Analysis of the distribution of ecosystem services in a watershed through coupled hydro-economic and hydro-economic modeling – David Zamora

Decision making around water in most countries continues to view this resource as unlimited and to consider in isolation the transformations of matter into energy, derived from ecosystem services. In fact, they only manage the externalities or impacts generated by these services in monetary terms, which are insufficient to affect the health of ecosystems. In order to contribute to the resolution of these fundamental problems in hydrosphere, an approach that recognizes nature linked to biophysical and human systems is required. Colombia faces these challenges through the National Policy for Integral Management of Water Resources, which provides guidelines for management that recognizes the priority of human consumption in processes of cooperation and coordination of different actors. In this sense, the science of ecohydrology has proven to have a greater understanding of the interactions of biota and hydrology, using concepts such as the equivalent rate of metabolism that represents the hydrological dynamics of the watershed in the presence of very heterogeneous conditions. On the other hand, the National Policy for the Integral Management of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Colombia), requires management tools that articulate the supply of natural resources with needs of conservation and use, and with the demand of the different economic sectors. That goes beyond the variability of biodiversity, which is not sufficient to capture the essential characteristics that underpin ecosystem functioning and benefits. In this regard, ecological economics have become a field of study that provides key elements for the proper understanding of the biophysical processes, which generate impacts on ecosystem services and emerging conditions of relations between these in a watershed. Therefore, this research proposes to develop a set of indicators to support the management of watersheds in order to allow to assess thresholds of response of the biodiversity-ecosystem services considering the resilient capacity of the socio-ecological systems.

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