Document Type : Original Article
1 University of Connecticut
2 Former fellow of the Secretaría de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Ecuador
Water ecosystem services are benefits obtained from natural processes held by terrestrial vegetation in relation to hydrologic systems. These benefits have implications for human wellbeing through the mitigation of flood risk, management of stormwater runoff, and removal of pollutants from water systems that ultimately supply drinking and irrigation water. Assessing national and regional stocks of these important ecosystem services is crucial for the sustainable development of the land and for conservation purposes. In this study, we applied three models from the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) tool to map the production of flash-flood risk mitigation, stormwater retention, and nitrogen retention. Our findings were consistent with impact assessments on local communities. Through the three ecosystem services mapped, we demonstrated the role of existing terrestrial vegetation in processing hydrologic systems in the Republic of Ecuador. The results from this modeling also provided insights into potential planning pathways for future management using the InVEST software.