Consequences of lake and river ice loss on cultural ecosystem services

Lesley B. Knoll, Sapna Sharma, Blaize A. Denfeld, Giovanna Flaim, Yukari Hori, John J. Magnuson, Dietmar Straile, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


People extensively use lakes and rivers covered by seasonal ice. Although ice cover duration has been declining over the past 150 years for Northern Hemisphere freshwaters, we know relatively little about how ice loss directly affects humans. Here, we synthesize the cultural ecosystem services (i.e., services that provide intangible or nonmaterial benefits) and associated benefits supported by inland ice. We also provide, for the first time, empirical examples that give quantitative evidence for a winter warming effect on a wide range of ice-related cultural ecosystem services and benefits. We show that in recent decades, warmer air temperatures delayed the opening date of winter ice roads and led to cancellations of spiritual ceremonies, outdoor ice skating races, and ice fishing tournaments. Additionally, our synthesis effort suggests unexploited data sets that allow for the use of integrative approaches to evaluate the interplay between inland ice loss and society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalLimnology and Oceanography Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work benefited from participation in the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), which provided a platform to develop the idea for this paper. Funding support for B.A.D. was provided by Kempestiftelserna.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Limnology and Oceanography published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.


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