• Employing an Ecosystem Services Framework to Deliver Decision Ready Science

    Emily Pindilli1, Dianna Hogan2, Zhiliang Zhu3

    1. U.S. Geological Survey, Science and Decisions Center, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia, 20192, USA.
    2. U.S. Geological Survey, Southeast Region, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia, 20192, USA.
    3. U.S. Geological Survey, Land Resources Program, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, Virginia, 20192, USA.

    Abstract: Public land managers have limited information to allow for 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. It is an integrated ecologic-economic analysis of baseline (current) and potential future quantities, qualities, and values of selected ecosystem services in the refuge. 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 this 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 such as ecosystem services and supporting tools such as the dynamic ecosystem model.

    Keywords: Ecosystem services, decision science, environmental economics, environmental management, carbon sequestration.

    Pages: 302 – 323 | Full PDF Paper