3 years ago

Developing an integrated land use planning system on reclaimed wetlands of the Hungarian Plain using economic valuation of ecosystem services

The establishment of a sustainable land use system is crucial in Hungary (SE Europe) where 30% of croplands lie on former floodplains, and 40–45% of arable lands are drought-prone. We calculated and compared the monetary value of the main wetland ecosystem services, the profitability of land use and the additional costs of grain producer system on land at risk from groundwater inundation on the Hungarian Plain. We show that orchards and forestry generate a much higher profitability in former wetlands than cropland farming. Using the replacement cost method, we prove that the reservoir capacity of restored wetlands with an ecologically optimal 0.5m water depth could replace 2150€ha−1 flood protection investment cost. The calculated costs of protecting land under the two highest groundwater risk categories between 1999–2005 was 260.2€ha−1 y−1 and 104.1€ha−1 y−1, respectively. Although the flood protection benefits of former wetlands may provide an appropriate value base for restoration per se, combined with the potential advantages of land use change from cropland to forest in former wetlands and the carbon sequestration benefit provide ‘win-win’ solutions for land users and institutional actors interested in flood prevention, environmental protection and climate mitigation.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S2212041617302693

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