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Water 2018, 10(9), 1247; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091247

A Framework for Assessing Instream Supporting Ecosystem Services Based on Hydroecological Modelling

Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
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Received: 21 August 2018 / Revised: 5 September 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
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Abstract

River systems provide diverse ecosystem services (ES), such as flood regulation (regulating), fresh water (provisioning), nutrient cycling (supporting), and recreation (cultural), among others. The construction of infrastructure (e.g., for hydropower, irrigation) enhances the delivery of tangible ES for example food or energy (generally provisioning) to meet human needs. However, the resulting change to river flows threatens both the ecological health of a river and its ability to provide intangible but vital ES, for example those which support the delivery of other services. Understanding these supporting ES processes in river systems is essential to fully recognise the impact of water resources development on ES delivery. Whilst approaches for assessing instream supporting ES are under development, to date few provide quantitative methods for assessing delivery. Thus, this paper sets out a framework for the assessment of instream supporting ES using hydroecological modelling. It links supporting ES delivery to fluvial hydrological indicators through the use of ecologically relevant hydrological indices and macroinvertebrate flow preferences. The proposed framework is demonstrated on the Beas River basin (Western Himalayas, India), and is flexible enough to be transferred to a basin-wide model, thereby allowing ES relationships to be accounted for in basin-wide water resources planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: supporting ecosystem services; water resources development; river systems; flow regime; macroinvertebrates; hydroecological modelling supporting ecosystem services; water resources development; river systems; flow regime; macroinvertebrates; hydroecological modelling
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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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Ncube, S.; Visser, A.; Beevers, L. A Framework for Assessing Instream Supporting Ecosystem Services Based on Hydroecological Modelling. Water 2018, 10, 1247.

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