Managing Water and Watersheds for Co-benefits: Human well-being and ecosystem services in the Credit River Watershed
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The importance of ecosystem services (ES) to human well-being, and of management of water and other watershed resources in maintaining such services, is not commonly understood by the general public, and not well-enough articulated by environmental management and governance organizations. Beneficiaries of such services are often unaware of the nature of their dependence upon supporting ecosystems. This is particularly true in urbanized watersheds, to the point where researchers discuss “nature deficit disorder” as an aspect of this disconnection. Watershed management organizations are aware of such benefits to watershed residents, but they very rarely track and report measures of human well-being to demonstrate the efficacy of their work. In managing water and watersheds such as the Credit River watershed, managers and policy makers deal with complex coupled human and natural systems that are characterized by irreducible uncertainty, multiple stakeholders, relationships that are often multiple, diffuse and interacting, and that are affected by strong driving forces such as urbanization and climate change. In such problematic situations the positioning of interventions on the landscape is an area of increased interest.
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