Measures of Watershed Capacity to Provide Ecosystem Services Can Inform Decisions about Land/Water Use

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: 10:50 AM
205B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Amy M. Villamagna , Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Paul L. Angermeier , Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey and Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Beatriz Mogollon , Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Ecosystem services (ES) offer an insightful framework for identifying tradeoffs in alternative solutions to environmental problems. Key components of ES delivery include an ecosystem’s capacity to provide a service, public demand for that service, and the flow of the service to beneficiaries. Each component often can be mapped with existing data, at various spatial scales (eg, watershed, state, nation) germane to management questions. ES capacities comprise biophysical, social, and technological components, which vary across services. Delivery of cultural services (eg, recreational fishing) depends on certain provisioning (eg, water supply), regulating (eg, water purification), and supporting (eg, habitat maintenance) services. We illustrate the development of capacity maps for ES such as freshwater recreational fishing, surface water supply, regulation of sediment loading, and regulation of riverine flooding. We also show how capacity maps can be linked to maps of ES beneficiaries to illustrate either current patterns of service demand and flow or projected patterns in plausible futures. In both cases, such maps elucidate the tradeoffs, among ES and among stakeholders, associated with natural or anthropogenic variation in land/water use and help highlight synergies among inland fishery managers, watershed managers, and land use planners.