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LULC change; climate change; hydrologic ecosystem services; conceptual framework


Land use/land cover (LULC) and climate changes could affect water quantity and quality and thus hydrologic ecosystem services (ES). However, studies of these impacts on hydrologic ES are limited by the current methods and techniques. We attempted to find out how the LULC and climate changes impact hydrologic ES at different temporal scales so that decision-makers can easily understand hydrologic ES variations for guiding management plans. In this study, we analyzed the impacts of LULC and climate changes on hydrologic ES in the Milwaukee River basin, USA with a conceptual modeling framework for hydrologic ES. The model framework was applied to a series of climate and urban expansion scenarios. Two hydrologic responses (streamflow and sediment) and three hydrologic ES (water provision index (WPI), flood regulation index (FRI), and sediment regulation index (SRI)) were calculated. Major findings include: (1) Climate change has much larger impacts than LULC at the monthly scale. For example, the impacts of climate change on streamflow were −6 to 9 m3/s whereas those of LULC change were −0.4 to 0.2 m3/s. Also, WPI (ranging from 0 to 1) changed between −0.16 and 0.07 with climate change but between −0.02 and −0.001 with LULC changes. (2) Compared to changes at the annual scale, the results show much larger variabilities as monthly time-series and mean monthly numbers. These findings suggest that the climate change weighs more than the realistic LULC change in term of impacts on hydrologic ES and those impacts can be identified with results at the monthly temporal scale. This approach with the framework and scenarios can better support management planning for decision-makers with detailed results and temporal precision.

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