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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 496; doi:10.3390/ijerph14050496

Evaluation of Drought Implications on Ecosystem Services: Freshwater Provisioning and Food Provisioning in the Upper Mississippi River Basin

1
College of Water Resources and Architectural Engineering, Northwest A&F University, 23 Weihui Road, Yangling 712100, China
2
Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, 550 Stadium Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
3
Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, 225 South University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jason K. Levy
Received: 24 February 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 4 May 2017 / Published: 8 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7777 KB, uploaded 8 May 2017]   |  

Abstract

Drought is one of the most widespread extreme climate events with a potential to alter freshwater availability and related ecosystem services. Given the interconnectedness between freshwater availability and many ecosystem services, including food provisioning, it is important to evaluate the drought implications on freshwater provisioning and food provisioning services. Studies about drought implications on streamflow, nutrient loads, and crop yields have been increased and these variables are all process-based model outputs that could represent ecosystem functions that contribute to the ecosystem services. However, few studies evaluate drought effects on ecosystem services such as freshwater and food provisioning and quantify these services using an index-based ecosystem service approach. In this study, the drought implications on freshwater and food provisioning services were evaluated for 14 four-digit HUC (Hydrological Unit Codes) subbasins in the Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB), using three drought indices: standardized precipitation index (SPI), standardized soil water content index (SSWI), and standardized streamflow index (SSI). The results showed that the seasonal freshwater provisioning was highly affected by the precipitation deficits and/or surpluses in summer and autumn. A greater importance of hydrological drought than meteorological drought implications on freshwater provisioning was evident for the majority of the subbasins, as evidenced by higher correlations between freshwater provisioning and SSI12 than SPI12. Food provisioning was substantially affected by the precipitation and soil water deficits during summer and early autumn, with relatively less effect observed in winter. A greater importance of agricultural drought effects on food provisioning was evident for most of the subbasins during crop reproductive stages. Results from this study may provide insights to help make effective land management decisions in responding to extreme climate conditions in order to protect and restore freshwater provisioning and food provisioning services in the UMRB. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; ecosystem services; Upper Mississippi River Basin; Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) drought; ecosystem services; Upper Mississippi River Basin; Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, P.; Omani, N.; Chaubey, I.; Wei, X. Evaluation of Drought Implications on Ecosystem Services: Freshwater Provisioning and Food Provisioning in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 496.

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