PhD Oral Defense of Kate Reilly, Bioresource Engineering
Dams across North America are coming to the end of their planned lifespans. Changing societal values and needs, safety concerns, and high maintenance costs are causing their removal to be increasingly considered. Both constructing and removing dams significantly change river ecology and hydrology, and therefore also the provision of ecosystem services. Such changes affect stakeholders differently, according to their needs, values and perceptions of ecosystem services. Understanding these differential impacts is important to ensure effective and equitable decision making, and as a basis for understanding and resolving any resulting conflict. The aims of this thesis, therefore, were to identify and analyse the social demand for ecosystem services, and analyse the extent to which social demand for ecosystem services underlies stakeholder conflict and how the concept of ecosystem services can be used for its resolution.