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Linkages among water vapour flows, food production and terrestrial ecosystem services.
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
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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. Vol. 3, no 2
Keyword [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-23127OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-23127DiVA: diva2:190300
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16Available from: 2003-11-22 Created: 2003-11-22 Last updated: 2010-01-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Land Use, Freshwater Flows and Ecosystem Services in an Era of Global Change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Land Use, Freshwater Flows and Ecosystem Services in an Era of Global Change
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. 34 p.
Keyword
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:nbn:se:su:diva-16 (URN)91-7265-755-3 (ISBN)
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

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