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Land Use, Freshwater Flows and Ecosystem Services in an Era of Global Change
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to analyse interactions between freshwater flows, terrestrial ecosystems and human well-being. Freshwater management and policy has mainly focused on the liquid water part (surface and ground water run off) of the hydrological cycle including aquatic ecosystems. Although of great significance, this thesis shows that such a focus will not be sufficient for coping with freshwater related social-ecological vulnerability. The thesis illustrates that the terrestrial component of the hydrological cycle, reflected in vapour flows (or evapotranspiration), serves multiple functions in the human life-support system. A broader understanding of the interactions between terrestrial systems and freshwater flows is particularly important in light of present widespread land cover change in terrestrial ecosystems.

The water vapour flows from continental ecosystems were quantified at a global scale in Paper I of the thesis. It was estimated that in order to sustain the majority of global terrestrial ecosystem services on which humanity depends, an annual water vapour flow of 63 000 km3/yr is needed, including 6800 km3/yr for crop production. In comparison, the annual human withdrawal of liquid water amounts to roughly 4000 km3/yr. A potential conflict between freshwater for future food production and for terrestrial ecosystem services was identified.

Human redistribution of water vapour flows as a consequence of long-term land cover change was addressed at both continental (Australia) (Paper II) and global scales (Paper III). It was estimated that the annual vapour flow had decreased by 10% in Australia during the last 200 years. This is due to a decrease in woody vegetation for agricultural production. The reduction in vapour flows has caused severe problems with salinity of soils and rivers. The human-induced alteration of vapour flows was estimated at more than 15 times the volume of human-induced change in liquid water (Paper II).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för systemekologi , 2003. , p. 34
Keywords [en]
freshwater, green water, ecosystem services, integrated water resources management, food production, land use and land cover change, vulnerability, resilience, hydrological cycle, global change, Australia
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16ISBN: 91-7265-755-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-16DiVA, id: diva2:190305
Public defence
2003-11-07, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2003-11-22 Created: 2003-11-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Linkages among water vapour flows, food production and terrestrial ecosystem services.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Linkages among water vapour flows, food production and terrestrial ecosystem services.
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1999 (English)In: Conservation Ecology, ISSN 1195-5449, Vol. 3, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Global freshwater assessments have not addressed the linkages among water vapor flows, agricultural food production, and terrestrial ecosystem services. We perform the first bottom-up estimate of continental water vapor flows, subdivided into the major terrestrial biomes, and arrive at a total continental water vapor flow of 70,000 km3/yr (ranging from 56,000 to 84,000 km3/yr). Of this flow, 90% is attributed to forests, including woodlands (40,000 km3/yr), wetlands (1400 km3/yr), grasslands (15,100 km3/yr), and croplands (6800 km3/yr). These terrestrial biomes sustain society with essential welfare-supporting ecosystem services, including food production. By analyzing the freshwater requirements of an increasing demand for food in the year 2025, we discover a critical trade-off between flows of water vapor for food production and for other welfare-supporting ecosystem services. To reduce the risk of unintentional welfare losses, this trade-off must become embedded in intentional ecohydrological landscape management

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ottawa: Carleton University for The Resiliance Alliance, 1999
Keywords
catchment management, ecohydrological landscape, evapotranspiration, food production, freshwater management, global freshwater assessment, resilience, terrestrial ecosystem services, trade-offs, water use efficiency, water vapor flows
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23127 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16Available from: 2003-11-22 Created: 2003-11-22 Last updated: 2018-01-26Bibliographically approved
2. Land cover change and water vapour flows: Learning from Australia.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Land cover change and water vapour flows: Learning from Australia.
2003 (English)In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B, ISSN 0962-8436, Vol. 358, no 1440, p. 1973-1984Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Australia is faced with large-scale dryland salinization problems, largely as a consequence of the clearing of native vegetation for cropland and grassland. We estimate the change in continental water vapour flow (evapotranspiration) of Australia during the past 200 years. During this period there has been a substantial decrease in woody vegetation and a corresponding increase in croplands and grasslands. The shift in land use has caused a ca. 10% decrease in water vapour flows from the continent. This reduction corresponds to an annual freshwater flow of almost 340 km(3). The society-induced alteration of freshwater flows is estimated at more than 15 times the volume of run-off freshwater that is diverted and actively managed in the Australian society. These substantial water vapour flow alterations were previously not addressed in water management but are now causing serious impacts on the Australian society and local economies. Global and continental freshwater assessments and policy often neglects the interplay between freshwater flows and landscape dynamics. Freshwater issues on both regional and global levels must be rethought and the interplay between terrestrial ecosystems and freshwater better incorporated in freshwater and ecosystem management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Royal Soc of London: , 2003
Keywords
freshwater; terrestrial ecosystems; evapotranspiration; land cover change; salinization; Australia
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23128 (URN)10.1098/rstb.2003.1381 (DOI)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16Available from: 2003-11-22 Created: 2003-11-22 Last updated: 2018-01-24Bibliographically approved
3. Large scale redistribution of global water vapour flows by deforestation and irrigation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Large scale redistribution of global water vapour flows by deforestation and irrigation
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Manuscript (Other academic)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23129 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16Available from: 2003-11-22 Created: 2003-11-22 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved
4. Ecohydrological landscape management for human well-being.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecohydrological landscape management for human well-being.
2002 (English)In: Water International, ISSN 0250-8060, Vol. 25, no 2, p. 178-184Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper introduces a new perspective on water resources emphasizing the role of water vapor flows for human well-being. The connections between freshwater and ecosystem services in terrestrial environments are addressed, particularly the role of freshwater for the biota that sustains the flow of ecosystem services and the role of the biota that modifies freshwater flows. First, the water dependence of terrestrial ecosystem sewices and food production are analyzed. Secondly, two examples of unintentional, large-scale, water-mediated cascading effects related to ecosystem services that result from local, uncoordinated decisions in Australia and South Africa are discussed These two countries are taking the lead in the management of freshwater flows and terrestrial ecosystem services. Issues including potential conflicts of interest and trade-offs between food (or timber) production and ecosystem sewices at the catchment scale are taken into account. A world-wine, intentional ecohydrological landscape approach to handle these issues is suggested. One important step towards a more integrated approach to freshwater is the development of flexible institutional structures

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Illinois: INT WATER RESOURCES ASSOC, 2002
Keywords
ecohydrology; ecosystem services; ecosystem management; water resources
National Category
Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23130 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16Available from: 2003-11-22 Created: 2003-11-22 Last updated: 2018-01-24Bibliographically approved
5. Communication: Moving closer to social-ecological thresholds?: Freshwater and the resilience of terrestrial ecosystems.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Communication: Moving closer to social-ecological thresholds?: Freshwater and the resilience of terrestrial ecosystems.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23131 (URN)
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16Available from: 2003-11-22 Created: 2003-11-22 Last updated: 2018-01-24Bibliographically approved

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