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Co-production processes underpinning the ecosystem services of glaciers and adaptive management in the era of climate change

Höfundar: Cook, D., Malinauskaite, L., Davíðsdóttir, B., & Ögmundardóttir, H

Útgáfa: Ecosystem Services

Útgáfuár: 2021


Glaciers have been an increasingly studied topic in the ecosystem services (ES) literature, with multiple scientific studies affirming a critical and diverse contribution to human well-being. However, the literature to date on glacier ES has lacked a systematic analysis of their type and the various stages in the formation of glacier ES, including the linkages between biophysical structures and ecological processes to human values, benefits and well-being. This paper begins to fill this gap by (1) detailing the first Common International Classification for Ecosystem Services classification of ES specific to glaciers; and (2) constructing an ES cascade model specific to the ES of glaciers, integrating four main stages of co-production: value attribution, mobilisation of ES potential, value appropriation, and commercialisation. In both stages, examples from the academic and grey literature are highlighted. Based on a systematic literature review, a total of 15 ES are identified, categorised as follows: provisioning (2), regulation and maintenance (6), and cultural (7). Apart from abiotic regulation and maintenance ES, it is evident that human interventions are necessary in order to mobilise, appropriate and commercialise several glacier ES, including freshwater for drinking, hydropower generation, recreation and education. Rapidly intensifying climate change has led to intense focus on the initial co-production process of value attribution and identification of dynamic ES potential, with a view to maximising commercial benefits in the coming decades where this is possible, especially linked to hydropower generation from glacial rivers. However, this study also finds that adaptive ecosystem management is a necessary pre-requisite of resilience but may be insufficient in this context to address potential ecosystem disservices and potentially catastrophic impacts to human well-being, such as from dangerous glacier outburst floods.

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