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News Release


March 19, 2014
Heidi  Koontz 303-202-4763 hkoontz@usgs.gov

Technical Announcement:
How Valuable is Nature?

A New Strategy to Assess Human-Nature Relationships


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A new method of viewing how humans and the natural environment impact each other is now available. ARIES (Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services), one of the first methods to seamlessly integrate spatial data, modeling, and mapping, adopts a convention for evaluating ecosystem services that places society’s needs and natural processes on equal footing. 

A new U.S. Geological Survey article published recently in PLOS ONE outlines the ARIES framework and how it can aid in better understanding nature’s value to society — today and under future scenarios for climate and land use change, energy and minerals extraction, water resources management, natural hazard impacts, and natural resource conservation. 

"This methodological advance is designed to integrate diverse data and models more quickly and accurately, using principles from semantic meta-modeling and big data," said Ken Bagstad, USGS researcher and contributing author of the paper. "This is not just another tool for environmental assessment, but rather a new and different way to look at the linkages between people, nature, and the economy." 

The ARIES methodology has been in development since 2007 and used in case studies since 2010. A variety of government and academic partners have contributed to its development, including the USGS, Basque Centre for Climate Change, University of Vermont, Conservation International and Earth Economics. 


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