Importance of protected areas in provision of high quality drinking water to big cities
Importance of protected areas (National Parks, Natura 2000, EMEREALD Networks, CDDAs, UNESCO Sites) in provision of high quality drinking water to big cities which is beyond biodiversity protection for itself: towards a protected area biodiversity valuation in accordance with water provision
Water is one of the cornerstones of life on Earth. Its countless uses allow for our flourishing biodiversity, while its uniformity connects us with the rest of the living world around us. Water is, in itself, a living process—with its same molecules cycling through their different phases to sustain life on Earth. This property of water regulates big ecosystems at the largest scale which impacts ecosystems and human populations enormously.
The term "biodiversity" refers to the variety of plants, animals, microorganisms and the ecosystems in which they occur. Water and biodiversity are interdependent — a disruption in either naturally leads to a disruption in both. Because all life depends on water, the hydrological cycle drives how the environment functions; put simply, it sustains life. The vegetation and soil in the environment, in turn, drive the movement of water. Understanding the role of the environment, and hence biodiversity, in the hydrological cycle, enables better decision-making when formulating water policies and practices.
Every glass of water we drink has, at least in part, already passed through fish, trees, bacteria, soil and many other organisms, including people. As it travels through these ecosystems, it is cleansed and made fit for human consumption. For example, reed beds cover extending from the bottom to the buoyancy, even intruding to atmosphere of rivers and lakes purify our high quality drinking water. Natural ecosystems provides water that is safe to drink in streams, lakes or wells. This supply of water is a "service" (benefit to humans) that the environment provides. Biodiversity is what underpins the ability of nature to provide this service by sustaining the continuous recycling of water, through the hydrological cycle.
Forests, for example, influence the hydrological cycle by directly affecting rates of transpiration and evaporation and by influencing how water is routed and stored in a watershed.
Forest soils readily absorb and capture water. Forests also sustain the quality of water: removing forests increases soil erosion, which not only reduces land productivity but causes major water quality problems downstream. As a result of the key role they play in the natural supply of fresh water, it is no surprise that at least one-third of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant portion of their drinking water directly from forested protected areas.
This reveals the inevitable role of protected areas, that is to say, high value of biodiversity in providing high quality of drinking water. Many forgets what protected areas do for us may be hidden in this fact. So protected areas should not be considered as being the peculiar places for the rich men who desire land speculation by time after trying filling their private luxury buildings. This is a very dangerous way of becoming rich, and tourism gain provided by such water retaining biodiversity rich lands, in fact, fairly distributed to the all people living in big cities for drinking!
Natural, mixed forests in nature evaluated by various human use through centuries, or completely “wild” forests presents our world big value "biodiversity," therefore these cities depend on biodiversity for their water. Likewise steppe, grasslands protected areas give us high quality drinking water to us and our husbandry animals fortunately.
Plants, soils and animals not only sustain the hydrological cycle, they also play a significant role in purifying water. Wetland plants commonly remove high levels of nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrogen, preventing them from reaching drinking water; many wetland plants can also remove toxic substances, such as heavy metals, from water, accumulating them in their tissues at 100,000 times the concentration in the surrounding water.
Proper care of protected areas many covering forests, and wetlands can ensure its sustainability, though mismanagement and depletion of water resources and failures in management in many protected areas will probably lead to nothing short of a crisis for life on our planet.
Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population growth, with 70% used for irrigation, 22% for industry, and 8% for domestic use. Despite the crucial importance of this resource, we continue to mistreat this reservoir of life. We dump 2 million tonnes of human waste into watercourses each day, and 70% of industrial waste in developing countries is dumped untreated into waters, polluting the usable water supply. One have to measure benefits coming from protected area management and biodiversity conservation to keep ecosystem services at their optimum functioning level ratio, and absolute measurement values in comparable physical and chemical units comparable to this global water data determining our fate in future. The fate is unbearable in advance of the “future fate” for the poor people. In wetland protected areas there are important and valuable natural water treatment properties. For example, for running waters, rivers have self-cleaning property to some extent.
Some global scaled introductory facts
Provisional and regulatory ecosystem services water benefited by big cities in Europe
- Around a third (33 out of 105) of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant proportion of their drinking water directly from protected areas,
- At least five other cities obtain water from sources that originate in distant watersheds that also include protected areas,
- In addition, at least eight more obtain water from forests that are managed in a way that gives priority to their functions in providing water,
- Several other cities are currently suffering problems in water supply because of problems in watersheds or draw water from forests that are being considered for protection because of their values to water supply.
|Big cities which receive provisional ecosystem service water in Europe
||Big cities which receive regulatory (e.g. hydrological power) of water ecosystem service of protected areas in Europe
- Munich (not by an official PA),
- Istanbul (not by an official PA),
- Munich (farmers related)
- The Hague,
In fact, protected area management success and performance is measured mainly by only land cover ratio, lists of specific species included in them according to OECD, UNEP criteria, and more importantly the IUCN Lists plus EU Directives Annexes Lists, but not to the overall contribution of them to the global water reservoir capacity!
The importance of water and the current plight of this resource are highlighted in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. One major target is to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Another target aims to achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020, by focusing on improving sanitation and water facilities. Water is also inextricably linked to the target to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, since water quality, availability and use are
major factors in agriculture and food prices. Therefore, biodiversity irrespective of founding in a protected or non-protected area defines, and provides food and water availability till to the costs seen in barcodes on the market shelves and the stock market of Chicago for wheat’
h targets, and indicators to be derived for their implementation can be measured also in terms of biodiversity indicators. Who, which organisation can achieve this as OECD still persists on protected are ratio declared by each OECD country! In other words, why OECD, EU, UNEP, UNECE, and IUCN have still focused on the inanimate quantity of some useless surface area comparisons for protected areas?! Such political attitudes towards countries, governments to be exerted as the pressure on their economies would in fact, be meaningless, and not fairly.
Almost all the parameters in the protection and conservation should be measured in terms of water availability and conservation, instead of geographical areas allocated officially (in a way arbitrarily! As without taking water ecosystem services into account!) to conservation in the political world arena along with international organisations’ discussions, meetings, rules, criteria, and publications. Present financial instruments should be allocated to keep them robust, resilient, in a way distributed water and health services fairly, instead of enforcing poor countries having poor people much, but less sanitized water, less healthy people. This enforce us to making a new policy for biodiversity keeping and protected areas conservation, as competition amongst countries must depend on water availability criteria for the poor world population, but not being considered as a kind of isolated, meaningless government’s success or failure of a given country. To do so, international organisations and the highly developed rich countries should be conscientious. Actually, the international organisations under big influence (proved by the decisions taken, and the exceeding recruitment ratio of such organisations from rich and developed countries staff) of rich countries and multinational companies used to compare only mapped, quantified area magnitude data. This is useless, and meaningless as the international organisations still see biodiversity provided services as being compartmentalized property disseminated to countries, but not the intact, exclusive world, as world is also a planet which has intangible ecosystem, needing fairly distributed water sources for its living human and wildlife population! Therefore these traditional biodiversity data assessments amongst countries by the leading international organisations are not living, but on the table inanimate biodiversity official tasks comparison between countries artificial values, assessments, which is very indirect to the facts of world ecosystem and human population, therefore wrong ethic.
The target to reduce biodiversity loss also directly incorporates
the protection of water resources, both in and of themselves and as part of ecosystems. While the protection of our water resources is highlighted in these targets directly, the importance of freshwater makes its preservation a crucial component of all of the Millennium Development Goals
. Nonetheless, the poor people benefited from protected area funds, and management facilities yet not to be linked to provision of water from such natural lands to big, crowded cities and industrial manufacturing areas. Something is going wrong along with global nature conservation policies and climate change struggle in the world. We should be aware of this, instead of memorize the Bible of international organisations recommendations on nature, planet, water, biodiversity sources.
cycle is influenced by natural processes, such as transpiration from occurring on the leaves of plants and human activities. The hydrological cycle is the fundamental building block of freshwater resources, which comprise only 2.5% of the total water on Earth.
Of these freshwater resources, about 70% is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover, 30% is stored underground, and 0.3% comprises the world’s freshwater lakes and rivers. Consequently, the total freshwater supply for use by humans and ecosystems is less than 1% of all freshwater resources and less than 0.015% of all water on the planet
. It is this small portion of the Earth’s water that we rely on so heavily for food production, industry, drinking water, and the maintenance of healthy ecosystems.
Therefore, the presence of vegetation (biodiversity) affects local rainfall patterns, and its large-scale removal can significantly change these patterns; in dry areas this can lead to desertification. The vapour accumulated through these processes, together referred to as evapotranspiration, condenses to form clouds, where it later returns to the Earth’s surface through precipitation (rain, snow, hail and sleet). And the cycle repeats.
Given the crucial importance of water to life on Earth, it is necessary to consider how various ecosystems are linked through the hydrological cycle. One key example is the relationship between forests and wetlands. Far too often, these interdependent ecosystems are viewed as completely separate entities instead of a linked unit that plays a crucial role in the hydrological cycle and the preservation of our water resources. Moreover, the pattern of selecting the sites suitably for officially declared (e.g. Natura 2000 sites, EMERALD Network of Council of Europe, CDDAs such as National Parks etc.) protected areas to be served for a functional climate change struggling machinery for the whole population of world in line with receiving water fairly is also very important. At present, United Nations (UN) and other involved international organisations do not taking into consideration this, but instead they are dealing with each biodiversity value, and ecosystem services derived from that country level biodiversity source separately. This approach and international conventions born from this misperception is not functional, not realistic, but illogical, also not humane!
A better understanding of the role that these bodies play in the hydrological cycle will enable us to more effectively consider these ecosystems when formulating policies and management practices to protect our water resources.
Forests play a very important role in the hydrological cycle
by directly affecting rates of evapotranspiration and by influencing how water is routed and stored in a watershed.
Forest soils readily absorb water and, as a result, surface
runoff rarely occurs outside of stream channels in forested
areas, causing important water catchments to form
These catchments not only help store valuable fresh water, but they also increase the quality of water since forest cover reduces erosion and keeps rainwater within the enriched soil of forest beds and away from pollutants. As a result of the key role that forests play both in the hydrological cycle and in the natural supply of fresh water, it is no surprise that a recent review revealed that about one-third of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant portion of their drinking-water directly from forested protected areas.
The proportion increases to about 44% when including water sources originating in distant protected forested watersheds and other forests managed in a way that prioritizes their functions in providing water.
Coastal ecosystems are among the most productive in the world, and have strong linkages to both habitats and settlements that extend beyond their importance in the hydrological cycle. It would be better, and more economic, Taking into consideration this fact, in Turkey or in a given country it is placed in the world, Urban Rearrangements (Kentsel Dönüşüm Projeleri) projects to be arranged together by forestry, water management bodies, and city planning carried out local municipalities and ministries at national level, as the forests serving water to crowded cities are the origin or the city, whereas the city is the extension of the forest ecosystem.
Forested riparian wetlands, for example, play a vital role as buffers to ameliorate the impacts of floods. For instance, The wetlands along the Mississippi River had the capacity to store about 60 days of river discharge, but their removal to create canals and levees has reduced flood storage capacity to only 12 days of discharge—a reduction of 80%.
Forested wetlands also have tremendous value with regards to their biodiversity since the varying habitat types result in a significant array of biological communities. One prime example of the unique biodiversity that results from forested wetlands is the relationship between trees and fish in the flooded forests of the Amazon. At least 200 different species of fish have developed molars to crush seeds, nuts, and fruit, and these fish, in turn, help to disperse the trees’ seeds
Forest mismanagement can have adverse implications on water quality and biological diversity in both the forests and the nearby wetlands, and mismanagement of wetlands can adversely impact the surrounding forests. It is therefore imperative that policy-makers consider ecosystems in their entirety to properly account for the impacts that management and practices will have throughout the ecosystem. This approach was highlighted in a 2002 meeting of international experts held in Shiga, Japan.
Fortunately, water provided by ecosystem regulates naturally many as being one of the indispensable ecosystem services in biosphere,
such as its heat buffering capacity in lakes
in winter periods. This strong link in the water example can give us also roughly the actual price its regulatory ecosystem services in climate regulation from Western Europe to the Poles.
To clarify this some typical examples can be analysed later, for example, Danube river basin’s large freshwater ecosystems and Natura 2000 sites around the basin, and the severe situation of North Pole bear.
Global climate change is recognized as a threat to species survival and the health of natural systems. Scientists worldwide are looking at the ecological and hydrological impacts resulting from climate change. Climate change will make future efforts to restore and manage wetlands more complex.
Wetland systems are vulnerable to changes in quantity and quality of their water supply, and it is expected that climate change will have a pronounced effect on wetlands through alterations in hydrological regimes with great global variability.
In fact, one of the objectives for Natura 2000 Protected Areas identified in relation to relevant areas designated under the Habitats Directive is to: protect and, where necessary, improve the status of the water environment to the extent necessary to achieve the conservation objectives that have been established for the protection or improvement of the site’s natural habitat types and species of Community importance in order to ensure the site contributes to the maintenance of, or restoration to, favourable conservation status i.e. to protect and, where necessary, improve the water or water dependent environment to the extent necessary to maintain at or restore to favourable conservation status the water-dependent habitats and species for which the Protected Area is designated.
This Community policy provides enduring continuous flow of water from protect td areas to big cities in Europe, though some have no protection status.
Thus given importance of water conservation by Natura 2000 sites according to EU legislation intervenes with value of water used in big cities priced by municipalities, and water boards (e.g. in the Netherlands).
Wetlands represent a significant number of Natura 2000 sites. For this reason pricing by means of water could be a better and much easier choice which can provide generalisations at least to some extent. Moreover it can be accepted by many in rural and urban areas, in particular local managements.
Meanwhile recognition of the need for a network of this kind was a response to the large scale destruction and fragmentation of wildlife habitats, which has occurred over the decades leading up to 1992.
Pressures on habitats and ecosystems are also intense: for example, wetlands in north and west Europe have been reduced by some 60% in recent decades. The pressures responsible for this loss, i.e. urban, infrastructure and tourism development, agricultural and forestry intensification, etc. have continued over the last decade. Accordingly valuation of wetlands located in Natura 2000 sites should be an urgent task.
Because Natura 2000 sites inhabit areas in a way, to establish some integrity by means of habitats connectivity for species in Europe so conserve more powerfully biodiversity compared to single conserved habitats near towns, villages, and cities. It is of course a generalisation as some exceptions may occur.
In 1995, the European Environment Agency (EEA) estimated that around 25% of the most important wetlands (whether PROTECTED AREA or NOT!) in Europe were threatened by groundwater overexploitation.
In the Mediterranean basin, wetland loss is a particular concern. Spain, for example, has lost more than 60% of all inland freshwater wetlands since 1970.
More northerly regions have also suffered, however. In France, 67% of wetlands have disappeared within the last century. Similarly, since the 1950s, 84% of peat soils have been lost in the United Kingdom, and 57% in Germany due to drainage for agriculture activities, forestry and landfill for urban development. Lithuania has lost 70% of its wetlands in the last 30 years and the open plains of south western Sweden have lost 67% of their wetlands and ponds to drainage in the last 50 years.
Overall, drainage and conversion to farmland alone have reduced the wetland area in Europe by some 60%. Despite global and national recognition of their importance, Europe’s wetlands remain under severe pressure from changing land use and pollution.
To establish more easier and faster methods some more physical valuation methods compared to former ones should be explored, particularly to present a concrete and more practical instrumental solution to European Union’s Natura 2000 sites network’s managers and countries. Upon using these new methods by each area manager probably there will be a common tradition regarding motivation towards protected area valuation. This trend will be able to give a rough but applicable method for the EU Commission approximately after five years elapsed.
Former researches have focused more on the grouping of ecosystem services illustrated so frequently in tables, but ignored concrete sub-components in detail which give the sub-value components of the intact ecosystem. In addition, global versus local, provisional versus regulatory valuation approach dilemmas were tried to be assessed in line with international trade and landscape ecology in this paper. It was found that global foreign trade, the farming practices of underdeveloped countries which collectively impact protected areas in that countries, and also Europe’s Natura 2000 sites are impacting each other although they seem too distant physically. All such phenomena should be incorporated into even a single Natura 2000 site ecosystem services valuation and pricing. Otherwise similar to isolated protection efforts’ nonsense situation, the valuation will remain incomplete.
Overall, drainage and conversion to farmland alone have reduced the wetland area in Europe by some 60%. Despite global and national recognition of their importance, Europe’s wetlands remain under severe pressure from changing land use and pollution.
Rate of loss of habitats in Natura 2000 sites could be an instrument to completing ecosystem valuation
As coastal, marine and high mountain habitats have been degraded fast, the value of them should be higher than the rest, irrespective of their corresponding values in markets as no market will be able to compensate such a huge destruction in future financially.
Nature conservation can often be costly and the resources available are often less than are required. Resource allocations and expenditures for nature conservation have an opportunity cost in terms of foregone projects, but are rarely subjected to as much scrutiny as other public activities. Failure to apply economic tools to nature conservation decision making can result in errors in project selection, wasted use of scarce resources, and lower levels of conservation than it is possible to achieve from the resources available. In some instances where economics has been proposed for use in nature conservation research, the methodologies applied provide information that is of limited usefulness to decision makers.
Due to errors in project selection in nature conservation degradation of ecosystems may be a rapidly ongoing process due to irrelevant legislation more focused on the sustainability of transportation, revenue production and development in the enlarged Europe. Time rate change of different Natura 2000 sites ecosystems with their entire list of ecosystems valued differently according to rate of biodiversity loss. Not every loss of biodiversity means the same value in Europe, they should be classified their biodiversity provided financial loss rate.
Dam construction impacting a Natura 2000 site in GREECE
Dam construction generally results in a reduction of peak flows, which reduces the ability of the stream to carry sediments. The decrease in the water yield and the sediment load led to significant changes in the area and shape of the delta Nestou in Greece
, and the considerable disturbance of biotope. This will both increase the rate of loss of biodiversity, particularly wetland shelter for birds services similar to Ramsar wetland in Göksu Delta protected area in Türkiye
, and the value of this Natura site as it simultaneously loss its regulatory services.
Flow regimes can also be altered through regulation, in terms of the duration of flows of a given magnitude, the total annual discharge, flow variability, or the frequency of flood peaks. The altered flow regimes can influence oxygen levels, temperature, suspended soils, as well as have direct impacts on biota. As suspended soils can decrease water quality of a delta of a wetland which serve habitat to the biotic elements of that ecosystem will be upset so food chain and other invisible ecological cycles will be distorted as well. Therefore valuation of such a wetland can be made by means of measuring change in temperature, flow rate, soil amount and properties, loss in the number of related species, and the loss in diameter of the habitat.
Finally, climate change scenarios predict that next decades the temperature will be increased with simultaneously decrease in precipitation for the Mediterranean basin resulting further deterioration of the water balance. The other loss will be incorporated to climate change impacts in the Mediterranean basin. Therefore the Greece situation will also impact Italy’s, Spain’s, Türkiye’s, France’s water, and climate as the capacity of Nestor delta to retain water will be reduced, which in turn will have a certain contribution to undesired climate change towards drought and hotter climate due to dam construction. So avoided cost should be analysed in a detailed manner for this complex wetland system.
Hydrological Properties of Ecosystems in Natura 2000 Sites and Natura 2000 sites
Many of the world’s largest cities are in coastal zones and more than 75 per cent of people are expected to live within 100 km of a coast by 2025. These changes in population distribution have already had an impact on coastal landscapes. The EU’s policy on Integrated Coastal Zone Management aims to identify and promote measures to manage deteriorating coastal zones.
This trend has altered landscapes of ecosystems close to coastal zones as well. For instance, intactness, continuity, soil, water properties, even animal behaviours. Tourism, commerce, manufacturing, and construction of rather bigger infrastructures have changed the hydrology.
Meanwhile, due to climate change impacts added to water exemption from aquifers has also changed hydrology followed by various changes both in natural and semi-natural ecosystems, such as crop pattern change by opportunity cost driven by economic pressures, followed by these farming practice changes, for example conditions and populations of insects, birds, and some woody plants. Some of these changes may be considered as the loss, some gain to be added to overall ecosystem valuation. Special attention should be given to coastal forests which have special properties with respect to other forests. It should be kept in mind that coastal forests should not be valued according to timber production or source of provisional ecosystem services. Their exclusive ecological characteristics should take the lion’s share.
The different types of man-made infrastructure tend to provide more vertical habitats and are often made from artificial material, such as concrete or metal. This can change the physical properties of the habitat, with important consequences for both immobile and mobile species. For example, farmed mussels growing on artificial structures are larger than mussels growing on natural structures, but have weaker shells. This ultimately affects the feeding and distribution of sea ducks. Man-made infrastructures tend to lack “microhabitats”, such as rock-pools and over-hangs, which often provide refuges against predators, particularly for larvae and young individuals.
These physical changes can be measured by measuring instruments. This should include also some basic and simple landscape ecological parameters, such as spatial changes in ecotone, and edge effect, and change, and landscape geometry of the given Natura 2000 site habitats influencing species living in that ecosystem. These measurements will contribute to a rough calculation of abiotic and biotic components of the ecosystem in quantity to be used in pricing accordingly. For example, the cost of the amount of fertile soil loss can be priced by taking that amount of soil cover which beforehand provided economic gain to the people living in it plus surroundings who have dealt with tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors.
Another set of evaluations can be made for moving and non-moving species which have rather lessened abilities to reaching their targets, altered moving distances, frequencies, etc. upon changing conditions, such as food availability by measuring their followed path in the ecosystem or, by counting the altered frequency of migratory bird species, to be compared by the former data. Decreased loss of water and soil qualities as the basic food sources for birds can also be valued by exploiting the unit prices of soil and water in markets, particularly in the country which has the Natura 2000 site.
Changes to river flows and other key ecosystem processes and the diversion of water have had a serious impact on biological diversity. WWF’s Living Planet Index indicates that freshwater biodiversity has declined at a much greater rate than in either the forest or marine biomes, declining by 50% from 1970-2000.
To analyse changes in riverine and its surrounding biodiversity in order to produce the first set of data for pricing, one may try to compare river’s geometry, depth, acidity, frequency of organisms including microorganisms pollution, total suspended solids, biochemical oxygen demand, and etc. and the corresponding biodiversity loss in aquatic biota to establish a new reference base to be used in measuring such ecosystems in Europe.
This will probably be a catastrophe for European people as they depend on the fisheries as one of their main food sources. Therefore decline risk of food is in direct proportion to changes in stream flow.
Much progress has been made in water protection in Europe over the last 30 years. But Europe‘s waters are still in need of increased efforts to get them clean and bring them back to their ecological health.
Budgets allocated by EU states to purifying water can be included into river ecosystems price located in or passing through Natura 2000 sites, for example valuation of the complete Danube river basin
and Natura 2000
sites ecosystems services actually are overlapped
. Depending on the country at hand, the expenses for cleaning running waters may vary, so for each Natura 2000 site slight differences may occur in pricing.
The Role of Soil in Natura 2000 Site Valuation
The European Commission today proposed a strategy to ensure that Europe’s soils remain healthy and capable of supporting human activities and ecosystems. Good quality soil is essential to our economic activities as it provides us with food, drinking water, biomass and raw materials – and all our human activities are somehow related to soil.
Since quality of soil determines economic productivity and revenue gain in Europe, the soil layer of ecosystems on Natura 2000 sites should be directly considered in ecosystem services of Natura 2000 sites when making valuation. The species as habitat components are more dependent on their floor which is basically fertile soil for species and ecological cycles. However some difficulties may arise as less fertiliser contained soil is not so much efficient in farming, but extremely appropriate.
On the other hand a species biodiversity rich soil in an ecosystem may not provide a high production for farming which means that a specific kind of provisional service, for example an edible fruit or fibre may be less and can only be integrated to local economy. Nonetheless, its robustness and contribution will be strongly reflected climate regulation, weather, stability of ecosystem and human health via combating against invasions, and drought, floods, etc. Therefore when making a pricing one should be careful about this discrimination.
Bacterial diversity in soil:
The Antarctic is a pristine environment that contributes to the maintenance of the global climate equilibrium. The harsh conditions of this habitat are fundamental to selecting those organisms able to survive in such an extreme habitat and able to support the relatively simple ecosystems. The DNA of the microbial community
associated with the rhizospheres of Deschampsia antarctica
Desv (Poaceae) and Colobanthus quitensis
(Kunth) BartI (Caryophyllaceae), the only two native vascular plants that are found in Antarctic ecosystems, was evaluated using a 16S rRNA multiplex 454 pyrosequencing approach.
Analyzing all the sample libraries together, the predominant genera found were Bifidobacterium (phylum Actinobacteria), Arcobacter (phylum Proteobacteria) and Faecalibacterium (phylum Firmicutes). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first major bacterial sequencing effort of this kind of soil, and it revealed more than expected diversity within these rhizospheres of both maritime Antarctica vascular plants in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, which is part of the South Shetlands archipelago (34).
Bacterial diversity >>>
Soil wetness >>>
biodiversity in ecosystem >>>
ecosystem services provided by biodiversity in ecosystem >>>
mammalian, birds, reptiles, Platyhelminthes, bryophyte and plant biodiversity dependence on soil (bacteria and microorganism) biodiversity in line with water availability.
Here “Activity of Water Constant” for bacteria is a determining factor and, in my opinion, should be taken into consideration in valuing Natura ecosystems with inclusion of belonging agricultural food production chain process information.
For example, river ecosystem’s natural capacity to purify water can significantly lower the cost of pre-treatment by water companies
Greater use of the world’s water supply for agricultural production may improve basic food production and human health in many places. However, increases in pollution and water shortages caused by more-intensive agriculture may make many of these regions more vulnerable to surprises, such as drought, eutrophication of biodiversity aquatic ecosystems, or floods that overwhelm sewage treatment plants.
Hydraulic conductivity in unsaturated soils as one the basic elements for ecosystem functions and Degree of Resilience in Natura 2000 Sites Ecosystems to Adapt Climate Change Impacts
As soils dry out the cross-sectional area for water transport decreases. Thus the rate at which water moves through the soil also decreases. The relative permeability or the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity may be expressed as a function of the mean water-filled pore. Soil-water properties vary widely with soil composition and texture. This factor is one of the determining elements in valuing a Natura 2000 site ecosystem which is dry, wet or in between once more reveals the necessity of water and the inevitable place of it in ecosystem valuation. In fact, water table and biodiversity is mutually interdependent.
Moreover, hydraulic energy used in machines to lift some mechanical components of machines, people (e.g. passengers), or commodities, used in industry in urban crawl areas. For example this provision of such energy by a water rich ecosystem makes many important man-made constructions possible, and so on.
Soil moisture limits forage production potential the most in semiarid regions. Estimated water use efficiency for irrigated and dry-land crop production systems is 50 percent, and available soil water has a large impact on management decisions producers make throughout the year. Soil moisture available for plant growth makes up approximately 0.01 percent of the world's stored water.
Soil texture and structure greatly influence water infiltration, permeability, and water-holding capacity.
The degree of resilience of the ecosystem at hand, a value enhancer factor or not should be another issue in Natura 2000 sites valuation.
As a result, let’s say, for example an ecosystem its resilience has been enhanced by good soil biodiversity quality to analyse a more sophisticated valuation in Europe.
Valuation of ecological assets is relatively difficult and complex. However it is possible and necessary. It should be practical and fast in spite of its complexity to respond timely. Implementation of a series of results derived from ecosystem assessments and valuation so far made including its consequent target, the pricing programme to be used in economy should be launched as soon as possible in Europe.
Otherwise our affluent society in Europe will continue to consume more than we actually own and cannot aware of the oncoming shortages and severe climate change impacts, and disturbances to our living standards. To achieve this, relatively faster and easier methods compared to the ones so far used should be developed. In this article Natura 2000 sites consisting of both natural and semi-natural habitats were selected to attempt assessing them first as focusing on their exclusive network property in Europe, the backbone of Europe’s biodiversity source which provides our indispensable ecosystem services necessitated indispensably by our lives on this continent, and planet.
Valuing a single Natura 2000 site has a value meaning more than itself alone has, but also an additive value as being an integral part of a bigger protected area network covering and protecting the entire Europe. By means of this property it is flexible, differing in its effects with respect to quality and quantity, therefore responding rapidly as a big repair tool so as to maintain Europe’s ecosystems, humans and urban areas healthy. For centuries that part of European landscape at present designated as Natura 2000 sites network has been the main resilience source for Europe’s ecosystems to producing food, water etc. and adapting and coping with the impacts of climate change by means of its regulatory services provided by its various ecosystems. In other words, it protects Per se
and the rest of Europe outside it.
Moreover the value of the use of services actually benefited as infrastructure, and industrial manufacturing and repair processes in the form of mechanical, hydraulic, and electricity energy machines provided by Natura 2000 ecosystems’ provisional services as being the raw materials for urban lives produced by ecosystems in Natura 2000 sites have been ignored so far.
Due to urgency resulted from unexpected abrupt climate change impacts occurred in last century and their heavy costs to the budgets of European governments, a common method which can be acceptable to everyone and applicable to more than few sorts of areas should be developed. Initially it can be the use of pricing biodiversity in large ecosystems of Natura 2000 sites by water pricing. Water already priced as a vital source in human health and preventive medicine by urban authorities has some links to markets, and various sectors.
As present monetary values will not be the same in future, time dimension should be another determining factor for pricing. For instance, in future for a given ecosystem probably the present monetary value will be increased or decreased due to continuously changing global economy dynamics, and unwanted impacts of climate change will probably reveal itself as being the source of huge disasters and unbearable temperatures for humans and other species. Moreover, in future climate change impacts will cause a heavy burden to national economies, and exaggerated human healthcare expenses for the governments in Europe compared to present.
Supplies of freshwater are threatened in Europe. The European Union has recognized this and has come up with new water policy reform in 2000. The Water Framework Directive provides a major once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore Europe’s rivers, lakes and wetlands to ecological health by 2015 with each member state required to produce a River Basin Management Plan by 2009. These plans are now being presented and consulted with EU citizens in many of Europe’s 110 river basin districts. This priority of EU shows officially the importance of water sources in Europe. The need for action at River Basin level is a new direction in EU water law and policy over the last years. The key tool to foster water efficiency introduced in changing funding support for initiatives in these by the Directive is water pricing. Therefore it is time to valuate water and then combine water pricing and ecosystem services prices provided by biodiversity so as to integrate it into ecosystem dynamics, the two priorities of European Union in the last ten years.
Danube river basin with its surrounding Natura 2000 sites or those of Natura 2000 sites which impact the basin through impacting the river here can be good examples to be analysed to show water biodiversity mutual relations at the larger scale. Larger scale analyses can provide more useful information for the entire continent and should have some methodological differences compare to a single protected area, for example a Natura 2000 site.
Regarding wetlands in Europe, a conjunction point of biodiversity and water medium can be grouped into sub types according to degree of impacts such as industrial pollution. For example, Danube river as being a polluted aquatic environment in Europe cannot be comparable to a smaller and cleaner wetlands, let’s say for example in Brandenburg, Potsdam, Berlin, Germany small wetland a convenient habitat for birds. These two are roughly can be considered as the representatives of two main groups of wetlands in Europe. Whether which type has a bigger value compared to the other should be our new discussion agenda in Europe in line with implementation of intersecting EU environment policies.
As a matter of fact, payments for Natura 2000 management and for the Implementation of actions under the Water Framework Directive
are provided for farmers and land owners that operate within sites in the Natura 2000 network or have to comply with water management plans and who have to respect specific restrictions (set within the management plans for the area) in their activities in order to maintain the biodiversity and the good ecological status in these sites/areas. These payments will be able to support the resilience of the Natura 2000 sites to adapting climate change, but how they will support their resilience level should be monitored at least in some carefully selected pilot regions.
These data will present us the opportunity to make more concrete analyses for establishing one-to-one correspondence between the type, amount of payment paid for the involved farmers benefiting form the Natura 2000 site at hand, and the ways they use them to the nature and density of resilience continued and increased after a while. After assessing these values along with monitoring programmes, some reductions or increases in payments may be requested, or shift of payments to be allocated towards other newly prioritised Natura 2000 sites would be required in future.
Briefly speaking, spatially designed payments should be as flexible as possible in Europe in line with climate change impacts and spatial changes in landscape ecological characteristics desired, and to selecting which Natura 2000 could be best adapted, and could prevent such newly emerging impacts in future. Accordingly, some monitoring programmes devoted to a certain region and Natura 2000 sites of group of them will be required in order to rearrange payments programmes for the natural value owners including High Nature Value Areas (HNVs) farmers.
“External pressures on biodiversity are not uniform or held in place by geographical designations, and we must not focus all our efforts on preserving islands of biodiversity while losing nature everywhere else," Jacqueline McGlade, former executive director of the European Environment Agency (EEA), told a conference
on biodiversity protection. This reflects the critical place of Natura 2000 areas in conserving biodiversity of entire Europe and therefore natural resources, particularly ecosystem services absolutely with the inclusion of their buffer areas which are more influenced by industry and urbanisation, therefore have more exchanges with urban and industrial activities. Sometimes their buffering effect and bigger surface areas may be more valuable compared to single Natura 2000 site serving more to the migratory birds and their habitats in Africa, far away from this European region. In fact, such non-protected buffer region which has no official protection status may provide more vegetation, thus more food and water to birds, resulted in a relatively high ecosystem value evaluated.
Certain agri-environmental measures can be regarded as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) as they are very targeted and help specifically to protect the environment, provide ecosystem services and maintain the countryside, cultural heritage and landscape (specific features, etc.)
As many Natura 2000 sites are in mutual relationship with semi-natural habitats of farmlands, certain Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) agri-environmental payments have supported Natura 2000 sites in order to make them more resilient in line with soil conservation, and similar benefits which also sustain the wildlife in and around wildlife, including farmland birds and butterflies. The return of PES to nature is important. Density of agriculture and degree of biodiversity protection in some parts of Europe may contradict each other.
For such places valuation of a Natura 2000 site ecosystem is rather difficult, because the ecosystem services provided by that Natura 2000 site is devoted more to the farmers earning their revenues from the ecosystem. Though increase in biodiversity in natural habitat simultaneously with the increase in the resilience of the ecosystem by conserving water and, etc., more direct interest of farmers will be their semi-natural farmlands, but not the natural habitats which mean the rights and profits of species living there. However while making valuation, e.g. as bird and mammalian species benefit from the farmlands, this gained value can be subtracted from the former looser value for the natural ecosystem which is resulted in more or less a neutralisation effect.
Drainage is the main cause of wetland loss and degradation, especially in southern Europe.
That part of degradation caused by drainage is benefited by farming practice should be added to natural production capacity of a given Natura 2000 site ecosystem. Or after restoring that ecosystem the expenses can be added to the value of that ecosystem. However the calculation at that step could not be considered as being complete, because wetlands provide also health to humans living both in rural areas which are overlapping Natura 2000 sites, and urban areas as the bird species control many important and dangerous diseases from the shared system in Europe and the planet. The cost of health provided by bird species living in Natura 2000 site ecosystems can be calculated by using health statistics and national health expenses per annum.
Similarly, Share of birds to formation of healthy water could also be explored.
Some key ecosystems can cope with wide variations in climatic conditions and land use impacts whereas others are much more sensitive to any environmental change. The effects of small shifts in rainfall patterns or ambient temperatures can often do great harm to vulnerable environments
and these effects can act as indicators of imminent threats elsewhere. Likewise, parallel changes observed in alleles via transposons (mobile genetic elements) found in too far distant biomes could also affect vulnerability and/or resilience of ecosystems in Europe, Russia, US, Australia, New Zealand, China, İndia, UK simultaneously!..
These should be considered more intense and diversified regulatory services owners and valued more carefully. In case their local people were paid by PES, the amount of PES should be increased as climate change adaptation requirement policy in Europe and the priorities of governments.
For “protected area” policies, the implicit assumption is that implementation of current plans will not substantially change current trends. These now cover almost 12% of global land area. However, the biomes represented in that coverage are uneven. The CBD analyses show that full implementation of protected areas will only decrease the biodiversity losses on land by 2-3%-points. Many protected areas are, also, nothing more than ‘paper parks’. As an extremely European instrument, the value of the total net character of all Natura 2000 sites collectively may probably be higher than the sum of the values of each Natura 2000 sites in Europe one by one as the total can represent more powerful and functional biodiversity as they exist together firmly.
However, the task is not only biodiversity coverage capacity of Natura 2000 sites, but ecosystem services of them with regard to valuation.
Increasing information base and awareness e.g. TEEB and EURECA initiatives needed. Together with increasing information and awareness of TEEB and EURECA the acceptability, and adoption of valuation of ecosystem services found in Natura 2000 network provided by biodiversity will be integrated more to the pricing policies, including trade, manufacturing in the EU states. This will in turn make relatively easier internalisations of the externalisations currently still being a prominent problem in ecosystem services maintenance provided by biodiversity protection with its entire costs by both the EU states and the Community.
We may consider some examples of ethically indefensible trade-offs. A forest ecosystem may be essential to the well-being of poor farming communities downstream – by providing nutrient flows, recharging aquifers, regulating seasonal water supply, preventing soil erosion and containing flood damage.
So forest ecosystems providing water can also be valuing by means of water retained in it but in connection with biodiversity. Forest ecosystems not only have simply plant biodiversity but also a room for wildlife. Such ecosystems plant biodiversity in close collaboration with provision of wildlife
should be assessed differently. Maybe landscape ecology felling methods which provide both timber as a provisional source, and shelter for bird species. When furniture are manufactured by industry in urban areas the cost of timber can be valuated easily by means of both physical, financial means provided by European markets.
Valuation of ecosystem services by means of costs of restoration and maintenance is a relatively wiser method with respect to contingent valuation. However the contribution that part of value regained by means of restoration to providing climate regulation, or hampering of hungry in other poor continents are not hidden into this value calculated.
Analysis of a Natura 2000 site ecosystem’s functions in regulating global climate change, carbon retaining capacity, and ozone level of the atmosphere should be taken into consideration together with distant ecosystems
, for example polar bear habitats in Antarctica, which is physically far away from the Natura 2000 network.
However, Natura 2000 net actually contributes to polar bear species and its habitat in the pole by means of cumulative important climate regulatory services. Thus valuation of a given Natura 2000 site ecosystem should be valued by taking into consideration the vital minimum ecological requirements of polar bear species and its easily melting habitat ice cover stability more than contingent valuation made by via receiving questionnaire outputs of people living in the site. Otherwise valuation would be rather underestimated as at present climate change impacts by far negatively alter ecosystems and human lives in Europe compared to provisional services In situ
at local and country level.
Ecosystem services are a collective term describing the benefits of a natural ecosystem for human kind. The monetary value of the world’s ecosystem services has been estimated to be about US$ 33 trillion annually, twice as much as the annual gross global product. The value of services provided by the earth's ecological infrastructure does not fit well into economic equations, though. They are, in fact, invaluable. In the past probably the monetary value of the world’s ecosystem services was the multiples of the annual gross global product. However, today the monetary value of world’s ecosystem services is more critical in compensating and balancing impacts of economy to provide a sustainable development at global level.
Water and soil - essential resources for humanity - are threatened by pollution and over-exploitation. The ability of ecosystems to transform pollutants into less harmful substances is facilitated mainly by microorganisms. Degradation of pollutants in groundwater systems, with a focus on the key organisms providing this ecosystem service and the genetic underpinnings of the biogeochemical processes they mediate. Here the key elements regulating ecosystem service is microorganisms. The role of microorganisms in any ecosystem should not be neglected. Meanwhile, ground waters are cleaned by these organisms. Water table consisting of clean water provided by microorganisms supporting biodiversity of the surface on which many plant and animal species are living together in the same ecosystem. Similarly running waters self- cleaning property should be added to the value of a given ecosystem in a given Natura 2000 site as well.
Ecological footprints localised, oriented onto different new diversified ecosystems would be established, such as “The footprint of excess water consumption and/or pressure on the habitat availability index of automobile originated emissions in big cities on the Polar bear
spatially restricted ecosystem each day via increasing in temperature in North West Canada”. Moreover both polar bears and the plant and animal species including soil biota in Natura 2000 sites have shared water which may be further correlated to make a link between two distant ecosystem services to find a new valuation method in future.
Public funding for Natura 2000 needs to come from both the EU and national budgets. Through the EU it can be ensured that funds are targeted to priority areas and projects, and that Member States and regions with less resources but more extensive natural areas are supported. Nature does not know national border, therefore the EU is well-placed to act and has a share of the responsibility. For instance, those Natura 2000 sites ecosystems and the local people fed by them most impacted by the Gulfstream should financially be supported more due to recent climatic impacts exerted north western parts of Europe more.
- Protected areas provide water to big cities in Europe irrespective of their distance to urban areas of which their population is sustained by these water ecosystem services of protected areas,
- Not every protected areas under official protected area status but some fall under non-protected but in way actually protected,
- Forest protected areas are the primary protected areas serving provisional ecosystem service water to big European cities,
- Restoring natural forest by plantations gives less efficient water sources to big cities,
- Europe has taken action to improve freshwater ecosystem quality but achieving good ecological status by 2015 will require that synergies are found between nature conservation policies and sectoral policies, with special focus on restoring many water regimes.