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 SSI
12 than SPI
12. 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.
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