Estimation of benefits from the actual use of inland water ecosystem services in the Slovak Republic

Radoslav Bujnovský 1
  • 1 Water Research Institute, , 812 49, Bratislava

Abstract

The primary aim of the article is to obtain an overview of benefits from the actual use of inland water ecosystem services (ESSs) in Slovakia. The evaluation, which includes both surface water and groundwater, is primarily focused on demand side. Methods for assessing the benefits of the most prevalent ESSs, designated by Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES classification) v. 4.3, are described and discussed. The evaluation is performed at the level of 10 sub-basins to which available data are allocated. In the absence of necessary data or the impossibility of allocating them to sub-basins, the benefit from the use of some ESSs is estimated at the level of whole Slovak territory. The use of ESSs valuation in practice, especially with regard to water protection of surface water and groundwater, is discussed. The evaluation of benefits from ESSs of inland waters in Slovakia so far does not allow direct use of obtained results for proposal of measures within river basin management plans as suggested by several authors. Main reason is the input data availability and quality. At the present time, the significance of the ESSs evaluation may rather lie in the awareness of the value that human society gains from the use of inland waters. It becomes more evident that increase in environmental awareness alone is not sufficient in terms of the protection of ecosystems and their services. To achieve unambiguous and lasting improvement in this area, it is necessary to address the deeper causes, closely related to human thinking and behaviour.

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