Table 31e Positive ecosystem service rankings relative within fresh waters not quantitative for prairie floodplain and drained wetlands

The column on the left represents an intact ecosystem and the one on the right represents a managed ecosystem likely to be derived from the other. Explanation of service values: (—3) = strong disservice; (0) = neutral; (3) = strong positive; n.a. = not applicable.

Prairie Wetlands and Agricultural Crops on

Floodplain Forests Drained Wetlands

Service Service

Goods and Services Rank Biotic Abiotic Rank Biotic Abiotic

Provisional Services

Food production

Plant

Animal

Other products

Fuel/energy

Fiber

Potable water Water quantity groundwater recharge flood mediation

Supporting Services

Waste disposal

0

n.a.

n.a.

0

n.a.

n.a.

Climate modification

C sequestration

0

n.a.

n.a.

0

n.a.

n.a.

Trace gas production

1

***

***

0

n.a.

n.a.

Irrigation

0

n.a.

n.a.

0

n.a.

n.a.

Transport

0

n.a.

n.a.

0

n.a.

n.a.

ultural Services

Recreation

2

***

**

2

***

**

Aesthetic

3

***

**

1

**

**

Asterisks indicate the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors, from weak (*) to strong (***), in the provision of the associated good or service.

Asterisks indicate the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors, from weak (*) to strong (***), in the provision of the associated good or service.

can alter the balance of natural regulatory factors such as energy flow, organic matter transport, hydrologic regimes, biogeochemical cycles, and hydrochemistry (Palmer et al. 2000; Malmqvist & Rundle 2002). They change the structure of sediments, alter temperature regimes, and cause other extreme environmental conditions beyond normal levels of variation.

Misuse or overuse of one type of ecosystem service can lead to a negative effect on other important services and the biota and the ecosystem functions that underpin them (see Giller et al., Chapter 6). For example, soils are critical in the production of food and fiber, but overexploitation of terrestrial ecosystem services can diminish downstream services provided by sediment-dwelling systems. Runoff from intensive agricultural fields following heavy rains can contain excessive nitrogen because of the overuse of fertilizers or the accumulation of animal wastes. When these high-nutrient concentrations are combined downstream with nitrogen and phosphorus from sewage effluents and other sources, they cause excessive growth of aquatic plants and deoxy-genation associated with eutrophication. Human health suffers from the poor water quality resulting from growth of toxic algal species (Burkholder 1998; Anderson et al. 2002) and increased abundance of disease pathogens in nutrient-laden rivers and estuaries. Furthermore, deoxygenation of nutrient-rich fresh waters results in increased ammonia, which is toxic to fish and many benthic invertebrates. The buildup of nitrate in groundwater can also pollute drinking waters and result in "blue babies" (methaemo-globinaemia) when infants drink contaminated water (Bouchard et al. 1992; Gupta et al. 2000; Mallin 2000). Thus, the provision of clean drinking water (through biotic treatment in ground waters and surface waters) is lost because of eutrophication (Brock 1985; Baerenklau et al. 1999; Boyle et al. 1999; Carpenter et al. 1999; Bockstael et al. 2000). Disservice results when ecosystems are poorly managed and positive natural processes are lost (see Giller et al., Chapter 6). Protection of catchments and good riparian and wetland management contributes to the maintenance of ecological processes and associated critical ecosystem services.

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