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Review

Anthropogenic Modifications and River Ecosystem Services: A Landscape Perspective

1
Department of Water Management, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CN, Delft, The Netherlands
2
IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, 2611 AX Delft, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2706; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102706
Received: 9 August 2020 / Revised: 17 September 2020 / Accepted: 21 September 2020 / Published: 27 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Functioning in Rivers and Riparian Zones)
The process of development has led to the modification of river landscapes. This has created imbalances between ecological, economic, and socio-cultural uses of ecosystem services (ESs), threatening the biotic and social integrity of rivers. Anthropogenic modifications influence river landscapes on multiple scales, which impact river-flow regimes and thus the production of river ESs. Despite progress in developing approaches for the valuation ecosystem goods and services, the ecosystem service research fails to acknowledge the biophysical structure of river landscape where ecosystem services are generated. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to synthesize the literature to develop the understanding of the biocomplexity of river landscapes and its importance in ecosystem service research. The review is limited to anthropogenic modifications from catchment to reach scale which includes inter-basin water transfer, change in land-use pattern, sub-surface modifications, groundwater abstractions, stream channelization, dams, and sand mining. Using 86 studies, the paper demonstrates that river ESs largely depend on the effective functioning of biophysical processes, which are linked with the geomorphological, ecological, and hydrological characteristics of river landscapes. Further, the ESs are linked with the economic, ecological, and socio-cultural aspect. The papers show that almost all anthropogenic modifications have positive impact on economic value of ESs. The ecological and socio-cultural values are negatively impacted by anthropogenic modifications such as dams, inter-basin water transfer, change in land-use pattern, and sand mining. The socio-cultural impact of ground-water abstraction and sub-surface modifications are not found in the literature examined here. Further, the ecological and socio-cultural aspects of ecosystem services from stakeholders’ perspective are discussed. We advocate for linking ecosystem service assessment with landscape signatures considering the socio-ecological interactions. View Full-Text
Keywords: river landscape; anthropogenic modifications; hydrological alterations; ecosystem services; ecosystem functions river landscape; anthropogenic modifications; hydrological alterations; ecosystem services; ecosystem functions
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ekka, A.; Pande, S.; Jiang, Y.; der Zaag, P.v. Anthropogenic Modifications and River Ecosystem Services: A Landscape Perspective. Water 2020, 12, 2706. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102706

AMA Style

Ekka A, Pande S, Jiang Y, der Zaag Pv. Anthropogenic Modifications and River Ecosystem Services: A Landscape Perspective. Water. 2020; 12(10):2706. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102706

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ekka, Anjana, Saket Pande, Yong Jiang, and Pieter v. der Zaag 2020. "Anthropogenic Modifications and River Ecosystem Services: A Landscape Perspective" Water 12, no. 10: 2706. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102706

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