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Evaluating ecosystem services and drivers of change in Spanish groundwater-related wetlands included in the Ramsar Convention

1 Department of Research in Geological Resources, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME), Madrid, Spain
2 Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona. Royal Academy of Sciences, Madrid, Spain

Special Issues: Wetlands Protection and Restoration

There are 74 wetlands in Spain, most of which are groundwater-related, included in the Ramsar Convention. This means that groundwater is one of several components involved in how these wetlands function. This paper analyses the ecosystem services provided by 59 groundwater-related Ramsar wetlands, and this assessment is both of the services provided by the wetlands and of the impact of drivers of change. The results show that a significant number of ecosystem services are provided at a high level, in contrast to the large number of services identified as non-existent or the small number of services identified as unknown. The trend of the ecosystem services evolution is shown to be predominantly continuing. Thus, in the majority of the ecosystem services assessed there is no change in performance level. Comparing the impact level of the seven main types of drivers of change considered in this research, non-existent is the most frequently reported result for almost all drivers. Nevertheless, these results do not reflect the current reality as they highlight the need to improve the basic data to achieve a satisfactory understanding of the interactions between wetlands-groundwater-human wellbeing, which are crucially important for the conservation, management and valuation of this natural capital.
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