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Framework for a more balanced consideration of hydropower development through ecosystem services assessment

First Author: Fang Z
Abstract: Hydropower is a controversial form of clean energy, as it may cause negative impacts on ecosystems. Here we propose a framework associated with ecosystem services (ESs) assessment for a more balanced consideration of hydropower development and to take measures to mitigate trade-offs among different objectives. We applied this framework in a case study evaluation in China's Yalong river basin, using the InVEST platform for the spatial quantification of ESs in three different periods of the hydropower development process (before construction, during construction, and during operation) and considering the interests of three key stakeholder groups (government, developer company, and general public). After controlling for climatic factors, hydropower-induced land use changes were the key factor affecting changes in ESs. Our results show that hydropower development in the Yalong river basin negatively impacted carbon storage and water purification during construction, mainly because of damage on the natural vegetation. Ecological restoration measures reduced negative impacts on ESs while increasing hydropower production. The ESs spatial model provided decision-making support for zoning policy, facilitating hydropower managers' capacity to prioritize their limited resources. For example, vegetation replanting should be implemented in hydropower areas after construction, and natural vegetation protection should be the highest priority in upstream ecologically fragile areas. This study presents a sustainable framework for analyzing ES changes associated to hydropower development. Appropriate measures should be taken to alleviate the hydropower impacts in China and elsewhere.
Contact the author: Bai Y
Page Number: 557-566
Impact Factor: 8.921
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PubYear: Sep 2022
Volume: 33
Publication Name: Sustainable Production and Consumption
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