Resources Science ›› 2019, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (7): 1189-1200.doi: 10.18402/resci.2019.07.01

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Classification of ecosystem services and a reclassification framework of watershed ecosystem services

Yang LIU1,2(), Jun BI3, Jianshu LV4   

  1. 1. Business School, University of Jinan, Jinan 250002, China
    2. Shandong Longshan Green Economic Research Center, Jinan 250002, China
    3. School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210046, China
    4. School of Geography and Environment, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
  • Received:2018-03-19 Revised:2018-05-28 Online:2019-07-25 Published:2019-07-25


Application of ecosystem service theory to management practice is an important trend of research. Such application depends on the classification system of ecosystem services that meets human management needs. This article reviewed international and Chinese classifications of ecosystem services, and found that current works focus on the characteristics of ecosystem output and its correspondence to human benefits, but lack a system specific to a certain management target and conducive to human management decision. Therefore, based on water environment problems and management demands, this study developed a new classification system of ecosystem services suitable to water environment management at watershed scale, and discussed the similarities and differences with several other classifications. This proposed classification system took water environment health as the management target. According to the relationships with this target, ecosystem services were divided into three categories: direct services, indirect services, and ecological benefits. Direct services were defined as the ecosystem processes and functions that directly reflect the management target, and were measured by physical quantity. Indirect services were the processes and functions that support the achievement of the management target, and were quantified using multidisciplinary methods. Ecological benefits indicate the final effect of the management target and were calculated by valuation methods. This classification system can help identify and analyze critical ecosystem services in watersheds, which lays a foundation for subsequent simulation, mapping, and evaluation of ecosystem services.

Key words: ecosystem services, classification system, water environment management, water environmental health, watershed, benefit