Beyond the concrete: Accounting for ecosystem services from free-flowing rivers

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Abstract

People derive benefits from river networks under free-flowing conditions, through ecosystem services such as fishery yield, floodplain agriculture, desirable geomorphic form, and the cultural significance of native riverine biodiversity. However, water management decisions have historically emphasized the production of ecosystem services such as hydropower and irrigation that depend on the construction of extensive infrastructure. Such decisions typically impose tradeoffs that reduce benefits from free-flowing services, yet neither these losses nor the costs of future ecosystem rehabilitation have been well represented in decision support analyses. Ecosystem service assessments can and should account for benefits in the absence of water infrastructure to inform balanced water policy and watershed management. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

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Auerbach, D. A., Deisenroth, D. B., McShane, R. R., McCluney, K. E., & LeRoy Poff, N. (2014). Beyond the concrete: Accounting for ecosystem services from free-flowing rivers. Ecosystem Services. Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.07.005

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