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Water 2018, 10(8), 1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081096

Artificial Aquatic Ecosystems

Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, P.O. Box 90328, Durham, NC 27708, USA
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Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 9 August 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Ecosystems)
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Abstract

As humans increasingly alter the surface geomorphology of the Earth, a multitude of artificial aquatic systems have appeared, both deliberately and accidentally. Human modifications to the hydroscape range from alteration of existing waterbodies to construction of new ones. The extent of these systems makes them important and dynamic components of modern landscapes, but their condition and provisioning of ecosystem services by these systems are underexplored, and likely underestimated. Instead of accepting that artificial ecosystems have intrinsically low values, environmental scientists should determine what combination of factors, including setting, planning and construction, subsequent management and policy, and time, impact the condition of these systems. Scientists, social scientists, and policymakers should more thoroughly evaluate whether current study and management of artificial aquatic systems is based on the actual ecological condition of these systems, or judged differently, due to artificiality, and consider resultant possible changes in goals for these systems. The emerging recognition and study of artificial aquatic systems presents an exciting and important opportunity for science and society. View Full-Text
Keywords: artificiality; reconciliation ecology; drainage; irrigation; ditches; ponds artificiality; reconciliation ecology; drainage; irrigation; ditches; ponds
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    Description: Table A1. Documented ecosystem services and disservices of artificial aquatic systems. This list, while incomplete, provides examples of supporting, provisioning, and cultural services and disservices, including biodiversity, for a variety of ecosystems around the world. Actual monetary valuation of ecosystem services and disservices of artificial aquatic ecosystems, particularly of net effects of waterbodies and comparisons with natural waterbodies, remain lacking, and constitute an area inviting further study.
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Clifford, C.C.; Heffernan, J.B. Artificial Aquatic Ecosystems. Water 2018, 10, 1096.

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