Paleoenvironmental reconstructions improve ecosystem services risk assessment: case studies from two coastal lagoons in South America

Published in Water10(10):1350

Velez M D Conde JP Lozoya J Rusak F Garcia-Rodriguez C Seitz T Harmon G Perillo J Escobar S Vilardy (2018)

Publication year 2018

Maria Isabel Velez 1,, Daniel Conde 2, Juan Pablo Lozoya 3, James Anthony Rusak 4,5 , Felipe García-Rodríguez 6,7 , Carina Seitz 8 , Thomas Harmon 9, Gerardo Miguel Eduardo Perillo 8, Jaime Escobar 10,11 and Sandra Patricia Vilardy 12

1 Department of Geology, University of Regina, Regina, SK S4S 4P5, Canada
2 Sección Limnología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay
3 Centro Interdisciplinario Manejo Costero Integrado Centro Universitario Regional Este, Maldonado 20000,
4 Department of Biology, Queen&rsquos University, 116 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada
5 Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, P.O. Box 39, Dorset,
ON P0A 1E0, Canada
6 Grupo de Estudios en Geociencias del Holoceno, Centro Universitario Regional Este Rocha 27000, Uruguay
7 Instituto Oceanografico, Universidad Federal de Rio Grande (FURG) Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Itália km 8
Bairro Carreiros, Rio Grande 59000, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
8 Departamento Geología, Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS), Instituto Argentino de
Oceanografía (UNS-CONICET), Bahía Blanca B8000 CPB, Argentina (C.S.) (G.M.E.P.)
9 Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Environmental Systems Graduate Program,
University of California, Merced, 5200 N. Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343, USA
10 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla 080001,
11 Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute,
Panama City 32401, Panama
12 Facultad de Ciencias básicas, Universidad del Magdalena, Santa Marta 47004, Colombia
Correspondence: Tel.: +1-306-3372608

IAI Program


IAI Project CRN3038
PDFVelez et al 2018 - water-10-01350-v2_CRN3038.pdf


Paleoenvironmental reconstructions are increasingly being used in conservation biology, ecosystem management, and evaluations of ecosystem services (ES), but their potential to contribute to the ES risk assessment process has not been explored. We propose that the long-term history of the ecosystem provides valuable information that augments and strengthens an ES risk assessment and that it should be considered routinely when undertaking risk assessments. We adjusted a standard ecosystem-based risk management (EBRM) protocol to include paleoenvironmental data, and tested the modified approach on two coastal lagoons in South America. Paleolimnological reconstructions in both lagoons indicate that salinity and nutrients (in Laguna de Rocha), and salinity (in Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta), as controlled by hydrologic connectivity with the ocean and freshwater tributaries, have been the key variables behind ecosystem&rsquos function. This understanding, applied to inform various components and steps in the EBRM protocol, suggests that the maintenance of hydrological connections should be a management priority to minimize risk to ES. This work
illustrates the utility of including paleoenvironmental data in an EBRM context and highlights the need for a more holistic approach to risk management by incorporating the long-term history of ecosystem function.