Ecosystem Services Program Focal Areas

National Ecosystem Services Partnership

The National Ecosystem Services Partnership (NESP) engages both public and private individuals and organizations to enhance collaboration within the ecosystem services community and to strengthen coordination of policy and market implementation and research at the national level. NESP is an initiative of Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and was developed with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and with donations of expertise and time from many public and private institutions.

Bridge Collaborative

The Bridge Collaborative envisions the global health, development and environment communities jointly solving today’s complex, interconnected challenges. Duke University is a partner in the Bridge Collaborative, which is inspiring a community of leaders and practitioners from across disciplines, sectors and perspectives to develop a shared evidence base for solutions that bridge development and environmental sustainability.

Making Environmental Markets Work

Environmental markets are focused on a broad range of challenges—from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to providing incentives for the restoration and protection of forests to improving water quality. The Nicholas Institute is examining the use of market-based approaches in a number of areas, including wateragricultureforestrycoastal habitats.

Efficient and Sustainable Agricultural Production

Agricultural production must continue to rise to meet the demands of a growing global population. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions explores how this can be achieved while also reducing negative environmental consequences to water quality and climate.

Protecting and Restoring Watersheds

Healthy watersheds provide habitats for wildlife, clean drinking water, resilient coastal fisheries and communities, and a setting for recreational activities. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions is exploring innovative and traditional approaches to address watershed challenges, including sediment and nutrient pollution and degraded or impaired habitats. 

Ecosystem Services and Private Land Management

Managers and practitioners working at a landscape scale are beginning to incorporate ecosystem services on private lands into their conservation planning. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions is working with partners and stakeholders to facilitate this Ecosystem Services integration.

Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Service Logic Models & Socio-Economic Indicators (GEMS)

Billions of dollars will be spent on large-scale restoration of Gulf ecosystems over the coming decades, but there is no shared platform to guide assessment and reporting of restoration progress and effectiveness for the broad set of environmental, social, and economic goals shared by the many institutions working in the Gulf. The diversity of these goals—including habitat restoration, water quality improvement, marine resource protection, community resilience, and economic revitalization—means that a variety of metrics are needed to fully evaluate the effectiveness of restoration projects. A set of common models and metrics relevant across projects, programs, and locations can facilitate effective project planning and evaluation.