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Received October 10, 2003,Revised December 26, 2003, Accepted , Available online

Volume 16,2004,Pages 755-761

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Freshwater ecosystems provide a host of services to humanity. These services are now rapidly being lost, not least because of the inability of making the impacts measurable. To overcome this obstacle, assessment frameworks for freshwater ecosystem services are needed. A simple water equivalent framework to assess the ecological services provided by freshwater ecosystems was developed in this study. It translated the occupation of freshwater ecosystem services into biologically freshwater volumes and then compares this consumption to the freshwater throughput, that is, the ecological capacity available in this region. In this way, we use the example of Yangzhou Prefecture, to account the main categories of human occupation of water ecosystem services. The result showed that there is a huge gap between the consumption and the supply of freshwater ecosystem services. This must encourage local government to make land-use and water management decisions both economically rational and environmentally sound.

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