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Water 2018, 10(10), 1350;

Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions Improve Ecosystem Services Risk Assessment: Case Studies from Two Coastal Lagoons in South America

Department of Geology, University of Regina, Regina, SK S4S 4P5, Canada
Sección Limnología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay
Centro Interdisciplinario Manejo Costero Integrado; Centro Universitario Regional Este, Maldonado 20000, Uruguay
Department of Biology, Queen’s University, 116 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, P.O. Box 39, Dorset, ON P0A 1E0, Canada
Grupo de Estudios en Geociencias del Holoceno, Centro Universitario Regional Este; Rocha 27000, Uruguay
Instituto Oceanografico, Universidad Federal de Rio Grande (FURG) Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Itália km 8 Bairro Carreiros, Rio Grande 59000, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Departamento Geología, Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS), Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía (UNS-CONICET), Bahía Blanca B8000 CPB, Argentina
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Environmental Systems Graduate Program, University of California, Merced, 5200 N. Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343, USA
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla 080001, Colombia
Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City 32401, Panama
Facultad de Ciencias básicas, Universidad del Magdalena, Santa Marta 47004, Colombia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 22 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current and Emerging Issues Surrounding Water in the Americas)
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Paleoenvironmental reconstructions are increasingly being used in conservation biology, ecosystem management, and evaluations of ecosystem services (ES), but their potential to contribute to the ES risk assessment process has not been explored. We propose that the long-term history of the ecosystem provides valuable information that augments and strengthens an ES risk assessment and that it should be considered routinely when undertaking risk assessments. We adjusted a standard ecosystem-based risk management (EBRM) protocol to include paleoenvironmental data, and tested the modified approach on two coastal lagoons in South America. Paleolimnological reconstructions in both lagoons indicate that salinity and nutrients (in Laguna de Rocha), and salinity (in Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta), as controlled by hydrologic connectivity with the ocean and freshwater tributaries, have been the key variables behind ecosystem’s function. This understanding, applied to inform various components and steps in the EBRM protocol, suggests that the maintenance of hydrological connections should be a management priority to minimize risk to ES. This work illustrates the utility of including paleoenvironmental data in an EBRM context and highlights the need for a more holistic approach to risk management by incorporating the long-term history of ecosystem function. View Full-Text
Keywords: paleoenvironmental reconstructions; risk assessment; ecosystem services; paleolimnology; EBRM protocol paleoenvironmental reconstructions; risk assessment; ecosystem services; paleolimnology; EBRM protocol

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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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Velez, M.I.; Conde, D.; Lozoya, J.P.; Rusak, J.A.; García-Rodríguez, F.; Seitz, C.; Harmon, T.; Perillo, G.M.E.; Escobar, J.; Vilardy, S.P. Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions Improve Ecosystem Services Risk Assessment: Case Studies from Two Coastal Lagoons in South America. Water 2018, 10, 1350.

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