). Estimates indicated that the agricultural nutrient inputs represent about 85% of the total into the lagoon (Martínez-Fernández et al. 2014;Esteve Selma et al. 2016). ...
... Along with the scientific and technical diagnosis that have been made in recent years in the SESMM (Esteve et al. , 2016Martínez-Fernández et al. 2014León and Bellido 2016;Comité de Asesoramiento Científico del Mar Menor 2017), it is also necessary to understand the social perception in the study area. Thus, we view management practices with an integrated approach, taking into account the key stakeholders' involvement, including the local community, with the common objective of improving the environmental and socioeconomic situation of the SESMM. ...
Article
Full-text available
The social–ecological system of the Mar Menor located in southeastern Spain is facing serious environmental degradation which is generating important economic and social impacts. This article analyzes the local community perception in the Mar Menor area about the causes, consequences and possible solutions to current problems, especially the eutrophic crisis in the Mar Menor lagoon. For this research, a survey based on a questionnaire was conducted in 2017 and answered by 498 people. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and principal component analysis. Results showed significant differences among the groups of respondents, according to their profession and main economic activity, but the results also point to an important consensus in the group of respondents. It is worth noting that the broad consensus was that agricultural activities are the main causes of the entry of nutrients into the lagoon, and the respondents indicated that the priority should be given to measures to reduce nutrient inputs. This consensus, which is very different from the results obtained in previous studies, represents a very recent change of perception in relation to the role of agriculture in the Mar Menor. However, the broad consensus in the diagnosis of the current problem is not reflected in the varying opinions regarding the possible solutions or management options. Survey responses regarding solutions varied greatly across groups: There were important differences between (a) the respondents’ perceptions of the best solutions, and (b) the main management practices undertaken by the public administration at this point. This finding highlights a potential conflict that should be considered in any decision-making processes.
... To achieve this goal, agricultural measures proposed by a regional law on pollution control have been assessed in the Campo de Cartagena irrigated area, in the south-east of Spain, whose agrarian activity has influenced the degradation of the coastal waters of the Mar Menor lagoon, which has high social and environmental value (Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014). Thus, beyond the specific interest of the case study since the Mar Menor has become a paradigmatic example of environmental deterioration due to agricultural pollution of Mediterranean wetlands (Perni et al., 2020), the intention was to establish guidelines for the application of the methodology in future research. ...
... The perceived and real costs of adopting several agricultural measures for pollution mitigation have been estimated, and the higher costs are those directly related to crop management. The adoption of a satisfactory agricultural practices code based on the Nitrate Directive obligation would imply improveing water and fertilisation management skills and probably a yield loss because of the fertilisation limitation (Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014). The adoption of this practice, together with the nonuse of soluble fertilisers (historically, the most commonly used in the area), would imply a critical change in how farmers manage crops and, therefore, reticence regarding the adoption In the second column, mean values followed by different letters differ significantly, according to the mean-comparison test (p < 0.05). ...
Article
Diffuse water pollution is a major problem in many agroecosystems, especially in irrigated areas linked to ecosystems of high ecological value. Pollution abatement policies imply the modification of agricultural measures and are usually rejected by farmers because of their impact on farm profitability. This paper aims to design an assessment procedure for an implementation programme of agricultural measures aimed at mitigating diffuse pollution, by combining relative effectiveness across measures with the perceived and real cost of the measures. Measures proposed by a law intended to mitigate diffuse pollution and thereby the degradation of the Mar Menor lagoon, a unique natural space in the southeast of Spain, have been used as a case study. The real cost was obtained from the market, and the perceived cost of the measures was obtained from a representative sample of the farmers involved. This work has allowed comparative real and perceived evaluations of the cost-effectiveness of the proposed measures to prioritise them and to reduce information bias, aimed to favours measures adoption. Results show that banning crops less than 100 m from the coast is the most cost-effective measure, followed by the adoption of a nitrate reduction system in desalinated effluent. Divergences between real and perceived cost-effectiveness indicates that good agricultural practices code adoption would require specific actions to reduce these subjective gap. Finally, increasing the acceptability of the policy would imply translating to the farmers information required to reduce the gap between real and perceived cost of the specific agricultural measures.
... Dunes, crypto-wetlands and coastal saltpans configure the nearby landscape of this natural site, providing habitat for singular flora and fauna adapted to conditions of high temperature (ranging from 12 • C and 30 • C) and high salinity (ranging from 42 to 47 PSU). The Mar Menor is included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands and it is a Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance, a Special Protection Area for Birds and a Site of Community Importance (Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014). ...
Article
The contingent valuation method (CV) has become a recognised tool for estimating monetary non-market values. Despite the pragmatic acceptance of CV in policy evaluation, the application of CV-based estimates in decision-making remains controversial, as critics argue that CV suffers of hypothetical bias and question its accuracy to reflect non-market values via willingness to pay (WTP) estimates. In this paper we approach the assessment of CV accuracy from a double perspective. First, we assess validity and reliability by comparing CV-based WTP estimates and real monetary contributions to a crowdfunding initiative. Second, we assess construct validity identifying whether changing individual preferences are driven by strictly rational economic behaviour or by other factors that are not consistent with it. For this purpose, we conduct regression analysis using a synthetic panel dataset constructed from two contingent valuation surveys using the Propensity Score Matching method. Our findings suggest that WTP estimates are suitable to infer the economic value of environmental assets. This evidence points towards non-market valuation methods being capable of eliciting rational behaviour from individuals that is free of hypothetical bias. However, hypothetical bias might be lurking in a less researched area, that of market participation, which calls for a rigorous treatment of protest behaviour.
... Muchos de estos perímetros de regadío son ilegales, como recientemente ha reconocido la Confederación Hidrográfica del Segura. Los estudios disponibles a partir de un modelo de simulación dinámica (Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014;Esteve et al., 2016) estiman que la contribución de los vertidos urbanos representa alrededor del 15 % de la entrada total de nutrientes a la laguna, mientras que la actividad agraria del Campo de Cartagena sería responsable del 85 % de dicha entrada total. Igualmente distintos estudios hidroquímicos e isotópicos han permitido determinar que el principal origen de la contaminación por nitratos son los fertilizantes químicos utilizados en los cultivos (MAGRAMA, 2015). ...
Book
Full-text available
El Observatorio de las Políticas del Agua (OPPA) de la Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua, ha publicado su informe anual 2019, en el que presenta el estado de la cuestión de distintos aspectos de la planificación, la gestión y la problemática del agua en España Como en años anteriores, el OPPA ha publicado en su informe anual un análisis sintético de una selección de temas de actualidad en torno al agua en España, con el fin de contribuir al debate y a una agenda pública hacia políticas del agua más sostenibles. En esta ocasión dicho informe recoge ocho contribuciones sobre planificación, gestión, riesgos y distintas problemáticas relacionadas con el agua en España, además de tres contribuciones de carácter territorial. El primer capítulo constituye un análisis crítico de los documentos iniciales del tercer ciclo de elaboración de los planes hidrológicos de las distintas demarcaciones, identificando propuestas para que tales planes supongan una aplicación efectiva de la Directiva Marco del Agua y la mejora del estado de los ecosistemas acuáticos. La segunda aportación se centra en el Plan Nacional de Depuración, Saneamiento, Eficiencia, Ahorro y Reutilización (Plan DSEAR), en fase de elaboración, sobre el que se elaboran distintas sugerencias para su mejora. El año 2019 se caracterizó por distintos episodios de lluvias torrenciales e inundaciones, especialmente importantes a raíz de la DANA de septiembre. Por ello la siguiente contribución recoge seis ejes para vertebrar medidas sostenibles y eficaces frente al riesgo de inundaciones. El siguiente capítulo aborda una de las asignaturas pendientes de la gestión fluvial en España: la puesta en marcha de caudales generadores o de crecida, indispensables para mantener el buen estado de nuestros ríos y su biodiversidad, cuyo incumplimiento es generalizado pese a ser un componente clave del régimen de caudales ecológicos. A continuación se analiza la problemática de las instalaciones de producción intensiva de porcino, la cual está generando importantes impactos ambientales y una alarma social creciente, frente a la que se aportan distintas propuestas de mejora a corto, medio y largo plazo. Las tres contribuciones finales son de carácter territorial. La primera se refiere a la gestión del agua en Asturias, identificando los problemas clave y las soluciones alternativas que cabe proponer. Las otras dos se sitúan en la demarcación del Segura, paradigma de la mala gestión del agua. La primera describe cómo se ha creado la actual situación de sobreexplotación hídrica en el Alto Segura, mientras que la segunda analiza las causas del grave episodio de mortandad masiva que tuvo lugar en octubre de 2019 en la laguna del Mar Menor y propone las líneas de actuación para la recuperación de este singular ecosistema. El Observatorio de las Políticas del Agua de la Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua (www.fnca.es/oppa) es un observatorio del que forma parte una amplia red de expertos y ciudadanos que colaboran para llevar a cabo un seguimiento de las políticas del agua tanto a nivel europeo, estatal y a escala de las distintas cuencas y territorios en España
... Muchos de estos perímetros de regadío son ilegales, como recientemente ha reconocido la Confederación Hidrográfica del Segura. Los estudios disponibles a partir de un modelo de simulación dinámica (Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014;Esteve et al., 2016) estiman que la contribución de los vertidos urbanos representa alrededor del 15 % de la entrada total de nutrientes a la laguna, mientras que la actividad agraria del Campo de Cartagena sería responsable del 85 % de dicha entrada total. Igualmente distintos estudios hidroquímicos e isotópicos han permitido determinar que el principal origen de la contaminación por nitratos son los fertilizantes químicos utilizados en los cultivos (MAGRAMA, 2015). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This work presents a synthesis about the present stage of the Mar Menor coastal lagoon: causes and consequences of the eutrophic status responsible of its actual ecological degradation, describes the massive death episode of October 2019, along with their direct and indirect causes, identifies a series of false solutions to restore the lagoon and finally proposes an integrated strategy for effectively recover the ecological status of this unique ecosystem. The analysis applies an integrated perspective, linking environmental, socio-economic and governance factors
... The Mar Menor is inhabited by singular flora and fauna adapted to high salinity (ranging from 42 to 47 PSU) and temperature (ranging from 12°C and 30°C). Other habitats are also well represented in the surroundings, including crypto-wetlands, coastal saltpans and dunes (Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014). Given its unique environmental features, the Mar Menor is protected at regional, national and international level. ...
Article
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) establishes that Programme of Measures (PoMs) to manage aquatic ecosystems have to be assessed to determine whether the benefits obtained from the good ecological status outweigh the costs. Stated preference methods have been widely applied to estimate non-market benefits of improved ecological status, assuming that respondents declare their true preferences that are stable over time. However, evidence on preference stability is mixed in the literature. The objective of this paper is to study preference stability towards water bodies improvement. As the WFD implementation has been delayed and have proven to be a greater challenge than expected, we focus on the effects of policy implementation failures on preference stability. We analyse two contingent valuation surveys to assess environmental values for the case of the Mar Menor (SE Spain) in years 2010 and 2017. We find higher protest response rate, changing indirect utility functions towards good ecological status and decreased WTPs in 2017. It indicates that public valuation might fail to adhere to rational economic premises when public authorities fail to reach environmental objectives and/ or PoMs are not correctly implemented. Decision making based on stated preferences should carefully consider potential biases emerging from management performance.
... This means that many managerial decisions are not taken using the most advanced scientific knowledge currently available and RIs may not always be collecting the most policy relevant information. Some illustrative examples of these gaps in European coastal areas can be found in the Belgian coastal zone (Dou- vere et al 2007), the Aveiro coastal lagoon in Portugal ( Lillebø et al 2019, the Norrström coastal basin in Sweden (Darracq et al 2008, Meacham et al 2016, the Charente River Basin in France (Martins et al 2013), the Danube basin and estuary (Stanica et al 2007, Domisch et al 2019, Funk et al 2019, the Mar Menor Coastal Lagoon ( Martínez- Fernández et al 2014) and the Guadalfeo basin-coastal system (Bergillos and Ortega-Sánchez 2017), among others. ...
Article
Full-text available
Many Mediterranean coastal areas encounter similar problems and gaps between science, governance, and implementation of sustainable management at local-regional scales. There is often a lack of coordination between management of inland and coastal areas, and a lack of integrated land-sea data and knowledge exchange to support transitions towards sustainable development and synergies between rural and coastal areas. In this paper, we illustrate the main challenges to reach a sustainable development of coastal-rural areas related to data availability, knowledge exchange and governance, which could be tackled by coupling regional and international research infrastructures (RIs) with scientific and stakeholder collaboration networks to facilitate knowledge exchange and co-creation of solutions. We first identified the main challenges in sustainable development of coastal-rural areas followed by a review of major existing RIs, scientific knowledge and collaboration networks that can help support integrated management of Mediterranean coastal zones. Based on this, we developed recommendations for a better integration of RIs and collaboration networks in the management of coastal-rural areas, including (1) the creation of local networks to facilitate periodical meetings between all sectors involved and to connect science and policy actors and (2) setting up local RIs that support the data processing and the use of regional and international RIs by scientists and policy stakeholders.
... This raises two questions: (1) how a balance between biodiversity and ESS could be achieved (Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014), and more importantly, (2) could such a balance be tested (or simulated) in any given area of interest? A first general and useful approximation can be achieved, for instance, using linkage frameworks (similar to e.g., the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response, DPSIR framework; EEA, 1999). ...
Article
Full-text available
Freshwater biodiversity is declining, despite national and international efforts to manage and protect freshwater ecosystems. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) has been proposed as an approach that could more efficiently and adaptively balance ecological and societal needs. However, this raises the question of how social and ecological objectives can be included in an integrated management plan. Here, we present a generic model-coupling framework tailored to address this question for freshwater ecosystems, using three components: biodiversity, ecosystem services (ESS), and a spatial prioritisation that aims to balance the spatial representation of biodiversity and ESS supply and demand. We illustrate this model-coupling approach within the Danube River Basin using the spatially explicit, potential distribution of (i) 85 fish species as a surrogate for biodiversity as modelled using hierarchical Bayesian models, and (ii) four estimated ESS layers produced by the Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES) platform (with ESS supply defined as carbon storage and flood regulation, and demand specified as recreation and water use). These are then used for (iii) a joint spatial prioritisation of biodiversity and ESS employing Marxan with Zones, laying out the spatial representation of multiple management zones. Given the transboundary setting of the Danube River Basin, we also run comparative analyses including the country-level purchasing power parity (PPP)-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) and each country's percent cover of the total basin area as potential cost factors, illustrating a scheme for balancing the share of establishing specific zones among countries. We demonstrate how emphasizing various biodiversity or ESS targets in an EBM model-coupling framework can be used to cost-effectively test various spatially explicit management options across a multi-national case study. We further discuss possible limitations, future developments, and requirements for effectively managing a balance between biodiversity and ESS supply and demand in freshwater ecosystems.
... Although diet composition was not studied, and hence economic impact could not be estimated, on the basis of the feeding distribution of birds the pressure on local mullet populations is not expected to be very high, which would ease the conflict with local fisheries. Impact on other fish species of economic interest is thought to be negligible since these are mainly small-sized prey (Atherina, Engraulis) exploited preferentially by other diving birds (Podicepedidae), although for larger fish species like Sparus aurata it can be relevant in the future as their populations increase in response to eutrophication (Martínez-Fern andez et al., 2014). ...
Article
Harmonizing biodiversity conservation and natural resource management often requires anticipating the potential impact that certain species can cause through their exploitation of specific resources. During the winter 2008/2009 we studied the feeding ecology of the Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis in SE Spain, in order to determine its dependence on different food sources available along an oceanic-continental gradient (open sea-freshwater bodies). Trophic niche was assessed using C and N stable isotopes, applying up-to date metrics and analytical tools. Isotopic signatures revealed high mobility patterns for cormorants, illustrating differences between roosting and feeding areas (spatially well separated). Cormorants roosting in open sea move to inland freshwater bodies, their trophic niche overlapping that of individuals settled there. Similarly, individuals settled around transitional waters (coastal lagoon), seem to divide the predation pressure between different food sources along the marine-continental gradient. Recently in Spain, the Great Cormorant has been devoid of legal protection due to its supposed impact on fisheries. Our methods provide a useful and non-invasive tool that can be used as a first step for assessing such interaction. On the basis of its dispersed feeding distribution and expected predation pressure the cormorant does not seem to represent a serious threat to recreational or commercial fisheries which would justify downgrading its protection.
... When applied to the assessment of ESS, models are important tools that can quantify the relationships that underpin ESS supply, demand, and flows and, in some cases, produce maps representing these factors (Martínez-López et al., 2015). Furthermore, as models can explore scenarios, trade-offs that result from different scenarios can be assessed as well (Balbi et al., 2015;Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014). Modelling is now being widely applied in the field of ESS. ...
... Se ha elaborado un modelo dinámico de la cuenca del Mar Menor (Chapelle et al., 2005;Martínez-Fernández et al., 2013, 2014 que incorpora los factores ambientales y socioeconómicos implicados en la exportación de nutrientes a la laguna del Mar Menor (Figura 3.9). Se ha utilizado un modelo hidrológico (Chapelle et al., 2005) para estimar la escorrentía superficial y subsuperficial procedentes de las precipitaciones y de los drenajes de riego. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The land use changes in the Mar Menor watershed have modified the water and nutrient flows, which in turn have caused a series of environmental changes in the lagoon and its associated wetlands. These environmental effects have been analysed by means of an integrated methodology (watershed modelling, monitoring of long-term trends in key biodiversity components and their natural values and cost-effectiveness analysis). Results show the relevant economic value of the ecosystem service of nutrients removal of the Mar Menor wetlands; the increase along time of water and nutrient flows as a consequence of the increase in irrigated lands in the watershed; noticeable changes in the wetlands, particularly in their natural hábitats, the steppe-bird assemblage and the wandering beetles assemblage and a loss of natural value of the wetlands according to the Habitats and the Birds European directives. Results point to an insufficient protection of these sites and the need to apply integral sustainability policies at watershed scale. Moreover, it has been identified a potential trade-off among two important environmental objectives: on one hand to enhance the ecosystem service of nutrients removal and on the other hand to conserve the natural values of the Mar Menor wetlands.
... according to the European Habitat Directive (Council of Europe, 1992). A proper management of protected areas, such as wetlands, should aim at decreasing the influences on them from external anthropogenic pressures (Chape et al., 2005; Martínez-Fernández et al., 2014a). However, the failure to perceive that wetlands are not standalone elements in the landscape and to understand or express the complexity of spatial relationships among hydrology and wetland vegetation, has led to an extensive loss of the most characteristic wetland habitats during the last decades (Turner et al., 2000; Cools et al., 2013; Martínez-López et al., 2014a). ...
Article
Full-text available
In coastal lagoons, marine benthic macrophyte meadows can be an important element in the resistance to eutrophication of the ecosystem, as they can function as temporary nitrogen sinks, limiting the availability of this nutrient for opportunistic organisms. The role of nitrogen sinks for two dominant macrophyte species of Mediterranean coastal lagoons, the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa and the seaweed Caulerpa prolifera, was analysed by two different approaches: (i) studying nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+) uptake kinetics of aboveground tissues in a laboratory and (ii) estimating nitrogen stocks and demands of meadows under natural conditions. The studies were carried out in the coastal lagoon of the Mar Menor, which has been subjected to high anthropogenic nitrogen inputs for decades. While both macrophytes were efficient in exploiting NH4+ from the water column, only C. prolifera showed a high NO3- uptake capacity. Large N pools in the C. nodosa and C. prolifera meadows of the Mar Menor were detected, suggesting that these habitats may have the potential to be essential reservoirs for this nutrient. However, the major role of belowground tissues of the seagrasses in nitrogen accumulation may determine important differences between the two species in temporary N storage and sequestration. The data on N demands for the meadows of both macrophytes in the Mar Menor suggest an important contribution of these habitats in controlling the inputs of this nutrient into the lagoon. We conclude that C. nodosa and C. prolifera meadows can play a key role as a sink for dissolved inorganic nitrogen in temperate coastal lagoons, being an important mechanism of resistance to eutrophication.
Article
Get free access to the full paper until 27 March 2022 at https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1eXk67sr2rH6QX // Agricultural and urban activities over the last decades have caused an environmental degradation of the social-ecological system of the Mar Menor, compromising the ecosystem services it offers to society. This article describes a stakeholder analysis through a participatory methodology to identify and characterize them, know their preferences about possible management measures and compare their preferences with the preferences expressed by the group of local population to which such actors belong. Results include the identification of seven main stakeholder groups. Despite the discrepancies among them in the preferential order of the management measures, it is important to point out the consensus of all the interviewed actors to prioritize the measure: Reduce the irrigated area to limit the entry of nutrients into the lagoon. This consensus, which is different from the results obtained in previous studies, represents a recent change of opinion regarding the role of agriculture in the Mar Menor. Results also showed that there are discrepancies between the preferences expressed by some stakeholders and the group of population to which such actors belong. From these results, two interesting conclusions emerge regarding the design and implementation of a deliberative participation process: 1) it is possible to foresee difficulties, at least in its initial phase, in reaching possible consensus on the prioritization of measures and 2) the involvement of the identified stakeholders might be positive in such participatory processes, since they present a distance among their respective positions that is less than the one detected among their corresponding sectors in the local population. Therefore, the involvement of these actors in participatory processes can facilitate the generation of consensus that, later, could be extended to their respective sectors.
Article
• Freshwater ecosystems are under a constant risk of being irreversibly damaged by human pressures that threaten their biodiversity, the sustainability of ecosystem services (ESs), and human well‐being. Despite the implementation of various environmental regulations, the challenges of safeguarding freshwater assets have so far not been tackled successfully. • A promising way forward to stop the loss of freshwater biodiversity and to sustain freshwater‐based ESs is by implementing ecosystem‐based management (EBM), an environmental planning and adaptive management approach that jointly considers social and ecological needs. Responsible for considerable recent success in sustainably managing and conserving marine ecosystems, EBM has not yet been championed for fresh waters. • A major reason for the delayed uptake of EBM in fresh waters is likely to be its complexity, requiring planners to be familiar with the latest developments in a range of different research areas. EBM would therefore benefit from becoming more tangible to receive attention on the ground. • To facilitate uptake, eight core research areas for EBM and their innovations are introduced, and the way in which they feed into the workflow that guides the EBM planning stage is explained. • The workflow links biodiversity distributions with ES supply‐and‐demand modelling and SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) target planning, including scenario‐ and cross‐realm perspectives, the prioritization of management alternatives, spatial prioritization of biodiversity conservation and ES areas, and the quantification of uncertainties. Given the extensive resources, time, and technical capacity required to implement the full workflow, a light and an ultralight version of the workflow are also provided. • Applied in concert, the eight well‐known research areas allow for better planning and operationalizing, and eventually for implementing EBM in freshwater ecosystems. EBM has great potential to increase public acceptance by introducing the consideration of human needs and aspirations into typically biodiversity‐driven conservation and management approaches. This will ultimately improve the integrity of freshwater ecosystems.
Article
We propose a long-term view of the evolution of human–environment interactions within Mediterranean wetlands, from prehistory to the present day, based on available published works. Our aim is to consider the sustainable use of these landscapes, past, present, and future, integrating perspectives from archaeology, ecology, and sustainable development. After briefly introducing the physiographic and ecological processes that characterize Mediterranean wetlands and the ecosystem services they provide to human populations, we consider their significance for three major questions in European archaeology: the Neanderthal extinction and the spread of modern humans, the introduction and spread of agriculture, human environmental impact since the Bronze and Iron ages. We then proceed with historical evidence of intentional transformation of Mediterranean wetlands by means of land reclamation, from the Classical to Medieval periods and into Modern times, before considering the current state of Mediterranean wetlands and the challenges they are facing in the present day. The preservation of wetlands has now become a priority issue at European level and generates concern for local communities and governing bodies, concerning biodiversity, maintenance of key services and cultural preservation. Based on the review of key events in the dynamic relationship between human populations and Mediterranean wetlands, we end by exploring available initiatives, tools and strategies to assess and support their conservation, governance and sustainable development, present and future.
Article
Abstract Economic valuation of ecosystem services provides valuable information for the management of anthropized environments, where individual preferences can be heterogeneous and even opposed. Here, we discuss how these ecosystem services were approached in the literature and we address the main issues in relation to their economic valuation. We consider that avoiding misspecifications in economic valuation surveys requires considering the linkages between anthropized ecosystems and human intervention. To illustrate, we analyse the case study of a human-created Mediterranean wetland (El Hondo, SE Spain) using a Choice Experiment. Our findings suggest that management strategies in El Hondo should be oriented to improve the water ecological status, to enhance biodiversity and to develop ecotourism, whereas hunting should be strictly limited and controlled. Our measures of conflict (trade-off between ecosystem services and willingness to pay values) can help to find the optimal allocation of public and private goods and services and for the implementation of compensation schemes in the area. According to public preferences, a conservationist management strategy would generate 331,100 €/year in terms of environmental benefits, whereas a tourism-based management strategy would benefit society with 805,200 €/year.
Chapter
Full-text available
el libro aborda el reto de la integración de los valores y principios ecológicos, sociales y éticos en la gestión del agua; los enfoques institucionales de la gestión bajo el paraguas de la Directiva marco de agua europea; metodologías y herramientas para una planificación y gestión más eficiente y sostenible, así como aspectos teóricos del ciclo hidrológico, la ecología fluvial, los aprovechamientos productivos o la propia economía del agua. No pasa desapercibida la cuestión del cambio climático y la gestión de los riesgos que ello implica. Finalmente el libro aborda aspectos sobre ecología política del agua, gobernanza, participación pública y gestión de conflictos. Se añade un capítulo con dos experiencias de participación: el programa Cultivando agua boa (Brasil y Paraguay), y la experiencia de contrato de río desarrollada en la cuenca del Matarraña (España).
Article
Full-text available
La evolución y crecimiento del sector de la acuicultura marina ha sido continua en los últimos años como respuesta fundamental a la pesca convencional, para incrementar la producción de productos marinos y también para intentar mantener estable la producción pesquera. En este sentido, se describe el sector de la acuicultura marina así como su importancia económica en Murcia fundamentalmente, dentro del marco de España y la U.E.
Article
Full-text available
The recent discussion about the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services also raises the question as to whether the argumentative basis for nature conservation can be strengthened by emphasizing the role of species and habitats in supporting ecosystem services. A literature survey shows that mainly socio-cultural and some regulating services are dependent on particular species, groups of species, or habitat types, while many other services, especially those related to provisioning, rely more heavily on vegetation structures and land cover. These findings are exemplified and discussed using a case study on Natura 2000 sites in the Ore Mountains in the German state of Saxony. Only a small portion of the species listed in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive is bound to particular Natura 2000 habitat types. Such species can be regarded as indicators both for these habitats and for the ecosystem services they provide, as well as for indicating changes in ecosystems and related services, which are caused by climate change and land use changes (e.g. due to flood mitigation measures and the enhanced use of renewable energies).
Article
Full-text available
Cotylorhiza tuberculata is a common symbiotic scyphozoan in the Mediterranean Sea. The medusae occur in extremely high abundances in enclosed coastal areas in the Mediterranean Sea. Previous laboratory experiments identified thermal control on its early life stages as the driver of medusa blooms. In the present study, new ecological aspects were tested in laboratory experiments that support the pelagic population success of this zooxanthellate jellyfish. We hypothesized that planulae larvae would have no settlement preference among substrates and that temperature would affect ephyra development, ingestion rates and daily ration. The polyp budding rate and the onset of symbiosis with zooxanthellae also were investigated. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that zooxanthella infection occurred by the polyp stage. Our results showing no substrate selectivity by planulae and high polyp budding rates in high temperatures suggest increased benthic polyp populations, which would lead to higher medusa abundances. Rates of transition from ephyrae to medusae and the feeding of early medusa stages also increased with temperature. Continuing changes in coastal ecosystems such as future climate warming and marine construction may lead to increased populations of jellyfish to the detriment of fish globally.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, geographic information systems (GIS) have become a powerful tool for mapping and assessing the provision of ecosystem services within a landscape. GIS can help land managers and conservationists visualize spatial and temporal patterns and changes in ecosystem services and estimate the potential impact from projected changes in land use or management or climatic conditions on the provision of these services. The end-goal of ecosystem service assessment is usually to estimate marginal values of ecosystem services to inform decisions where trade-offs in ecosystem service provision will affect human well-being. Because our ability to estimate the provision of ecosystem services underlies our ability to estimate their societal values, the theoretical bases of GIS approaches and models for assessing ecosystem services need to be well understood before they are employed for decision-making purposes. This paper reviews GIS approaches and software developed for the assessment of ecosystem services and highlights their strengths and weaknesses in the context of different end uses.
Article
Full-text available
Wetlands have been the focus of conflicts in societal priorities throughout human history, with competing demands for water and land use delivering a range of ecosystem services but contributing to severe degradation and loss. Conservation of wetlands is a relatively recent priority, and it has seen more recent shifts from protection of remaining wetlands initially as a static biodiversity resource towards a focus on the many, formerly largely undervalued beneficial functions that these ecosystems provide to society.The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) assesses the status, trends, ecosystem services and future prospects of eight broad habitat types, including wetlands. Despite confounding factors such as an inconsistent inventory of wetlands, fragmented policy instruments and conflicts with agricultural land use, the NEA has enabled an initial assessment of the extent and condition of the current wetland resource in the UK and the degree of loss of different wetland types and their broad implications not only for biodiversity, but for the delivery of a wide range of ecosystem services. It has also highlighted some of the ways in which wetland ecosystem services can be beneficially exploited, for example as buffer zones, as a means to protect freshwater resources or in flood risk management, as well as the trade-offs inherent in different land uses. We summarise some of the findings of the NEA in relation to some key challenges of linking wetland science to policy.
Article
Full-text available
Large outbreaks of jellyfish populations sporadically appear at the Mediterranean coasts without any self-evident cause creating public distress because of their impact on local ecosystems and economies. The exacerbated sensitivity of coastal societies has not been paralleled with comparable scientific understanding of the causal mechanisms controlling jellyfish population dynamics. Life-cycle and ecosystem complexities obscure the processes underlying medusa outbursts. Here we present evidence that helps explain population outbursts in a common Mediterranean species (Cotylorhiza tuberculata). Using a population-dynamics model and thermal forcing of its life cycle observed abundances of C. tuberculata could be reliably simulated within a coastal lagoon. Medusa populations fluctuate under the simple rule of “the warmer the better”, with collapses after polyp mortality in severe winters and peaks in years with mild winters and long summers. Cause and effect are here resolved to seize the mechanics of climate forcing on jellyfish dynamics, an understanding that can help to explain past and future fluctuations of abundance in a thermally changing ocean.
Article
Full-text available
Surface water nitrate (NO3/-) pollution from agricultural production is well established, although few studies have linked field N budgets, NO3/- loss in tile drained watersheds, and surface water NO3/- loads. This study was conducted to determine field sources, transport, and fiver export of NO3/- from an agricultural watershed. The Embarras River watershed at Camargo (48 173 ha) in east-central Illinois was investigated. The watershed is a tile-drained area of fertile Mollisols (typical soil is Drummer silty clay loam, a fine-silty, mixed mesic Typic Haplaquoll) with primary cropping of maize (Zea mays L) and soybean (Glycine max L.). Agricultural field N sources and sinks, tile drainage NOn concentrations and fluxes, and fiver NO3/- export were estimated for the entire watershed. Large pools of inorganic N were present following each harvest of maize and soybean (average of 3670 Mg N yr-1 over a 6-yr period). The source of most of the inorganic N was divided between N fertilizer and soil mineralized N. High concentrations of NO3/- were found in four monitored drainage tiles (5-49 mg N L-1), and tile concentrations of NO3/- were synchronous with Embarras River NO3/- concentrations. High flow events contributed most of the yearly NO3/- loss (24.7 kg N ha-1 yr-1) from tile drained fields in the 1995 water year (1 Oct. 1994 through 30 Sept. 1995) where high rainfall events occurred in a low overall precipitation year (in one tile 21% of the annual load was exported in 1 d). During the 1996 water year, NO3/- export in tiles was much higher (44.2 kg N ha-1 yr-1) due to greater precipitation, and individual days were less important. On average, about 49% (average of 1688 Mg N yr-1 over a 6-yr period) of the field inorganic N pool was estimated to be leached through drain tiles and seepage and was exported by the Embarras River, although depending on weather and field N balances this ranged from 25 to 85% of the field N balance over the 6-yr period. It seems likely that agricultural disturbance (high mineralization inputs of N) and N fertilization combined with tile drainage contributed significantly to NO3/- export in the Embarras River.
Article
Full-text available
We measured annual discharges of water, sediments, and nutrients from 17 Chesapeake Bay watersheds with differing proportions of agricultural lands on the inner, central, and outer Coastal Plain. In all regions of the Coastal Plain, the flow-weighted mean concentrations of N species in watershed discharge increased as the proportion of cropland in the watershed increased. In contrast, the concentrations of P species did not correlate with any land use. Instead, P concentrations correlated with the concentration of suspended particles, which differed greatly among watersheds in different regions of the Coastal Plain. Consequently, the ratio of N/P in discharges differed widely among watersheds, potentially affecting N or P limitation of phytoplankton growth in the receiving waters. Concentrations of dissolved silicate, organic C, pH, and alkalinity in discharges did not differ greatly among watersheds or correlate with land rise. Nitrogen discharge correlated with net anthropogenic inputs of N to the watershed, but usually less than one-third of the net anthropogenic inputs were discharged.
Chapter
Full-text available
Among the biological components of estuarine systems and other transitional coastal waters, waterbirds are probably the group that has been monitored more intensively and throughout longer time series, especially due to the use of citizen science. Moreover, several authors have reviewed, organized and analyzed critically the role and potential use of waterbirds as bioindicators. Recently, academic research has encouraged more intensive monitoring of waterbirds in the context of bioindication in wetlands and coastal waters. However, in the particular case of coastal lagoons, birds have received little attention compared to research efforts directed to other taxa, ignoring their important role as top predators and underestimating their contribution to various ecological processes. Few studies have included waterbirds as integral components of the food webs in lagoons, relating them to other biota. However, recent studies show that waterbirds respond to changes imposed by a variety of stressors, constituting warning signals against undesirable changes. Waterbirds can be used as bioindicators both at suborganismic and at population-community-ecosystem levels. Either approach requires that the relationships birds establish with habitats and with the ensemble of the lagoon's biocoenosis are clarified. As these relationships and the bioindicator role of waterbirds are established in more detail, stands out their usefulness as indicators of impairment in coastal lagoons of similar characteristics, subject to similar impacts with time lags. Studies on the waterbird community of the Mar Menor Lagoon (SE Spain) show the long-term response of populations to variables related to eutrophication and biological changes (proliferations of jellyfish and changes in fish stocks). Studies based on community variation in relation to internal environmental gradients of the lagoon, show spatial responses that can be mapped, and provide a basis for building indices of integrity. This is a relevant issue given the paucity of studies that explore and apply the indicator value of birds in conservation and environmental evaluation, particularly in the Mediterranean and elsewhere in temperate latitudes. Recent studies that integrate the monitoring of different physico-chemical and biotic variables of the lagoon with waterbird numbers and distribution, and research on waterbird trophic ecology based on stable isotope analysis, aim at clarifying the role of waterbirds as top-down controllers in the food webs of coastal lagoons. A role whose monitoring is also important from an applied perspective, given the potential of some waterbirds like cormorants to become conflicting species (through their interaction with fisheries). The application of these monitoring schemes to other Mediterranean lagoons emerges as a valuable tool for assessing and preventing changes in the ecological status of these systems with respect to relatively undisturbed, reference conditions.
Article
Full-text available
Although recent articles state that jellyfish populations are increasing, most available evidence shows that jellyfish abundances fluctuate with climatic cycles. Reports of increasing prob- lems with jellyfish, especially in East Asia, are too recent to exclude decadal climate cycles. Jellyfish are infamous for their direct negative effects on human enterprise; specifically, they interfere with tourism by stinging swimmers, fishing by clogging nets, aquaculture by killing fish in net-pens and power plants by clogging cooling-water intake screens. They also have indirect effects on fisheries by feeding on zooplankton and ichthyoplankton, and, therefore, are predators and potential competitors of fish. Ironically, many human activities may contribute to increases in jellyfish populations in coastal waters. Increased jellyfish and ctenophore populations often are associated with warming caused by climate changes and possibly power plant thermal effluents. Jellyfish may benefit from eutrophication, which can increase small-zooplankton abundance, turbidity and hypoxia, all conditions that may favor jellyfish over fish. Fishing activities can remove predators of jellyfish and zooplanktivorous fish com- petitors as well as cause large-scale ecosystem changes that improve conditions for jellyfish. Aquacul- ture releases millions of jellyfish into Asian coastal waters yearly to enhance the jellyfish fishery. Aquaculture and other marine structures provide favorable habitat for the benthic stages of jellyfish. Changes in the hydrological regime due to dams and other construction can change the salinity to favor jellyfish. Accidental introductions of non-native gelatinous species into disturbed ecosystems have led to blooms with serious consequences. In many coastal areas, most of these environmental changes occur simultaneously. We summarize cases of problem jellyfish blooms and the evidence for anthropogenic habitat disruptions that may have caused them. Rapid development in East Asia makes that region especially vulnerable to escalating problems. We conclude that human effects on coastal environments are certain to increase, and jellyfish blooms may increase as a consequence.
Article
Full-text available
Changes in wandering beetle assemblages (Carabidae and Tenebrionidae) of different habitats situated in coastal wetlands of a Mediterranean arid area (Mar Menor, SE Spain) were analysed in 1984, 1992 and 2003 by pitfall trapping. Over two decades, the increase in irrigated lands at watershed scale led to rising water tables in the Mar Menor wetlands, which affected their beetle communities. These hydrological changes caused an increase in the carabid population, particularly in the sites most affected by flooding, where halobionts and halophiles, which were practically absent in 1984 and 1992, had become dominant by 2003. In contrast, tenebrionid assemblages simplified with time and by 2003 were dominated by one or two generalist species.
Chapter
Full-text available
M1: Book, Section; Dynamics of Coastal Wetlands and Land Use Changes in the Watershed: Implications for the Biodiversity; ID: 9
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystem services are natural assets produced by the environment and utilized by humans -- such as clean air, water, food and materials -- and contribute to social and cultural well-being. This concept, arguably, has been developed further in wetlands than any other ecosystem. Wetlands were historically important in producing the extensive coal deposits of the Carboniferous period; key steps in human development took place in communities occupying the wetland margins of rivers, lakes and the sea; and wetlands play a key role in the hydrological cycle influencing floods and river droughts. In this paper we examine three pillars that support the wetland research agenda: hydrology, wetland origins and development, and linkages to society. We investigate these through an overview of the evolution of wetland science and assessment of the wide range of topics relating to ecosystem services covered in this Special Issue. We explain the seminal change in how modern society values the benefits of natural ecosystems and highlight the pathfinder role that wetland research has played in the paradigm shift.Co-editors D. Koutsoyiannis and Z.W. KundzewiczCitation Maltby, E. and Acreman, M.C., 2011. Ecosystem services of wetlands: pathfinder for a new paradigm. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 56 (8), 1341–1359.
Article
Full-text available
An appropriate hydrological regime within a wetland is essential to maintain its goods and services. This regime is related to the source of the water, which differs for particular kinds of wetlands. This paper presents an overview of the ecosystem services of European wetlands, based on a representative sample of 102 protected wetlands larger than 5000 ha, and the implications of hydrological alterations caused by future climate and socio-economic changes. Six major ecosystem services of wetlands were assessed namely: biodiversity in terms of plants and animals, biomass production, nutrient removal, carbon storage and fish production. Data showed that, on average, four services were present in each wetland. The impact of climate change, water management and land-use change was examined under different future scenarios. Major potential changes in hydrological regime (i.e. precipitation, groundwater recharge and river flow) were quantified up to the 2050s using simulated runoff and river flow data of the WaterGAP model driven by the climate input of two different general circulation models (GCMs), IPCM4 and MIMR. Thresholds of hydrological change that would endanger each ecosystem service were identified. The impacts of future scenarios were distributed across Europe with potential threats to ecosystem services of European wetlands resulting in the loss of between 26 and 46% of all identified ecosystem services in 2050. The models and scenarios suggest that the most significant loss of ecosystem services is likely to occur in Central Europe (Hungary, Germany, France, Belarus, Poland). In general, the most fragile services (the largest number lost) are projected to be those connected to the surface water dynamics-mostly the services of wetland birds and fish spawning. Ecosystem services dependent on groundwater dynamics and water balance changes are seemingly more buffered against the expected hydrological stress.
Article
Full-text available
Seyfe Lake is one of the most important wetlands of Turkey and it is classified among "first-class wetland areas" according to international criteria. The protection of the lake is assured at an international level after its inclusion in the Ramsar Agreement in 1994. Because of wrong water management practices and drought, Seyfe Lake has shrunk since 2004 in terms of both the area and the length of duration as wetland. In 2006, the government started to grant agricultural subsidies for decreasing water usage in agricultural activities around the lake. Fifty-four agricultural enterprises in Seyfe, Gumuskumbet, Yazikinik and Eski Doganli villages, which are located around the Lake, were taken under the scope of the research. The data derived from the surveys conducted in these enterprises were assessed so that the impact of the agricultural activity in the region on the wetland is revealed. Irrigated farming activities in the region declined because of subsidies granted after 2006 and the wetland perception of producers in the region started to change towards a protective approach. Ninety-two point six percent of the producers leave space between parcels for sustaining natural life and 28.3% of the producers sow more seeds considering the birds living in the region. However, as these producers are not adequately informed about the use of fertilizers and pesticides, they adjust the amount they use according to the money available.
Article
Full-text available
Nutrient input dynamics in the Mar Menor coastal lagoon has recently changed as a consequence of changes in agricultural practises. An interannual comparison of the environmental variables and the planktonic biomass size-spectra was performed between 1988 and 1997. While nitrate concentration was low in 1988, the values in 1997 increased considerably. Since 1995, two alloctonous jellyfish species (Rhyzostoma pulmo and Cotylorhiza tuberculata) occurred in large numbers in summer time and reached peak abundance in summer of 1997. The size-spectra analysis comparison revealed that, in spite of changes in nutrient input that stimulated the growth of larger phytoplankton cells, there were no significant differences in the spectra slope which followed a similar seasonal trend in both years. However, the plankton biovolume considered under the size range compared (between 2 and 1000 m diameter) was, paradoxically, always lower in 1997. Given that there were higher nutrient levels in 1997, this finding suggest a strong top-down control mechanism of size structure. Gut contents of jellyfishes showed their preference for large diatoms, tintinnids, veliger larvae and copepods, corroborating that size structure in these assemblages can be subject to top-down control. The implication of these results is that the feeding activities of large gelatinous zooplankton (jellyfishes) may play an important role controlling the consequences of eutrophication within the Mar Menor coastal lagoon.
Article
Full-text available
The Mar Menor is the largest coastal lagoon in the Western Mediterranean and it is an important site for wintering and breeding waterfowl. During recent decades several hydrological and land-use changes in the watershed have increasingly threatened the conservation of the lagoon due to the development of urban areas, tourism and agriculture. A dynamic system model has been developed at the watershed scale to estimate the annual load of nutrients reaching the Mar Menor-associated wetlands. At present, mean annual loadings of approximately 2000tonnes of nitrogen and 60tonnes of phosphorus are delivered to the lagoon. The simulation results emphasize the role of heavy rainfall events and floods in the formation of the total nutrient load. The composition of aquatic bird communities has been used to assess the nutrient impact on the lagoon food-web. The Great Crested Grebe is apparently the species most closely dependant on local trophic conditions. The related Black-necked Grebe, that dominates the waterbird community of the lagoon, plays a similar role, but its more opportunistic response to changes in food resources, reduces its indicator value. The abundance of the two species of grebes seems to closely track the nitrogen load curve, especially during the first phase of enrichment, suggesting the existence of a direct trophic relationship. In the following phase, jellyfish blooms coincide with the bird decline. Jellyfishes seem to have a buffering effect towards nutrients, determining a bottom up limitation to other trophic compartments. In recent years, this buffering capacity has probably been overloaded, favouring the growth of new food resources available to the grebes. Unlike grebes, Mergus serrator, a typical piscivorous bird, does not seem to be affected positively by eutrophication since it shows a long-term stability in numbers or even a slight decline. Since this suspected decline would parallel a long-term reduction of fish catches, the species could be regarded as a potential indicator of habitat deterioration.
Article
Full-text available
The Mar Menor is a Mediterranean coastal lagoon of high conservation interest, but highly threatened by non-point pollution derived from agricultural lands. This is the first comprehensive study that evaluates the inputs into the Mar Menor from a drainage channel and the Albujón wadi, the main watercourse, and their influence on the trophic state of the lagoon. Discharge variation during the study period was closely related to the precipitation pattern. Suspended sediments and particulate organic matter loads greatly increased with flash floods. Nitrate concentrations, too, increased after heavy autumn rains through washing of the nitrates accumulated in soils, although no significant correlations were found between nitrate concentrations and precipitation or discharge. The nitrate load depended on several factors including the intensity and frequency of precipitation, and the nitrates accumulated in soils as a result of fertilisation. Phosphate concentrations decreased with higher flows. The total input into the lagoon from the two discharges estimated for the period September 2002–October 2003 were 10,142 t.yr−1of suspended sediments, 389 t.yr−1 of particulate organic matter, 2,010 t.yr−1 of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (93 % as NO− 3) and 178 t.yr−1 of soluble reactive phosphorus. The Albujón wadi exported about 80% of the N load and 70% of the P load. Higher flows contributed approximately 80% of the total discharge and nutrient loads, 99% of suspended sediment and 88% of the particulate organic matter. Mean suspended solids and nutrient concentrations in the lagoon followed a spatial pattern, decreasing with distance from the mouth of the Albujón wadi. Water nitrate and phosphate concentrations in the Mar Menor lagoon were lower than reference limits for eutrophic conditions, except after heavy rains. Nutrient concentrations were positively correlated with precipitation variables and particulate and nutrient inputs. Phosphorus was the most limiting nutrient in the Mar Menor, the DIN:SRP ratios found being higher than the Redfield ratio on all sampling dates. Phytoplankton bloom in the lagoon was only found next to the Albujón mouth during late summer and extending 5000 m into the lagoon in autumn as a consequence of large freshwater discharge caused by flash floods. Around 53.6% of the variation in chlorophyll a in the lagoon was explained by the NH4 and NO3 inputs and distance from the Albujón mouth. A good deal of P input into the lagoon is retained in the sediments, supporting a high biomass of the benthic macroalga Caulerpa prolifera in spring and summer.
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades wetlands associated with the Mar Menor lagoon (SE Spain) have undergone several hydrological and biological changes as a consequence of increased water inputs from agricultural drainage off the watershed. Changes in the vegetal communities were studied by means of supervised classification of Landsat images, and TM and ETM+ sensors during the period 1984–2000, and a series of land cover maps was created. Changes in the wetland area during this period were analysed and a good fit was found with the total area of irrigated lands in the watershed. The series of land cover maps also allowed the study of the internal composition of the vegetal communities in each wetland. Important changes were detected, with an expansion of reedbeds and a significant reduction in the area occupied by priority habitats according to the Habitats Directive.
Article
Full-text available
Coastal zones are widely recognised as being particularly vulnerable to future environmental change. Although a significant number of previous papers warn of an increasing tendency in the appearance of eutrophication processes in such systems, very few papers have evaluated the influence of global climate change on eutrophication. In the Mar Menor lagoon (SE Spain), the high biomass of the main primary producer, Caulerpa prolifera Forsskal (Lamououx), covers most of the bottom, and has probably increased the resistance of the lagoon to eutrophication processes through the high uptake of nutrients from the water column and their retention in the sediments, avoiding high phytoplankton densities. Nevertheless, if climate change predictions become true, the current status of the lagoon is likely to collapse, since future environmental conditions could make C. prolifera unable to reach values of net photosynthesis greater than zero, and eutrophication processes are expected to appear.
Article
Full-text available
Agricultural practices are essential for sustaining the human population, but at the same time they can directly disrupt ecosystem functioning. Ecological risk assessment (ERA) aims to estimate possible adverse effects of human activities on ecosystems and their parts. Current ERA practices, however, incorporate very little ecology and base the risk estimates on the results of standard tests with several standard species. The main obstacles for a more ecologically relevant ERA are the lack of clear protection goals and the inherent complexity of ecosystems that is hard to approach empirically. In this paper, we argue that the ecosystem services framework offers an opportunity to define clear and ecologically relevant protection goals. At the same time, ecological models provide the tools to address ecological complexity to the degree needed to link measurement endpoints and ecosystem services, and to quantify service provision and possible adverse effects from human activities. We focus on the ecosystem services relevant for agroecosystem functioning, including pollination, biocontrol and eutrophication effects and present modeling studies relevant for quantification of each of the services. The challenges of the ecosystem services approach are discussed as well as the limitations of ecological models in the context of ERA. A broad, multi-stakeholder dialog is necessary to aid the definition of protection goals in terms of services delivered by ecosystems and their parts. The need to capture spatio-temporal dynamics and possible interactions among service providers pose challenges for ecological models as a basis for decision making. However, we argue that both fields are advancing quickly and can prove very valuable in achieving more ecologically relevant ERA.
Article
Full-text available
Interest in ecosystem services has grown tremendously among a wide range of sectors, including government agencies, NGO's and the business community. Ecosystem services entailing freshwater (e.g. flood control, the provision of hydropower, and water supply), as well as carbon storage and sequestration, have received the greatest attention in both scientific and on-the-ground applications. Given the newness of the field and the variety of tools for predicting water-based services, it is difficult to know which tools to use for different questions. There are two types of freshwater-related tools--traditional hydrologic tools and newer ecosystem services tools. Here we review two of the most prominent tools of each type and their possible applications. In particular, we compare the data requirements, ease of use, questions addressed, and interpretability of results among the models. We discuss the strengths, challenges and most appropriate applications of the different models. Traditional hydrological tools provide more detail whereas ecosystem services tools tend to be more accessible to non-experts and can provide a good general picture of these ecosystem services. We also suggest gaps in the modeling toolbox that would provide the greatest advances by improving existing tools.
Article
journal published by Elsevier. The attached copy is furnished to the author for internal non-commercial research and education use, including for instruction at the authors institution and sharing with colleagues. Other uses, including reproduction and distribution, or selling or licensing copies, or posting to personal, institutional or third party websites are prohibited. In most cases authors are permitted to post their version of the article (e.g. in Word or Tex form) to their personal website or institutional repository. Authors requiring further information regarding Elsevier's archiving and manuscript policies are encouraged to visit:
Article
Birds use a number of environmental cues to time their breeding season to maximise their chances of raising young when food is most abundant. Such cues include photoperiod, temperature and rainfall. In very arid regions, birds may start egg-laying with the onset of rain to allow fledging to coincide with the availability of grass seeds. However the influence of rainfall on timing of egg-laying in areas with variable, but more reliable, rainfall has not been as clear. Carnaby’s Cockatoo, an endemic species of southwestern Australia, a region with a Mediterranean climate, is known colloquially as “the rainbird” as its movements to the breeding areas appear to coincide with the start of the wetter part of the year. Here we use a long-term data set on the breeding of this species (24 years of data from 1969 to 2011) to quantify the link between the timing of autumn rains and the commencement of egg-laying in this endangered cockatoo. We found a tight synchrony which indicates a strong reliance of the species on early autumn rains as a cue for breeding. We describe the conservation implications of increased variability in timing and quantity of rainfall for the long-term viability of Carnaby’s Cockatoo.
Article
Agricultural runoff can be a source of P, a limiting factor for freshwater eutrophication. To develop a simple method to estimate P export from the cropland, we studied 1.2-μm filtered dissolved phosphorus (DP) output from four tiles draining areas ranging from 8 to 25 ha, and from a fiver draining a 48 173 ha watershed in east-central Illinois during 1993 to 1996. The land was under maize (Zea mays L.)-soybean (Glycine max L.) rotation. The tiles were estimated to contribute more than 86% of the river flow and 65 to 69% of the river DP export during 1995 to 1996. The DP load from tiles followed consecutive pseudo first-order kinetics in terms of tile flow (DP load depended on the amount of DP remaining in the soil matrix). The kinetic curves indicated a soluble-inorganic-P pool that was quickly depleted and replenished. In contrast, for DP export from the fiver at the watershed scale we observed pseudo zero-order kinetics based on river flow (DP export was independent of how much DP remained in the watershed). The contribution from numerous tiles and surface runoff to the river may have stabilized DP export at the watershed scale and therefore could explain the different kinetic orders. For the study watershed, a one parameter equation could estimate watershed-wide DP export: k' x (surface water discharge from the watershed) x (watershed area), with k' being 3.94 x 10-6 mg P L-1 ha-1. Our approach should be tested in watersheds with different geographic and agricultural characteristics.
Article
In the Mar Menor lagoon (SE Spain) recent changes in the nearby agricultural practices, from extensive dry crop farming to intensively irrigated crops, have increased nutrient and particulate inputs through the principal watercourse that flows into the lagoon, the Albujón wadi. The concentration of nutrients and suspended sediments in the waters has risen, increasing phytoplankton densities and diminishing water column transparency. As a result of these environmental changes, the traditional main macrophyte of the Mar Menor, Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson, has been replaced by the macroalga Caulerpa prolifera (Forsskal) Lamouroux creating changes in the sediment characteristics with profound consequences to benthic communities and also to local fishing and tourism. In the study area, seagrass respiration exceeded photosynthesis while the macroalga presented positive rates of net photosynthesis. C. prolifera is better adapted to these new conditions of light and nutrient concentration and has expanded its distribution, occupying most of the bottom of the lagoon and restricting C. nodosa to small patches in very shallow areas, where plant growth is not limited by light and no C. prolifera can be found because of photoinhibition and emersion stress.
Article
1. Lough Neagh and Lough Beg Special Protection Area (SPA, hereafter Lough Neagh) is an important non-estuarine site in Britain and Ireland for overwintering wildfowl. Multivariate analysis of the winter counts showed a state-shift in the waterbird community following winter 2000/2001, mostly due to rapid declines in abundance (46–57% declines in the mean mid-winter January counts between 1993–2000 and 2002–2009) of members of the diving duck guild (pochard Aythya ferina, tufted duck Aythya fuligula and goldeneye Bucephala clangula) and coot (Fulica atra), a submerged macrophyte feeder. 2. Only pochard showed correlations between declines at Lough Neagh and those of overall species flyway population indices to suggest that global changes could contribute to declines at the site. However, indices from the Republic of Ireland showed no overall decline in the rest of Ireland. Tufted duck indices at the site were inversely related to indices in Great Britain. Lough Neagh goldeneye indices were positively correlated with indices in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain, suggesting that short-stopping could contribute to declines at the site. Coot declines at Lough Neagh did not correlate with trends elsewhere, suggesting local factors involved in the decline. 3. These analyses indicate that although there are potentially different explanations for the dramatic declines in these four waterbird species at this site, the simultaneous nature of the declines across two feeding guilds strongly suggest that local factors (such as loss of submerged macrophytes and benthic invertebrates) were involved. An assessment of the food supply, local disturbance and other factors at Lough Neagh is required to find an explanation for the observed adverse trends in wintering numbers of the affected species. 4. This study highlights the potential of waterbird community structure to reflect the status of aquatic systems, but confirms the need to establish site-specific factors responsible for the observed changes in abundance of key waterbird species at a site.
Article
In the European Union (EU) efforts to conserve biodiversity have been consistently directed towards the protection of habitats and species through the designation of protected areas under the Habitats Directive (92/43/ECC). These biodiversity conservation efforts also have the potential to maintain or improve the supply of ecosystem services; however, this potential has been poorly explored across Europe. This paper reports on a spatial assessment of the relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem services, and conservation status of protected habitats at European scale. We mapped at 10 km resolution ten spatial proxies for ecosystem service supply (four provisioning services, five regulating services and one cultural service) and three proxies for biodiversity (Mean Species Abundance, tree species diversity and the relative area of Natura 2000 sites). Indicators for biodiversity and aggregated ecosystem service supply were positively related but this relationship was influenced by the spatial trade-offs among ecosystem services, in particular between crop production and regulating ecosystem services. Using multinomial logistic regression models we demonstrated that habitats in a favourable conservation status provided more biodiversity and had a higher potential to supply, in particular, regulating and cultural ecosystem services than habitats in an unfavourable conservation status. This information is of utmost importance in identifying regions in which measures are likely to result in cost-effective progress towards both new biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services targets adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.
Article
In the Mar Menor lagoon (SE Spain) recent changes in the nearby agricultural practises, from extensive dry crop farming to intensively irrigated crops, have increased nutrient and particulate inputs through the principal watercourse that flows into the lagoon, the Albujón wadi. The concentration of nutrients and suspended sediments in the waters has risen, increasing phytoplankton densities and diminishing water column transparency. As a result of these environmental changes, the traditional main macrophyte of the Mar Menor, Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson, has been replaced by the macroalga Caulerpa prolifera (Forsskal) Lamouroux originating changes in the sediment characteristics with profound consequences to benthic communities and also to local fishing and tourism. In the study area, seagrass respiration exceeded photosynthesis while the macroalga presented positive rates of net photosynthesis. C. prolifera is better adapted to these new conditions of light and nutrient concentration and has expanded its distribution, occupying most of the bottom of the lagoon and restricting C. nodosa to small patches in very shallow areas, where plant growth is not limited by light and no C. prolifera can be found because of photoinhibition and emersion stress.
Article
As the services of wetlands are uniquely related to hydrological processes, they result in a wide range of benefits to humankind. Although this facilitates the characterization of wetlands as natural assets, there are measurement problems. Because wetland services are nearly always non-marketed, they need to be explicitly valued to determine the trade-offs between development and conservation of wetlands. Two case studies, a floodplain in northern Nigeria and mangroves in southern Thailand, illustrate the issues involved. In the case of Nigeria, the natural capital is the river floodplain, and the trade-off is the upstream water diversion compared to the downstream flooding benefits to farming, fishery and forestry, as well as groundwater recharge. In the case of Thailand, the natural capital is the mangrove system, and the trade-off is the conversion to shrimp farms, as opposed to the mangrove benefits of locally harvested products, habitat-fishery linkages and storm protection.Editor D. Koutsoyiannis; Guest editor M.C. AcremanCitation Barbier, E.B., 2011. Wetlands as natural assets. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 56 (8), 1360–1373.
Article
This paper quantifies the allocation of ecosystem services value (ESV) associated with land use pattern and qualitatively examined impacts of land use changes and socio-economic factors on spatiotemporal variation of ESV in the Natural Wetland Distribution Area (NWDA), Fuzhou city, China. The results showed that total ESV of the study area decreased from 4,332.16 × 10(6) RMB Yuan in 1989 to 3,697.42 × 10(6) RMB Yuan in 2009, mainly due to the remarkable decreases in cropland (decreased by 55.3 %) and wetland (decreased by 74.2 %). Forest, water, and wetland played major roles in providing ecosystem services, accounting for over 90 % of the total ESV. Based on time series Landsat TM/ETM+ imagery, geographic information system, and historical data, analysis of the spatiotemporal variation of ESV from 1989 to 2009 was performed. It indicated that rapid expansion of urban areas along the Minjiang River resulted in significant changes in land use types, leading to a dramatic decline in ecosystem services. Meanwhile, because of land scarcity and unique ecosystem functions, the emergency of wetland and cropland protection in built-up area has become an urgent task of local authorities to the local government. Furthermore, there was still a significant negative correlation between ESV of cropland and wetland and the GDP. The results suggest that future planning of land use pattern should control encroachment of urban areas into cropland and wetland in addition to scientific and rational policies towards minimizing the adverse effects of urbanization.
Article
Wetlands are one of the most altered natural systems due to the creation and development of agricultural landscapes. Some of agriculture’s impacts are in relation to water quality decreases, due to the use of potentially toxic herbicides or pesticides, and they are responsible of ecological alterations. This study shows the negative effect that two pesticides generate in a population of the copepod Arctodiaptomus salinus in an aquatic ecosystem that is surrounded by intensive olive tree cultivation. Adult females and egg sacs of that calanoid copepod were exposed to different concentrations of copper sulphate and the pesticide dimethoate, to examine their tolerance response. The adult lethal concentration obtained was lower than the regular dose of pesticide used in olive agriculture. These results also reflect the negative effect over A. salinus secondary production as a consequence of the increase in females and nauplii mortality and by the hatching rate reduction.
Article
Ecosystem services analysis can help recognize the full costs and benefits of land management decisions. Quantification and valuation of services can enhance policies and regulations and, if linked with payments or incentives, properly reward private decisions that yield public benefits. However, the field of ecosystem services research is relatively new and quantification and valuation remains highly uncertain. While there is significant uncertainty about the biophysical production of ecosystem services, there is additional uncertainty about the value of services. This paper explores how uncertainty associated with valuation of ecosystem services in agriculture affects the ranking of land use alternatives in terms of social net benefits. We compare the values of four land use scenarios in the Minnesota River Basin, USA, by combining a range of value estimates for these services with varying estimates for returns from agricultural production. Although variations in ecosystem service values are significant, fluctuations in agricultural returns more significantly determine how scenarios rank with regard to delivery of total value. This analysis suggests that addressing uncertainty in ecosystem service valuation is critical to accurately assessing tradeoffs in land use.
Article
Lysimeter trials carried out over several years showed that cutting mineral fertilizer by 50% does not immediately result in a reduction of the leaching losses of relevant macronutrients (N, P, K). Land usage changes in the form of 1-year rotating set-asides entail greater N-leaching compared to best management practices (BMP). By contrast, after set-aside lasting 3–5 years, reductions in N-leaching of 25–45% must be expected. Lysimeter trials of reintegrating land set-aside for a number of years into intensive agriculture without increasing N-leaching losses are presented. Ways of scaling up lysimeter results to fields and small catchments are described, as well as areas where research still needs to be carried out are discussed. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.RÉSUMÉDes essais lysimétriques sur plusieurs années ont démontré qu'une réduction de 50% de l'utilisation d'engrais minéraux n'entraînait pas immédiatement une réduction de l'exportation des macro-substances nutritives importantes (N, P, K). Des modifications au niveau de l'aménagement des sols sous forme de jachères tournantes annuelles sont, comparées à une exploitation se conformant aux principes de “best management practices”, liées à de forts lessivages des substances azotées. Par contre, en cas de mise en jachère sur 3, voire 5 années, on peut compter sur des réductions du lessivage des substances azotées comprises entre 25 et 45%. Des alternatives permettant la réintégration en agriculture intensive des surfaces jachérisées pendant plusieurs années sans augmentation des exportations des substances azotées sont proposées. Des méthodes d'extension des résultats lysimétriques à des unités plus grandes (champs, bassins d'alimentation restreints) sont présentées et les perspectives de recherche sont évoquées. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Key Words wetland area, wetland functions, wetland loss, restoration ■ Abstract Estimates of global wetland area range from 5.3 to 12.8 million km 2 . About half the global wetland area has been lost, but an international treaty (the 1971 Ramsar Convention) has helped 144 nations protect the most significant remaining wetlands. Because most nations lack wetland inventories, changes in the quantity and quality of the world's wetlands cannot be tracked adequately. Despite the likelihood that remaining wetlands occupy less than 9% of the earth's land area, they contribute more to annually renewable ecosystem services than their small area implies. Biodi-versity support, water quality improvement, flood abatement, and carbon sequestration are key functions that are impaired when wetlands are lost or degraded. Restoration techniques are improving, although the recovery of lost biodiversity is challenged by invasive species, which thrive under disturbance and displace natives. Not all dam-ages to wetlands are reversible, but it is not always clear how much can be retained through restoration. Hence, we recommend adaptive approaches in which alternative techniques are tested at large scales in actual restoration sites.
Article
Dual discounting is a new approach under consideration for use in environmental cost–benefit analysis. This paper updates the literature on this subject and subjects it to the assessment of an international panel of experts on environmental discounting by means of a Delphi study. Subsequently, a case study provides some findings deriving from the practical application of this strategy as the choice of discounting scenario in the economic evaluation of a plant for the desalination of irrigation return water, aimed at halting the degradation of a wetland. There are theoretical and practical reasons to support the use of this discounting approach in relation to projects with intergenerational impact, where the environmental effects are considerable in relation to market effects. Although still under investigation, the dual discounting approach appears to provide an appropriate methodological platform enabling the quantification of the degree of intergenerational equity implicit in the project.
Article
A new river basin model (TRANS) for studying the transport, removal and accumulation of nutrients in rivers, lakes and riparian areas has been developed and tested on data from a 115 km2 river basin in Denmark (river Gjern). The model combines catchment information on soil type and land use with a physical hydrodynamic modelling system and several semi-dynamic empirical models on diffuse nutrient loading and nutrient retention in rivers, lakes and riparian areas. Three main river basin management scenarios were defined for this basin and the environmental effects analysed using the model: 1. Improved sewage treatment at sewage works; 2. 20% set-aside of arable land; 3. river system rehabilitation. Combining the three scenarios in an overall river basin management strategy reduced annual total nitrogen export from the river basin by 93 tonnes, corresponding to a 53% reduction in nitrogen export during the hydrological year 1994–95. Similarly, annual total phosphorus export was reduced by 2.6 tonnes corresponding to a 46% reduction in phosphorus export.
Article
A study has been conducted in a salt marsh, located in the coast of the Mar Menor lagoon (SE Spain), in which three watercourses overflow. Water samples were regularly collected over a one-year period from two transects established through the salt marsh towards the lagoon. All the samples were analysed for electrical conductivity, pH, sulphides, chlorides, nitrate, ammonium and dissolved phosphorus. The quality of the water flowing from the watercourses to the salt marsh showed a seasonal pattern, with higher contents of nitrates (> 200 mg NO− 3 L−1) in periods of maximum agricultural activities in the nearby areas, as well as a higher content of ammonium (> 30 mg NH+ 4 L−1) and phosphorus (> 10 mg PO3− 4−P L−1) when the human population increased in the zone as a result of tourism. The general spatial pattern of nutrient retention in the salt marsh, indicated by a reduction in the nutrient concentrations in the water closer to the lagoon, was modulated depending on the season. In the driest months, the marsh was 100% effective in reducing nutrient concentrations, but in the rainy periods the effectiveness was reduced. This reduction was more evident for phosphorus in autumn, whose concentration increased in the lower part of the salt marsh closer to the lagoon until it reached that of the inflow. This could mainly be explained by the accumulation of water in some sites near the lagoon, which can act as sinks of pollutants. Our data support the existence of polluted water in the surface watercourses of the area, and the associated risk can include soil salinization and the eutrophication of aquatic systems. Based on our data, the Mar Menor coastal marshes have an important role as filters to reduce pollution in this lagoon.
Article
The concept of ecosystem services has become important for our understanding of the role of nature for maintaining human livelihoods. But is biodiversity essential to maintain ecosystem services? Many studies suggest that higher biodiversity allows a higher level of ecosystem services, but others argue that there is little hard evidence, especially from tropical environments, to document the necessity of high biodiversity for provision of most ecosystem services. Thus, effective valuation of biodiversity for ecosystem services and long-term studies and monitoring are needed to fully understand the complex biodiversity-ecosystem service interface. This introduction briefly reviews some of the main arguments in this debate and provides an overview of the other five special issue papers. Exploring biodiversity and ecosystem interactions in the context of the provision of ecosystem services, these papers address population and biodiversity coexistence, the importance of dung beetles in agricultural landscapes, the knowledge and use of palms by local communities, bioprospecting for drugs and how biodiversity conservation may have added benefits in terms of improved watershed functions and health. KeywordsBiodiversity-Ecosystem services-Valuation-Ecological economics-Sustainable financing-Monitoring-Bioprospecting-Local knowledge-Conservation-Population-Environment
Article
A method of integrated economic and environmental modelling of agricultural production effects in Denmark is presented in this paper. The method combines a partial-equilibrium sector model for Danish agriculture; farm account statistics; a GIS-based procedure for spatial disaggregation of the agricultural production structure; a procedure for calculating farm economic output, and a nitrate loading model. The method is applied by analysing two alternative nitrogen tax policies in terms of their effects on farm value added, nitrate leaching, and nitrate loading of coastal waters. The tax policies are a per-unit tax on nitrogen in commercial fertilisers; and a per-unit tax on nitrogen in commercial fertilisers and purchased animal feed stuff. The cost-effectiveness of these two tax instruments is analysed by comparing the costs of reducing nitrate leaching by 20 per cent using the two policy measures. Results suggest that: (1) there are large differences between nitrate leaching from pig, cattle, plant and part time farms, (2) predicted spatial patterns of nitrate leaching and loading exhibit considerable spatial variations, (3) abatement costs are larger in the combined tax scenario and varies significantly between farm types.
Article
This paper reports changes in vegetation distribution and species cover in relation to soil factors and hydrology in a semiarid Mediterranean salt marsh adjacent to the Mar Menor saline lagoon. Species cover, soil salinity, and the groundwater level were monitored between 1991 and 1993 and between 2002 and 2004, and total organic carbon, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, nitrates, ammonium and exchangeable phosphorus were measured in the soils in both study periods. In addition, three soil profiles were described in August 1992 and August 2004. The results indicate an elevation of the water table throughout the 13-year period, which was attributable to water flowing from areas with intensive agriculture. Flooding increased and soil salinity dropped in the most saline sites and increased in the least saline ones. The morphology of the soil profiles reflected the increase in flooding periods, due to the appearance of a greyer matrix in the deeper horizons and a more diffuse pattern of Fe mottles. Following these environmental changes, Sarcocornia fruticosa, Phragmites australis and Juncus maritimus strongly expanded at the wettest sites, which led to the disappearance of the original zonation pattern. The cover of Limonium delicatulum, in turn, decreased with the increase in moisture but increased following the increase in salinity. Changes in soil nutrients were only very evident in the sandy soils of the beach, probably due to the influence of organic debris deposited on the shoreline by the storms and due to the strong increase in the colonisation of this habitat by perennial species. According to the results obtained, control measures are needed in order to preserve habitat diversity in this and other salt marshes of this area. Monitoring of the vegetation distribution could be a useful tool to identify environmental impacts, in order to implement remedial actions.
Article
The purpose of this paper is to provide a classification of the literature concerning the application of the cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) to evaluate management measures for the improvement of watershed quality. This literature focuses on eutrophication from agricultural runoff and industrial activities. The knowledge of the cost-environmental effectiveness of a management practice/technique or of a market-based instrument (economic instruments, environmental agreements) as well as an understanding of which quantitative and qualitative data are needed for the application of CEA could be used as a tool, in the management processes, for the identification of the appropriate policy measures for each case study-watershed. From this classification effort results that according to the environmental target and the considered assumptions for the leaching of nutrients different management measures and different mix of these measures provide a cost-effective diminution of watershed pollution. The decrease of agricultural run-off water pollution is a priority and organic farming, new tillage practices, and catch crops are recommended. Moreover, wetlands restoration is described as a low-cost option. Tradable permits and environmental agreements under an appropriate management design are proposed for the decrease of pollutants caused by industrial activities. However, the positive interaction of these measures with stakeholders is the decisive factor for their application and effectiveness and also the least costly way.
Article
During the last decades, agricultural intensification has modified the hydrology of Mediterranean wetlands, as has occurred in the Mar Menor coastal lagoon (SE Spain). Salt-steppe dominated wetlands, characteristic of transitional areas surrounding this lagoon and rich in biodiversity values, are threatened by changes in their water regime originated by land-use changes in the watershed. Traditional dryland cultures have also been replaced by irrigated ones. We assess the direct and indirect changes induced by agriculture on a terrestrial vertebrate community (steppe birds) especially sensitive to these ecosystem changes. This is made on the basis of several surveys of terrestrial birds (excluding aerial feeders and raptors) carried out between 1984 and 2008 in a representative wetland of the lagoon's continental margin (Marina del Carmolí). The changes in this bird assemblage reflect the hydrological modifications induced by agriculture at the watershed scale, which have significant effects on the relative representation of wetland habitats. Bird metrics and indices (species abundance, taxonomic composition, conservation value) describe these community changes as the combination of early declines in some species and families, and transient or late increases in other. In the long term, the family Alaudidae (and particularly species like Melanocorypha calandra) have lost importance to the benefit of Turdidae and Fringillidae. The area of salt-steppe explains a large part of the variation in the abundance of Alaudidae, while most variation of Turdidae and Fringillidae respond to the area of saltmarsh. Some Alaudidae seem to take advantage of the intermediate stages of saltmarsh expansion (Calandrella rufescens), or from the marginal irrigated crops fringing the wetland (Calandrella brachydactyla) that could compensate the loss of original agricultural habitats. Habitat changes in the wetland have occurred in three differentiated stages, and modify the steppe bird community towards a more heterogeneous assemblage including scrubland and palustrine species. Among three indices of ornithological value, only that based on the EU Bird's Directive Annex I species was negatively affected, but since the wetland has been designated a Specially Protected Area under this regulation, this represents a management failure. There exists some chance, however, to manage peripheral cropland in favour of biodiversity. The importance of monitoring in conservation evaluation and management is also stressed, since the terrestrial bird community of this wetland has not been regularly surveyed. In fact, its evaluation against the Bird's Directive criteria was made in a period of quick departure from the original, good ecological state of the wetland.
Article
Governmental programmes and international agreements to counteract eutrophication have largely not attained agreed objectives (e.g. reduction by half of the anthropogenic nitrogen load on Swedish coastal waters). Important components of such programmes are improved removal of nitrogen in municipal treatment plants and changed agricultural practices. In addition, increased N-removal during runoff, i.e. restoration of ponds and wetlands, is an important strategy. One explanation of the fact that the objectives have yet not been achieved might be that the most effective step to counteract diffuse pollution has not been fully implemented. It is therefore important to stress the potential of effective measures and find ways to fully implement them at the watershed level. It is important to avoid excessive applications of fertilizers because this leads to an exponential increase in leaching. Field experiments indicate that the use of winter crops or an undersown catch crop outside the main cropping season has reduced nitrate losses by up to 75% in single years, and by nearly 50% over successive years. In southern Sweden, the area of wetlands has been reduced considerably (more than 90%) by melioration activities. In a recent project, budget studies with restored ponds verified the importance of ponds and wetlands in nitrogen retention. Per unit area, increased nitrogen loading implied increased nitrogen retention, but often a decrease in the percent retained. Ponds with depths of 0.4–2.0 m and hydrological loads of 0.14–5.2 m3 m−2 day−1 were created. One hundred and fifty to seven thousand kg N ha−1 year−1 was removed in ponds loaded by streams dominated by agricultural run off. A pond receiving pre-treated municipal wastewater removed 8000 kg N ha−1 year−1. The upper limit for N-removal is set by the hydrological conditions. Sedimentation of organic material must be favoured in order to obtain adequate conditions for denitrification. To achieve the governmental objective in nitrogen load reduction changed cultivation practices within the agricultural sector must be combined with restoration of ponds/wetlands.
Article
This interdisciplinary paper reports the results of a study into the costs and benefits of eutrophication reduction in the Baltic Sea. A large multidisciplinary team of natural and social scientists estimated nutrient loadings and pathways within the entire Baltic drainage basin, together with the costs of a range of abatement options and strategies. The abatement cost results were compared with clean-up benefits on a basin-wide scale, in order to explore the potential for international agreements among the countries which border the Baltic. Most countries would seem to gain net economic benefits from the simulated 50% nitrogen and phosphorus reduction policy.