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Water 2018, 10(3), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10030241

Economic Evaluation of Hydrological Ecosystem Services in Mediterranean River Basins Applied to a Case Study in Southern Italy

1
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CREA-AA), 70125 Bari, Italy
2
Basin Authority of Apulia, 70010 Valenzano, Italy
3
MANZONI Learning (Fire Protection), 70125 Bari, Italy
4
Department of Disaat, University of Bari, 70125 Bari, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract

Land use affects eco-hydrological processes with consequences for floods and droughts. Changes in land use affect ecosystems and hydrological services. The objective of this study is the analysis of hydrological services through the quantification of water resources, pollutant loads, land retention capacity and soil erosion. On the basis of a quantitative evaluation, the economic values of the ecosystem services are estimated. By assigning an economic value to the natural resources and to the hydraulic system, the hydrological services can be computed at the scale of catchment ecosystem. The proposed methodology was applied to the basin “Bonis” (Calabria Region, Italy). The study analyses four land use scenarios: (i) forest cover with good vegetative status (baseline scenario); (ii) modification of the forest canopy; (iii) variation in forest and cultivated surfaces; (iv) insertion of impermeable areas. The simulations prove that the variations of the state of forest areas has considerable influence on the water balance, and then on the provided economic value. Small economic changes derive from reducing the impermeable areas. Increasing the agricultural area to 50% of the total, and reducing the forest surface, affects soil erosion, reduces the storage capacity of the water, and consequently the water harvesting. The suggested methodology can be considered a suitable tool for land planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: water harvesting; water runoff; soil erosion; land use planning; soil water balance water harvesting; water runoff; soil erosion; land use planning; soil water balance
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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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Mastrorilli, M.; Rana, G.; Verdiani, G.; Tedeschi, G.; Fumai, A.; Russo, G. Economic Evaluation of Hydrological Ecosystem Services in Mediterranean River Basins Applied to a Case Study in Southern Italy. Water 2018, 10, 241.

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