Poor correlation between large-scale environmental flow violations and freshwater biodiversity: implications for water resource management and the freshwater planetary boundary

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Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2022-12-13
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Language
en
Pages
16
6247-6262
Series
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Volume 26, issue 23
Abstract
The freshwater ecosystems around the world are degrading, such that maintaining environmental flow Environmental flow (EF): "The quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend on these ecosystems."- Arthington et al. (2018). (EF) in river networks is critical to their preservation. The relationship between streamflow alterations (subsequent EF violationsEF violations are deviations in streamflow beyond the upper and lower boundaries of environmental flow envelopes (EFEs). The EFEs establish an envelope for acceptable EF deviations based on pre-industrial (1801-1860) stream discharge (see Sect. 2.2 for more details)) and the freshwater biodiversity response is well established at the scale of stream reaches or small basins (g 1/4<100g km2). However, it is unclear if this relationship is robust at larger scales, even though there are large-scale initiatives to legalize the EF requirement. Moreover, EFs have been used in assessing a planetary boundaryPlanetary boundary: planetary boundary defines biogeophysical planetary-scale boundaries for Earth system processes that, if violated, can irretrievably impair the Holocene-like stability of the Earth system. for freshwater. Therefore, this study intends to conduct an exploratory evaluation of the relationship between EF violation and freshwater biodiversity at globally aggregated scales and for freshwater ecoregions. Four EF violation indices (severity, frequency, probability of shifting to a violated state, and probability of staying violated) and seven independent freshwater biodiversity indicators (calculated from observed biota data) were used for correlation analysis. No statistically significant negative relationship between EF violation and freshwater biodiversity was found at global or ecoregion scales. These findings imply the need for a holistic bio-geo-hydro-physical approach in determining the environmental flows. While our results thus suggest that streamflow and EF may not be the only determinant of freshwater biodiversity at large scales, they do not preclude the existence of relationships at smaller scales or with more holistic EF methods (e.g., including water temperature, water quality, intermittency, connectivity, etc.) or with other biodiversity data or metrics.
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| openaire: EC/HE/819202/EU//SOS.aquaterra Funding Information: This research has been supported by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (grant no. C150-2017-8). Funding Information: The authors acknowledge various funds that made this research possible. Chinchu Mohan received funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFRE); Matti Kummu received funding from the Academy of Finland funded project WATVUL (grant no. 317320), the Academy of Finland funded project TREFORM (grant no. 339834), and the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement no. 819202). Vili Virkki received funding from the Aalto University School of Engineering Doctoral Program and the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement no. 819202). Sonja C. Jähnig acknowledges funding through the Leibniz Association for the project Freshwater Megafauna Futures. Miina Porkka received funding from European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement no. 819202). Lan Wang-Erlandsson was supported by the European Research Council through the “Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene” project (grant no. ERC-2016-ADG 743080) and by the IKEA Foundation. Publisher Copyright: © Copyright:
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Mohan , C , Gleeson , T , Famiglietti , J S , Virkki , V , Kummu , M , Porkka , M , Wang-Erlandsson , L , Huggins , X , Gerten , D & Jähnig , S C 2022 , ' Poor correlation between large-scale environmental flow violations and freshwater biodiversity: implications for water resource management and the freshwater planetary boundary ' , Hydrology and Earth System Sciences , vol. 26 , no. 23 , pp. 6247-6262 . https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-6247-2022