Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Aug 20;47(16):9061-8. doi: 10.1021/es4021052. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Human impact on freshwater ecosystem services: a global perspective.

Author information

Division of Biology, Kansas State University , 116 Ackert Hall, Manhattan 66506, Kansas, USA.


Human environmental change influences freshwaters as well as the regulating, provisioning, and cultural services that ecosystems provide worldwide. Here, we assess the global human impact on the potential value of six freshwater ecosystem services (ES) and estimate the proportion of each used globally (the mean value across all countries is in parentheses): biodiversity (0.37), disturbance regulation (0.24), commodities (0.39), greenhouse gases (0.09), water availability (0.10), and water quality (0.33). We also created a composite index of the impact. Using different valuation schemes, we found that humans have used potential global freshwater ES scaled by a relative value of roughly 4-20%, with a median of 16%. All countries use a considerable amount of the potential ES value, invalidating the idea that wealthier countries have less impact on their ES once they have developed. The data suggest that humans have diminished the potential ES provided by freshwaters across the globe and that factors associated with high population growth rates are related to the overall degradation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center