Main content area

The risk to lose ecosystem services due to climate change: A South American case

Asmus, Milton L., Nicolodi, João, Anello, Lúcia S., Gianuca, Kahuam
Ecological engineering 2019 v.130 pp. 233-241
South Americans, case studies, climate, climate change, coasts, databases, ecosystem services, ecosystems, environmental management, estuaries, interviews, issues and policy, models, oceans, risk, stakeholders, Brazil
The effects of the global climate change on oceans and coastal areas are manifested in many ways. In coastal environments, the climate change influence on coastal ecosystems is particularly worrisome, affecting their configuration and restricting the ecosystem services they produce and their benefits to nature and society. This possible loss of ecosystem services translates well the significance of the “environmental risk” that climate change can cause. An assessment of the environmental risk generated by climate threats in coastal ecosystems was carried out through a South American case study developed on the Southern coast of Brazil – Estuary of Patos Lagoon. The study involved the implementation of a model that estimates the risk of losing ecosystem services used by different stakeholder groups as a function of (1) the climate threat, (2) the value of the service defined by the stakeholder perception, and (3) the vulnerability of each group in relation to a possible service loss. Based on information generated by scenarios predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and from a significant database collected from interviews of several service users, the model was able to generate levels of risks for different conditions. The calculated risk values, standardized to values between zero and one, allow numerous possibilities of evaluation for ecosystems, user groups and climate variability indicators. Moreover, the model appears as a tool capable of generating comparative risk levels and can help to establish environmental management policies related to the climatic effects and the necessary adaptations.