Ecosystem Services Program News

Ecosystem Services Assessment: The Latest Development in the Evolution of Natural Resource Management

On behalf of the American public, federal agencies take many actions that influence ecosystem conditions and change the provision of ecosystem services valued by the public. To date, most decisions affecting ecosystems have relied on ecological assessments with little or no consideration of the value of ecosystem services. A new report by the National Ecosystem Services Partnership at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions recommends best practices for integrating ecosystem services into federal decision-making processes. Lead author Lydia Olander discusses how these practices help ensure that nature’s benefits to people are fairly considered.

Read Full Story

Nature and People: How Can the U.S. Federal Government Put Them Together?

U.S. federal agencies have wide ranging mandates, and many of them significantly affect the nation’s natural resources from the air we breathe and the water we drink and recreate in to the wild animals and scenic places we love. Often there are difficult trade-offs to be considered where one of these benefits is enhanced while another is reduced. Agencies have yet to ensure that the full range of benefits nature provides to people, also called ecosystem services, are fairly considered in their decisions. In a Cool Green Science blog post, authors Lydia Olander and Heather Tallis say the good news is that over the last couple of years several agencies have made bold moves to incorporate the full extent of nature’s value into their decisions. Now, their new report provides recommendations on ecosystem service assessment best practices for federal decision making.

Read Full Story

Researcher Named to Prestigious Environmental Board

DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Lydia Olander was sworn in to serve a three-year term with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board this week.

Read Full Story

Galik to Discuss the Future of Environmental Resource Management on 90.7 FM

Christopher Galik, a senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will appear on the show “The Measure of Everyday Life” on WNCU 90.7 FM at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 31. Galik, whose work looks at issues surrounding on-the-ground implementation of climate and low-carbon energy policy, will discuss forest management and the future of environmental resource management.

Read Full Story

Get the Science Right to Value Nature

An international group of scientists, industry representatives and policymakers wants to set guidelines for the science behind valuing nature. The group, which includes the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Lydia Olander, has published new guidelines in the latest edition of Science on how to value the benefits and services that nature provides, known as ecosystem services.

Read Full Story

Our Impact: Guidebook Facilitates Ecosystem Services Assessment

A few years ago, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a handful of other federal agencies began exploring methods to robustly evaluate how natural resource management choices affect things people care about and to clearly communicate those connections to the public. Ecosystem services assessment offers an answer if communication, consistency and capacity issues among practitioners need to be resolved.

Read Full Story

Guidebook Focuses on Ecosystem Service Approach to Decision-Making

A new online resource, the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook, helps resource managers account for the benefits nature provides, such as the coastal protection offered by oyster beds or carbon sequestered in soils that help to stabilize climate.

Read Full Story

Protected Areas: Much More Than Pristine Nature

In a blog for the Huffington Post, Advisory Board member Mark Tercek considered the commitments made at the once-a-decade World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, and highlighted the benefits of protected areas. “Protecting biodiversity remains at the very core of every conservation strategy in our toolbox. But protected areas also do much more. From improving food and water security to reducing the impacts of climate change, well-planned and managed protected areas can provide important benefits to people too.”

Read Full Story

Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services into Decision Making

In a guest editorial for the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Ecosystem Services Program director Lydia Olander and her coauthor identify several efforts to bring consistency to methods for incorporating ecosystem services concepts into environmental decision making, including the National Ecosystem Services Partnership’s Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook.

Read Full Story

Climate Panel Issues Dire Report as Renewables Make Little Impact

The latest comprehensive global scientific assessment of climate change, released on Sunday, sounds the direst warning yet about the need to drastically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But despite years of such reports, fossil-fuel use and human-caused emissions continue to rise, and renewable energy technologies have so far failed to make a significant difference. Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, comments in this MIT Technology Review article.

Read Full Story

Pages