Where Do Ecosystem Services Come From? Assessing And Mapping Stakeholder Perceptions On Water Ecosystem Services In The Muga River Basin (Catalonia, Spain)


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Reductions in water availability and increasing rainfall variability are generating a narrative of growing competition for water in the Mediterranean basin. In this article, we explore the distribution and importance of water resources in the Muga River Basin (Catalonia, Spain) based on key stakeholders' perceptions. We performed a sociocultural evaluation of the main water ecosystem services in the region through stakeholder interviews and participatory mapping. The basin was generally perceived as a hotspot of ecosystem services, but we detected varying opinions and considerable differences in the perceptions of importance and spatial distribution of water ecosystem services. These discrepancies were linked to the varying levels of stakeholders' dependence on water. Our findings are important for contributing to correct water planning and management in the river basin, which is a complex water social system marked by conflicts between different stakeholder groups vying for the same resource. This complex situation requires bottom-up strategies to create transparent, participatory decision-making models.
socioecological systems, water ecosystem services, participatory mapping, stakeholder values, spatial analysis, river basin
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