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Brazilian Journal of Biology

Print version ISSN 1519-6984On-line version ISSN 1678-4375

Braz. J. Biol. vol.78 no.3 São Carlos Aug. 2018  Epub Nov 21, 2017 

Original Article

A characterization of ecosystem services, drivers and values of two watersheds in São Paulo State, Brazil

Caracterização dos serviços do ecossistema, valores e forçantes de duas bacias hidrográficas no estado de São Paulo, Brasil

N. A. Periottoa  * 

J. G. Tundisib 

aUniversidade Federal de São Carlos – UFSCar, Rodovia Washington Luís, s/n, CEP 13565-905, São Carlos, SP, Brazil

bInstituto Internacional de Ecologia – IIE, Rua Bento Carlos, 750, CEP 13560-660, São Carlos, SP, Brazil


The evaluation of ecosystem services is a tool to raise awareness about benefits of ecosystem functions for human well-being. In Brazil, few studies and reports assess ecosystem services in a watershed context. The aim of this paper is to fill this gap by assessing ecosystem services of Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds (São Paulo State, Brazil) in a temporal scale of 10 years. Land cover and uses’ capacity to provide ecosystem services and drivers were assessed as a result of mapping these areas. Economic values were estimated based on literature information. Results showed that cultivated and managed terrestrial areas stands out over other areas and then, regulation and maintenance services are reduced in these areas. Wetlands and natural vegetation, with smaller areas, are important for the supply of regulation and maintenance services of both watersheds and economic values indicate the magnitude of degradation or maintenance/restoration.

Keywords:  Jacaré-Guaçu; Jacaré-Pepira; wetlands; native vegetation; ecosystem services


A avaliação dos serviços do ecossistema é uma ferramenta utilizada na conscientização sobre os benefícios das funções e serviços dos ecossistemas para o bem-estar humano, bem como a importância da sua conservação. No Brasil, existem poucos estudos que avaliam serviços ecossistêmicos no contexto das bacias hidrográficas. O objetivo deste trabalho é preencher esta lacuna por meio da avaliação dos serviços ecossistêmicos das bacias hidrográficas dos Rios Jacaré-Guaçu e Jacaré-Pepira (estado de São Paulo, Brasil) em uma escala temporal de 10 anos. A capacidade da cobertura e uso da terra em prover serviços ecossistêmicos e as forçantes foram avaliadas como resultado do mapeamento destas áreas. Valores econômicos foram estimados com base em dados de literatura científica. Os resultados mostraram que as áreas terrestres cultivadas e manejadas se destacam em relação aos outros usos e por isto, os serviços de regulação e manutenção são diminuídos nestas áreas. Áreas alagadas e de vegetação nativa, com áreas menores, têm papel fundamental no suprimento dos serviços de regulação e manutenção e, portanto, devem ser recuperadas e protegidas. Demografia e atividades econômicas na bacia foram identificadas como as principais forçantes que atuam sobre os serviços do ecossistema das áreas de vegetação nativa e áreas alagadas. Os valores econômicos estimados mostram, independente dos valores de base adotados, a magnitude dos impactos antrópicos que modificam estes ecossistemas, e dos ganhos referentes à recuperação e conservação dos mesmos.

Palavras-chave:  Jacaré-Guaçu; Jacaré-Pepira; áreas alagadas; vegetação nativa; serviços do ecossistema

1. Introduction

The evaluation of ecosystem services and drivers that influence their supply for society, as well as estimates of their economic values, are tools to raise awareness about the benefits of ecosystem functions for human well-being and the importance of protecting and restoring native ecosystems.

The significance of identifying and valuing ecosystem services has been widely acknowledged in literature. Costanza et al. (1997, 2014) and Groot et al. (2012) compiled information through literature review to identify and estimate the global value of ecosystem services. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA, 2005) highlighted the influence of drivers on ecosystem services changes. Other influential publications proposed typologies of classification and frameworks to assess ecosystem services (Groot et al., 2002; Freeman et al., 2003; Stern, 2007; Wallace, 2007; Costanza et al., 2016). Haines-Young and Potschin (2013), proposed the Common International Classification of Ecosystems Services (CICES), which unifies all existing typologies to enhance the quality of comparisons between worldwide assessments.

In Brazil, researches have been carried out primarily on local and regional identification of effects of intensifying agriculture in ecosystem services provided by biodiversity (Borner et al., 2007; Foley et al., 2007; Galetti et al., 2010; Balvanera et al., 2012), but few studies evaluate ecosystem services in a watershed context (Seidl and Moraes, 2000; Agostinho et al., 2010; Periotto and Tundisi, 2013; Tundisi and Matsumura-Tundisi, 2016). In addition, although overall environmental, social and economic situation of hydrographic basins is annually reported by watershed committees, there is lack of publications regarding ecosystem services in these management units. This paper attempts to fill this this gap in the literature by making an overall assessment of ecosystem services of Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds (São Paulo State, Brazil) in a temporal scale of 10 years.

2. Methods

2.1. Study area description

Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds are located in the middle of São Paulo State, Brazil. They compose two of the six sub basins and comprise the three main rivers of the Tietê-Jacaré Hydrographic Basin (Figure 1):

Figure 1 Location of Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds, in São Paulo State, Brazil. 

    a. Jacaré-Guaçu River, which runs through Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed, is born where Feijão River joins Lobo River, below Carlos Botelho (Lobo/Broa) Reservoir (Itirapina Municipality);

    b. Jacaré-Pepira River, which runs through Jacaré-Pepira Watershed, is born in Itaqueri Mountain, between Brotas and São Pedro Municipalities;

    c. Tietê River, which passes through both basins. Its waterway, Tietê-Paraná, is very important for national economy for the transport and distribution of agricultural production.

Both watersheds cover 22 municipalities. Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed encompasses Analândia, Araraquara, Gavião Peixoto, Ibaté, Matão, Nova Europa, São Carlos, Tabatinga. Jacaré-Pepira Watershed covers Bariri, Bocaina, Dois Córregos, Itaju, Jaú, Torrinha and São Pedro. Some municipalities are located in both watersheds as Ibitinga, Boa Esperança do Sul, Trabijú, Dourado, Ribeirão Bonito, Brotas and Itirapina. Among the mentioned municipalities, Ibitinga, Tabatinga, Matão, Araraquara, Ibaté, São Carlos, Analândia, Itirapina, São Pedro, Torrinha, Dois Córregos, Jaú, Bocaina, Bariri and Itajú are not totally inserted in the watersheds boundaries.

Three dams for hydroelectric power generation are present. Ibitinga Hydroelectric Power Plant (UHE), UHE Bariri and UHE Carlos Botelho (Lobo/Broa). UHE Ibitinga is owned by AES Tietê S/A, an independent energy producer, with generating capacity of 131,490 MW (ANEEL, 2013). It is located at the middle portion of Tietê River, between Ibitinga and Iacanga Municipalities, downstream UHE Bariri. UHE Bariri is also owned by AES Tietê S/A, with generating capacity of 136,8 MW (ANEEL, 2013). It is located upstream UHE Ibitinga and downstream UHE Barra Bonita. Carlos Botelho (Lobo Broa) UHE is located in Jacaré-Guaçú Watershed. It is a small scale energy producer, owned by Aratu Geração S/A, with generating capacity of 2 MW (Matos, 2012).

There are important Conservation Units in Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds (Table 1). Ibitinga Environmental Protection Area protects two large wetlands of Jacaré-Guaçú and Jacaré-Pepira Rivers. Corumbataí/Botucatú-Tejupá Environmental Protection Area also protects important wetlands of Lobo Stream and Itaqueri Stream.

Table 1 Conservation Units in Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds. Total area (ha) corresponds to the total area of the Conservation Unit, which includes areas in adjacent watersheds. 

Conservation Unit (UC) Total area (ha) Municipalities
State Environmental Protection Area -
/Tejupá (Corumbataí area)
272,692 Brotas,
Dois Córregos,
São Carlos,
Ibitinga State Environmental Protection Area 64,900 Ibitinga
Mírim (AREA I) State Environmental Protection Area
107,000 Itirapina
Itirapina Ecological Station 2,300 Itirapina, Brotas
Itirapina Experimental Station 3,212 Itirapina, Brotas
Mata do Jacaré Ecological Station 75,26 Brotas
Amadeu Botelho Ecological Reserve (Natural Heritage Private Reserve) 190 Jaú

2.2. Identification of land cover and use

In order to evaluate ecosystem services and drivers of change in 2004 and 2014, land cover and uses were identified for the areas of the 22 municipalities inserted in the watersheds boundaries.

For this purpose, orthorectified images were downloaded from United States Geological Service (USGS, 2016a, b) (Table 2). The compositions of spectral band used were 3B-4G-5R for images of sensor TM (Landsat 5) and 4B-5G-6R for images of sensor OLI (Landsat 8).

Table 2 Date of acquisition of orthorectified images (day/month/year). 

Orbit/point Landsat 5 Landsat 8
220/75 30/08/2004 11/09/2014
220/76 30/08/2004 11/09/2014
221/75 21/08/2004 01/08/2014

The classification of land cover and use was carried out using manual mode of vectorization of the USGS images, with ArcGis software (ESRI, 2014). SIRGAS 2000 Datum and UTM zone 22 S projection were applied to the maps.

2.3. Evaluation of ecosystems services and drivers of change

The identification of land cover and uses enabled the organization of a matrix of land cover and uses capacity to provide ecosystem services, based on Burkhard et al. (2009) and the Common International Classification of Ecosystems Services (CICES) (Haines-Young and Potschin, 2013). Values were assigned for each land capacity with the following criteria: (0) no relevant capacity, (1) low relevant capacity, (2) relevant capacity, (3) high relevant capacity. Values were attributed based on scientific knowledge on ecological processes in each land cover and use. From this matrix, the main drivers of change of ecosystem services were assessed.

2.4. Estimates of ecosystem services values of wetlands and native vegetation

Due to the contribution of wetlands and native vegetation in providing water quality and quantity for the population of Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds, estimates of values were made by value transfer method based on literature about the valuation of these ecosystems. Native vegetation values were calculated according to “forest” values of Costanza et al. (2014) and wetlands values were based on Seidl and Moraes (2000), Carvalho (2007) and Costanza et al. (2014) (Table 3). All base values from different years were equalized by multiplication for Consumer Price Index (CPI) conversion factor equal to 1,38 (referring to the year of 2007), as used by Costanza et al. (2014).

Table 3 Reference values (US$.ha.year-1) for ecosystem services estimates. 

Carvalho (2007) Seidl and Moraes (2000) Costanza et al. (2014)
Costanza et al. (1997) Groot et al. (2012)
Native vegetation - - 1,338.00 3,800.00
Wetland 1,600.00 5,839.72 20,404.00 140,174.00

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Land cover and use

Land cover and uses identified are shown in Figures 2 to 5. All land cover and uses identified were grouped into 5 categories (adapted from Di Gregorio and Jansen, 2005) and are displayed in Table 4.

Figure 2 Land cover and use in Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed, in 2004. 

Figure 3 Land cover and use in Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed, in 2014. 

Figure 4 Land cover and use in Jacaré-Pepira Watershed in 2004. 

Figure 5 Land cover and use in Jacaré-Pepira Watershed in 2014. 

Table 4 Categories of classification of land cover and use identified in Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds. 

Categories Land cover and use
Native vegetation Semidecidual Seasonal Forest and Cerrado
Wetland Floodplain area
Cultivated and managed terrestrial area Pasture, annual crop, permanent crop, exposed soil, forestry and mining
Artificial surface Industry, urban fabric, rural infrastructure and road network
Water body Rivers, reservoirs and other water bodies

It can be observed in 2004 and 2014 a predominance of cultivated and managed terrestrial areas over other categories in both watersheds. Tables 5 and 6 show approximate changes, in hectares and percentage, in land cover areas in 2004 and 2014. Although native vegetation (the second largest land cover area) occupies almost 20% of each watershed area, it can be observed in land cover maps (Figures 2 to 5) that it is fragmented, possibly negatively impacting biodiversity and ecosystem services of these areas.

Table 5 Approximate changes in land cover areas (ha and %) of Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed, between 2004 and 2014. Negative values represent losses in area. 

Jacaré-Guaçu 2004 (ha) 2014 (ha) 2014-2004 (ha) 2014-2004 (%)
Native Vegetation 77.585 79.313 1.728 2.2
Wetland 7.948 9.031 1.083 13.6
Water body 4.025 3.829 -196 -4.8
Cultivated and managed terrestrial area 305.460 299.476 -5.984 -1.9
Artificial surface 21.531 24.900 3.369 15.6

Table 6 Approximate changes in land cover areas (ha and %) of Jacaré-Pepira Watershed, between 2004 and 2014. Negative values represent losses in area. 

Jacaré-Pepira 2004 (ha) 2014 (ha) 2014-2004 (ha) 2014-2004 (%)
Native Vegetation 56,152 57,068 916 1,6
Wetland 3,846 3,480 -366 -9,5
Water body 2,506 2,493 -13 -0,5
Cultivated and managed terrestrial area 200,060 198,852 -1,208 -0,6
Artificial surface 3,719 4,390 671 18,0

There were increases in native vegetation (2.2%) and wetlands (13.6%) areas, as well as in artificial surfaces (15.6%) in Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed. In Jacaré-Pepira Watershed, there were also increases in native vegetation (1.6%) and artificial surfaces (18.0%). Decreases observed in Jacaré-Pepira wetlands areas may be due to a decline in annual rainfall in 2014 (1,117.7 mm) compared to 2004 (1,615.6 mm) (INMET, 2016).

3.2. Ecosystems services and drivers of change

Land cover and use maps made possible the assessment of ecosystem services. Identifying ecosystem services is a good approach to list the contribution of ecosystems to society. As both watersheds presented similar land cover and uses in both years, a single preliminary matrix of provision capacities was organized (Table 7). Twenty-nine (29) ecosystem services were identified and values of capacity (from 0 to 3) were assigned based on scientific knowledge on the functioning of the studied ecosystems.

Table 7 Matrix of land cover and uses capacities to provide ecosystem services in Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds.  

Land Cover and Use Provisioning Services Crops Reared animals and their outputs Wild animals and their outputs Animals from in-situ aquaculture Surface water Fibers and other materials from plants and animals for direct use or processing Genetic materials for all biota Renewable abiotic energy sources Abiotic materials Regulation and Maintenance Services Filtration/sequestration/storage/accumulation by ecosystems Dilution by freshawater ecosystems Mass stabilisation and control of erosion rates Buffering and attenuation of mass flows Mediation of smell/noise/visual impacts Hydrological cycle and water flow maintenance Flood protection Pollination and seed dispersal Maintaining nursery populations and habitats Pest control Soil formation and composition Decomposition and fixing processes (biogeochemical cycling) Maintenance/buffering of freshwater chemical conditions Global climate regulation by reduction of greenhouse gas concentrations Regulation of local and regional climate Cultural Services Physical interaction - recreation Scientific and educational Aesthetic Existence Transportation TOTAL
Native Vegetation Semidecidual Seasonal Forest and Cerrado 9 0 0 3 0 0 3 3 0 0 39 3 0 3 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 12 3 3 3 3 0 60
Wetland Floodplain areas 11 0 0 3 0 2 3 3 0 0 43 3 3 3 3 1 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 12 3 3 3 3 0 66
Cultivated and Managed Terrestrial Area Pasture 4 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1 3 1 0 0 12
Annual crops 7 3 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 10 2 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0 3 1 0 0 21
Perennial crops 7 3 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 10 2 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0 3 1 0 0 21
Exposed soil 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 7
Forestry 5 0 0 1 0 0 3 1 0 0 12 2 0 1 0 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0 3 1 0 0 21
Mining 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 6
Artificial Surface Industry 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 3
Urban fabric 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 3 3 0 0 0 6
Rural infrastructure 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 3
Road network 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 3
Waterbody Rivers, reservoirs and other water bodies 18 0 0 3 3 3 3 3 3 0 30 3 3 0 2 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 3 3 1 3 15 3 3 3 3 3 63
TOTAL 65 6 3 10 3 5 18 14 3 3 150 19 6 10 5 9 12 12 13 12 6 6 9 9 10 12 77 13 36 13 9 6

0=no relevant capacity; 1=low relevant capacity; 2=relevant capacity; 3=high relevant capacity.

Native vegetation, wetlands and water bodies were land covers with the greatest capacities of providing different ecosystem services. Cultivated and managed terrestrial areas had high scores in provisioning services, while artificial surfaces showed the lowest scores of all land covers ad uses.

Regulation and maintenance services, although being of indirect use, was the ecosystem service group with the highest score, mainly in native vegetation, wetlands and water body areas. However, some land covers did not punctuate in this group, for instance, artificial surfaces. On the other hand, all land cover and uses punctuated in cultural services, showing the importance of nonmaterial benefits of these areas.

Although the qualitative results of this matrix are preliminary, they may help in planning and decision-making of land management. They also give an overview of the dependence of some components of artificial surfaces on natural and managed ecosystems. In this context, not only temporal scale must be taken into account, but also spatial scale, as well as the relationships among ecosystem services (Bennett et al., 2009). An urban region requires a much larger land area than its borders to supply residents with ecosystem goods and services (Rees, 1992), then increases in artificial surface - which includes urban areas – and in population number may indicate that there might have been increases in human pressures over goods and services of adjacent ecosystems, for example, in the form of higher demands of drinking water and disposal of wastewater.

To supply higher demands, ecosystems that provide water and wastewater treatment, such as natural vegetation and wetlands, respectively, must be conserved or even restored. It can be observed in Figures 2 to 5 that riparian forests in Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds are in inadequate size to guarantee quality and quantity of water for the municipalities’ population. Rodrigues-Filho et al. (2015) reported that riparian forests widths in Lobo Watershed (a subbasin of Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed) are in reduced size and additional losses in riparian areas would compromise ecosystem services and the quality of waterbodies, which were already classified as mesotrophic by Lamparelli (2004). Matheus and Tundisi (1988) found that riparian vegetation density directly influences chemical parameters of waterbodies in Itaqueri and Lobo Watersheds (inside Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed). Therefore, it is evident that ecosystem services provided by riparian vegetation are crucial for water quality and that there is urgency to recover and protect these areas in both watersheds.

Further, non-punctual disposal of nutrients along the watersheds, coming from agricultural practices, for instance, may overload wetlands capacity to recycle nutrients (biogeochemical cycles) and buffer freshwater chemical condition. Protecting/recovering natural vegetation and wetlands maintain/improve all ecosystem services linked to the hydrological cycle, for human well-being (Bullock and Acreman, 2003; Tundisi and Matsumura-Tundisi, 2010). This includes availability of water for abiotic services as hydropower generation in both watersheds.

Cultivated and managed terrestrial areas, with conventional cropping systems in Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds, are planned to maximize the production of provisioning services, characterized mainly by annual crops (sugar cane) and perennial crops (orange plantations), as observed in field trips and satellite images. On the other hand, it is noted in Table 7 that this optimization may cause declines in regulation and maintenance services that would be crucial for its self-maintenance. As a result, agricultural inputs as fertilizers, soil correctives and pesticides, are needed to sustain the crops. Alternative plantation techniques, such as green fertilizing (Ambrosano et al., 2011), by crop rotation with legumes, would improve sugar cane production (provisioning services) and restore some regulation and maintenance services in these areas, since legumes would replace exposed soil during between-harvest periods and enrich soil. Such alternative practice may also protect wetlands and waterbodies’ ecosystem services by preventing runoff of nutrients and sediments into these systems. Enhancing and protecting ecosystem services in both managed and natural areas leads to a “win-win situation” with ecological, economic and social benefits (Groot et al., 2010).

In light of this context, main direct and indirect drivers of change on ecosystem services identified are summarized in Figure 6. Increases in demography may lead to changes in demands of ecosystem services and then, intensification of economic activities. As a result, intensive uses of land, with conventional planting techniques, for example, may cause massive deforestation and runoff of nutrients and sediments into waterbodies. Massive deforestation may also causes losses in biodiversity needed to sustain ecosystem services in the watersheds.

Figure 6 Influence of main direct and indirect drivers on the provision of multiple ecosystem services, in Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds. 

Besides identifying services and their drivers, valuing is also an effective tool to raise awareness about the magnitude of the benefits that ecosystem services provide to human beings and to capture these values in decision-making processes. Also, economic values reflect gains and losses in ecosystem services caused by drivers.

Economic values of wetlands and natural vegetation’s ecosystem services are shown in Tables 8 and 9. The first column shows values based on Carvalho (2007), who considers two methodologies that reflect individual choices (Willingness to Pay) and income (Travel Costs). The second column with values based on Seidl and Moraes (2000), refers to a local re-estimative of Costanza et al. (1997) values in a Brazilian wetland area. Third and fourth columns indicate values found in Costanza et al. (2014) who updates values of global values of ecosystems services found in Costanza et al. (1997) and Groot et al. (2012).

Table 8 Economic values of wetland and natural vegetation of Jacaré-Guaçu Watershed. Values are in 2007 American dollars. 

(A)Carvalho (2007) (B)Seidl and Moraes (2000) (C)Costanza et al. (2014)
(c.1)Costanza et al. (1997) (c.2)Groot et al. (2012)
Wetlands 2004 (U$/year) 17,550,198.13 64,055,151.89 162,180,363.52 1,114,167,333.64
2014 (U$/year) 19,940,614.68 72,779,753.97 184,270,064.26 1,265,921,975.45
Natural vegetation 2004 (U$/year) 103,808,532.61 294,822,439.41
2014 (U$/year) 106,120,336.99 301,388,102.06

Table 9 Economic values of wetland and natural vegetation of Jacaré-Pepira Watershed. Values are in 2007 American dollars. 

(A)Carvalho (2007) (B)Seidl and Moraes (2000) (C)Costanza et al. (2014)
(c.1)Costanza et al. (1997) (c.2)Carvalho (2007)
Wetlands 2004 (U$/year) 8,491,622.83 30,992,937.28 78,470,594.26 539,087,290.74
2014 (U$/year) 7,684,488.48 28,047,038.15 71,011,912.53 487,846,688.26
Natural vegetation 2004 (U$/year) 75,131,039.21 213,376,643.49
2014 (U$/year) 76,357,376.57 216,859,514.92

Increases in values of wetlands and natural vegetation’s ecosystem services from 2004 to 2014 are observed as a consequence of (1) increases in total areas of these systems, with exception of wetlands in Jacaré-Pepira Watershed, according to our land use results; (2) base values used in value transfer estimates, resulted from application of different methodologies, considering few ecosystem services and individual perception of value (Tables 8 and 9, A), or a greater number of ecosystem services applied locally (Tables 8 and 9, B) and globally (Tables 8 and 9, C); and (3) base values resulting from new updated values resulted from extensive studies with more precise quantification (Tables 8 and 9, c.1 and c.2).

The decrease in economic values of wetlands in Jacaré-Pepira Watershed may be due to the abnormal drought period in 2014 that probably reduced wetlands area in this watershed. Drops in values indicate losses in the flux of ecosystem services for society in this period.

Values in Tables 8 and 9 clearly demonstrate the potential economic value of the remaining natural vegetation and wetlands of both watersheds, independently of base values used. It is evident that these values could rise if riparian vegetation and mosaics of natural vegetation were recovered and more protection areas were created.

4. Conclusions

The main land cover and use of Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds in 2004 and 2014 are cultivated and managed terrestrial areas, which are designed to supply society with provisioning services, but provide few regulation and maintenance services, crucial for human well-being. Regulation and maintenance services are mostly found in native vegetation, wetlands and waterbodies, but they may be affected by drivers as demography and economic activities. Alternative management of land uses may enhance regulation and maintenance services in cultivated and managed terrestrial areas and protect ecosystem services of native areas.

Economic values demonstrate the potential economic value of the remaining native vegetation and wetlands of Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds and the magnitude of gains and losses if these ecosystems are protected/recovered or degraded.

Results highlight that the management of Jacaré-Guaçu and Jacaré-Pepira Watersheds must consider the interrelations between social and environmental aspects. While there is high anthropic demand on provisioning ecosystem services, there is also the urgency to restore and protect native vegetation components that provide indirect use services, such as regulation and maintenance ones that guarantee the continuity of provisioning services. Consequently, it is relevant to recover and protect native vegetation in both watersheds, mainly in riparian areas, which guarantees water availability that sustain provisioning services (crops). It is also important to implement alternative land management practices in the surrounding areas of wetlands, since current agricultural practices directly impact in a negative way the flux and provision of ecosystem services.


The research for this paper was financially supported by The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), process number 2012/12991-9. We thank Camila Francisco Gonçalves and Rômulo Theodoro Costa for assistance with land cover and use mapping.

(With 6 figures)


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Received: July 07, 2016; Accepted: March 08, 2017

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