Employing an Ecosystem Services Framework to Deliver Decision Ready Science

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In the November 25th issue of Advances in Ecological and Environmental Research, the Science and Decisions Center has an article entitled "Employing an Ecosystem Services Framework to Deliver Decision Ready Science". Written by Emily Pindilli, Dianna Hogan, and Zhiliang Zhu.

Picture of trees within and along the edges of Lake Drummond.

Photograph of Lake Drummond, which is located within the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia. (Credit: Miriam Jones, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

     Public land managers have limited information to allow for the integration and balancing of multiple objectives in land management decisions including the social (cultural and health), economic (monetary and nonmonetary), and environmental aspects.  In this article, we document an approach to consider the many facets of decision making by incorporating them into a decision context using an ecosystem services framework. 

   This analysis is based on a multi-partner project led by the US Geological Survey and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to provide land management decision support for the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  An ecosystem services framework was deployed to allow for the integration and balancing of multiple objectives including the social (cultural and health), economic (monetary and nonmonetary), and environmental aspects of land management. The integrated ecologic-economic analysis of baseline (current) and potential future quantities, qualities, and values of selected ecosystem services from the Refuge is synthesized in the current journal article. Alternative management scenarios are modeled to consider the impact of specific management actions or natural disturbances on priority ecosystem services. We examine the benefits and challenges of using an ecosystem services framework. Key lessons learned from this effort include the mismatch in timing between physical and social science; the challenge of integrating methods from multiple disciplines; the importance of frequent communication to overcome siloed research; and the utility of an integrating framework for ecosystem services and supporting tools such as the dynamic ecosystem model.

More information: http://www.ss-pub.org/journals/aeer/vol-4/vol-4-issue-11-november-2019/