A framework for assessing instream supporting ecosystem services based on hydroecological modelling

Sikhululekile Ncube*, Annie Visser, Lindsay Beevers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

River systems provide diverse ecosystem services (ES), such as flood regulation (regulating), fresh water (provisioning), nutrient cycling (supporting), and recreation (cultural), among others. The construction of infrastructure (e.g., for hydropower, irrigation) enhances the delivery of tangible ES for example food or energy (generally provisioning) tomeet human needs. However, the resulting change to river flows threatens both the ecological health of a river and its ability to provide intangible but vital ES, for example those which support the delivery of other services. Understanding these supporting ES processes in river systems is essential to fully recognise the impact of water resources development on ES delivery. Whilst approaches for assessing instream supporting ES are under development, to date few provide quantitative methods for assessing delivery. Thus, this paper sets out a framework for the assessment of instream supporting ES using hydroecological modelling. It links supporting ES delivery to fluvial hydrological indicators through the use of ecologically relevant hydrological indices andmacroinvertebrate flow preferences. The proposed framework is demonstrated on the Beas River basin (Western Himalayas, India), and is flexible enough to be transferred to a basin-wide model, thereby allowing ES relationships to be accounted for in basin-wide water resources planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1247
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Flow regime
  • Hydroecological modelling
  • Macroinvertebrates
  • River systems
  • Supporting ecosystem services
  • Water resources development


Dive into the research topics of 'A framework for assessing instream supporting ecosystem services based on hydroecological modelling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this