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Title: Ecosystem services as a resilience descriptor in habitat risk assessment using the InVEST model
Authors: Vera, Claudia 
Marques, João Carlos 
Cunha, Pedro P. 
Teixeira, Zara 
Keywords: Ecosystem services abundance; Vulnerability; EUNIS habitats; Management; Wetlands; Mondego estuary; Portugal
Issue Date: Aug-2020
Project: SAICT 000006 SUSpENsE 
LIFE18 CCA/ES/001160 
Serial title, monograph or event: Ecological Indicators
Volume: 115
Abstract: Vulnerability of coastal ecosystems has been increasing as a result of human perturbations that compromise the ability to provide multiple ecosystem services. Vulnerability is a function of exposure to stressors and of sensitivity to impact and resilience; it has been suggested as a proxy of a habitat's ability to deliver ecosystem services. Different approaches have been proposed; some assume that vulnerability is lower when habitats provide more ecosystem services, as it increases the ecosystem adaptive capacity, while others assume the opposite, as multiple activities (exploiting multiple services) introduce multiple pressures. To establish a relationship between impact risk and ecosystem service supply potential, while accounting for these two apparently conflicting assumptions, it has been proposed adding ecosystem services’ abundance as a resilience descriptor to the habitat risk assessment (HRA) model from the InVEST tool, assigning different weights to provisioning, regulation and cultural services. This study: (i) applies the modified HRA model (HRA_ES-2) to 21 habitats in an Atlantic coastal region; (ii) compares the results with a non-modified HRA model (HRA-1) and with other previous approaches; (iii) and explores management scenarios that could be translated into better environmental conditions for seagrass and saltmarsh habitats and, consequently, into positive impacts in the supply of ecosystem services by these habitats. Results show that there are significant statistical differences between the HRA-1 model and the HRA_ES-2 model, and between the HRA_ES-2 model and approaches from other authors that also take ES into consideration. In addition, the cumulative risk obtained from the modified HRA_ES-2 model seems to be more in accordance with the social-environmental realm than the risk scores obtained with the HRA-1 model. Finally, the new model approach indicates that avoiding the degradation of saltmarsh and seagrass habitats will be possible with management measures acting upon the two stressors most contributing to habitat risk: sea level changes and organic enrichment due to nitrogen increase. With this approach the user is able to account not only for the resilience of ecosystems that arises from the presence of ecosystem services, but also for the sensitivity associated to the potential impacts if ecosystem services are in demand, in a spatial explicit manner, which is an advantage compared to other approaches. The resilience component from the InVEST/HRA model is thus flexible to accommodate other variables than those proposed by the developers.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106426
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D MARE - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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