Fish, Fishing, and Ecosystem Services and Dysfunctions in the New River


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New River Symposium


This paper reviews the selected ecosystem services provided by New River to riverside communities. I also highlight threats to sustaining these services and dysfunctions and possibilities for restoration. A framework of ecosystem services is useful for examining threats to future sustainability. These services include four broad categories: provisioning, such as the production of food and water; regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits. Present day threats to New River ecosystem services include dams, legacy pollutants, non-native plants and animals, and agricultural runoff. Social justice issues are too often ignored in present management paradigms and we forget to ask, “What do we care about?” If we care about human well-being, it is important that we foster more effective collaborations with the people whose well-being is to be assessed.