Comparing two tools for ecosystem service assessments regarding water resources decisions

P. James Dennedy-Frank, Rebecca Muenich, Indrajeet Chaubey, Guy Ziv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a comparison of two ecohydrologic models commonly used for planning land management to assess the production of hydrologic ecosystem services: the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) annual water yield model. We compare these two models at two distinct sites in the US: the Wildcat Creek Watershed in Indiana and the Upper Upatoi Creek Watershed in Georgia. The InVEST and SWAT models provide similar estimates of the spatial distribution of water yield in Wildcat Creek, but very different estimates of the spatial distribution of water yield in Upper Upatoi Creek. The InVEST model may do a poor job estimating the spatial distribution of water yield in the Upper Upatoi Creek Watershed because baseflow provides a significant portion of the site's total water yield, which means that storage dynamics which are not modeled by InVEST may be important. We also compare the ability of these two models, as well as one newly developed set of ecosystem service indices, to deliver useful guidance for land management decisions focused on providing hydrologic ecosystem services in three particular decision contexts: environmental flow ecosystem services, ecosystem services for potable water supply, and ecosystem services for rainfed irrigation. We present a simple framework for selecting models or indices to evaluate hydrologic ecosystem services as a way to formalize where models deliver useful guidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume177
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ecosystem services
  • InVEST
  • Model comparison
  • SWAT
  • Water yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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