Conservation challenges to freshwater ecosystems


Andrea J. Reid, Andrew K. Carlson, Dalal E. L. Hanna, Julian D. Olden, Steve J. Ormerod, Steven J. Cooke. 

Journal or Book Title: Encyclopedia of the World’s Biomes -- Reference Module in Earth and Environmental Sciences

Year Published: 2019


Natural freshwater ecosystems represent the terrestrial phases of the global hydrological cycle and include rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands as well as groundwaters. While fresh waters comprise only 0.01% of the water on Earth and constitute less than one-tenth of the global land surface area, they support > 10% of all recorded species including ~ 30% of all vertebrates. Freshwater ecosystems support the provision of numerous ecosystem services which range from natural flood management, to water supply, to health and mental being, to nurseries for important fish stocks. However, freshwater ecosystems, their biodiversity and the services they provide are being jeopardized by a multitude of anthropogenic (human-mediated) stressors. Some of these threats are generated internally (habitat alteration, fragmentation, overexploitation) while others are external (invasive nonnative species, climate change, atmospheric pollution). Fortunately, many options for freshwater ecosystem conservation exist and must be acted upon immediately.

DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.11937-2

Type of Publication: Book Chapter