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An ecosystem service perspective of the ecological restoration measures to mitigate small-scale hydropower impact in river Billstaån: Steps towards monitoring and dissemination of ecosystem services
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Ecotechnology and Sustainable Building Engineering.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Ecosystem services, capturing the benefits and values of functioning ecosystems for human well-being, is a concept receiving increasing attention both in science and policy. This study investigates the utility of considering ecosystem service in the ecological restoration of a river affected by small-scale hydropower. While hydropower is a renewable energy source, it has impacts on the ecological status in water sheds and generates issues addressed e.g. by the EU Water Directive. To mitigate ecological impacts, and maintain hydroelectricity production that better correspond to the Water Directive, several restoration measures are carried out in river Billstaån, County of Jämtland, Sweden.

 

This study presents an ecosystem service perspective of the restoration process in river Billstaån linked to recommendations in terms of further interpretation, monitoring and communication of the assessment results. By applying evaluation of ecosystem services to the case of river Billstaån, it is examined to what extent ecosystem service descriptions can give support in monitoring and communication of the results of the ecological restoration efforts.

 

Ecosystem services were assessed for the restoration outcomes in river Billstaån using the two frameworks Corporate Ecosystem Service Review (ESR) and Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Assessment (TESSA), respectively. The ecosystem services deemed most important partly differed between the two frameworks due to different assessment perspectives. However, both ESR and TESSA pointed out ecosystem services connected to recreation and tourism as important, indicating a potential regarding recreational use of the area. Such socio-economic impacts of the restoration project was not included in the planning of the restoration, but if identified and utilized such “added benefits” might give opportunities for local rural development beyond the restoration work itself.

 

Contrasting the results from the ecosystem service assessment of river Billstaån towards the Swedish Environmental Objectives identified two direct and seven

indirect connections. Through these connections the restoration project can be presented in relation to national goals. Indicating such connections can help in communicating the ecosystem service perspective.

For future monitoring of project outcomes in river Billstaån, a set of potential indicators were identified using an ecosystem service approach, that can complement the planned monitoring of ecosystem functions. For future monitoring of ecosystem service development it is advisable to use a combination of indicators that reflect both the ecosystem function availability and the ecosystem service use.

Three types of illustrations that can support different perspectives in future communication regarding ecosystem services in river Billstaån were identified in this study and termed system, overview and single service perspective. Example illustrations include a Causal Loop Diagram, a hot-spot map and a range of photos, respectively. The illustrations are deemed to present the assessment results in a more accessible way and can be adapted to a diversity of future communication settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 51 p.
Keyword [en]
ecosystem services, ecosystem service assessment, Corporate Ecosystem Service Review, Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment, ecosystem service indicators, environmental communication, ecological restoration, river restoration
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32039Local ID: MX-V17-A2-001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-32039DiVA: diva2:1155889
Subject / course
Environmental Science MV1
Supervisors
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Betyg 2017-06-14

Available from: 2017-11-09 Created: 2017-11-09

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