Follow The Flow: Analysis Of Relationships Between Water Ecosystem Service Supply Units And Beneficiaries

APPLIED GEOGRAPHY(2021)

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Abstract
A greater understanding of the complex relationships between ecosystem service (ES) supply and demand is needed to ensure a continuous and sustainable flow of ES in socioecological systems. While considerable progress has been made in ES flow mapping, further research is required to integrate beneficiaries' perspectives into these analyses. In this study, we obtained data from stakeholders to analyze the characteristics and distribution of water ES (WES) flows from service production units to beneficiaries and vice versa in order to better understand the mechanisms of management and mobilization along the WES cascade. The study area is the Muga river basin located in northeast Catalonia, Spain. We used a combined methodology of participatory mapping in which stakeholders from the basin were asked to identify service production and benefiting units and semi-structured interviews to assess their perspectives. We found that WES flow patterns and number of beneficiaries varied according to WES category and detected spatial mismatches between supply and demand. A better understanding of ES flow patterns and spatial distribution of beneficiaries can help identify potential sources of conflict. It can also help understand the dynamics and power relationships between groups of stakeholders involved in the coproduction of ES.
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Key words
Socioecological systems, Stakeholders values, Ecosystem service mapping, Supply-demand flow, Spatial relationships, Watershed management
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