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Broad-scale ecosystem services of European wetlands – \ud overview of the current situation and future perspectives under different climate and water management scenarios\ud

By Tomasz Okruszko, Harm Duel, Mike Acreman, Mateusz Grygoruk, Martina Florke and Christof Schneider


An appropriate hydrological regime within a wetland is essential to maintain its goods and services. This regime is related to the source of the water, which differs for particular kinds of wetlands. This paper presents an overview of the ecosystem services of European wetlands, based on a representative sample of 102 protected wetlands larger than 5000 ha, and the implications of hydrological alterations caused by future climate and socio-economic changes. Six major ecosystem services of wetlands were assessed namely: biodiversity in terms of plants and animals, biomass production, nutrient removal, carbon storage and fish production. Data showed that, on average, four services were present in each wetland. The impact of climate change, water management and land-use change was examined under different future scenarios. Major potential changes in hydrological regime (i.e. precipitation, groundwater recharge and river flow) were quantified up to the 2050s using simulated runoff and river flow data of the WaterGAP model driven by the climate input of two different general circulation models (GCMs), IPCM4 and MIMR. Thresholds of hydrological change that would endanger each ecosystem service were identified. The impacts of future scenarios were distributed across Europe with potential threats to ecosystem services of European wetlands resulting in the loss of between 26 and 46% of all identified ecosystem services in 2050. The models and scenarios suggest that the most significant loss of ecosystem services is likely to occur in Central Europe (Hungary, Germany, France, Belarus, Poland). In general, the most fragile services (the largest number lost) are projected to be those connected to the surface water dynamics—mostly the services of wetland birds and fish spawning. Ecosystem services dependent on groundwater dynamics and water balance changes are seemingly more buffered against the expected hydrological stress.\ud \u

Topics: Ecology and Environment, Hydrology
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1080/02626667.2011.631188
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