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, market implementation, and research at the national level.

The partnership 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 donations of expertise and time from many public and private institutions.

In partnership with a number of federal agencies, NESP developed an online guidebook for incorporating ecosystem services into agency planning processes. The guidebook describes what ecosystem services are and why they can be useful to federal resource managers and planners. In addition, it examines how federal agencies are exploring or applying this new concept and provides a framework and methodology that can help enhance consistency and credibility of it application.

NESP hopes that the guidebook will be a starting point for exploring integration of ecosystem services concepts into decision making. NESP continues to work with federal agencies to:

  • Test and refine the assessment approaches discussed in the guidebook
  • Update the examples presented in the guidebook
  • Explore opportunities to facilitate cross-agency or cross-sector collaborations on ecosystem services

In 2015, NESP brought together a number of acknowledged academic experts to build upon the methods outlined in the FRMES guidebook and identify best practices. The resulting paper outlines recommendations for best practices specific to ecosystem services assessment methods. A webinar providing an overview of this paper presented by Lydia Olander, Jimmy Kagan, and Rob Johnston is also available.

Who Is NESP?

The partnership is led by Lydia Olander, director of the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and it engages a diverse and variable group of experts, including federal agency staff, academics, NGO leaders, and practitioners.

Primary Advisors

The NESP advisory group evolves on the basis of the partnership’s advisory needs and current projects. The following list includes primary advisors as of May 2014:

  • Jim Boyd, Resources for the Future
  • Sally Collins, (Independent Consultant, formerly U.S. Forest Service)
  • Olivia Ferriter, U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Policy Analysis
  • Ellen Gilinsky, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water
  • Ted Maillett, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Federation
  • Linwood Pendleton, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
  • David Saah, The University of San Francisco and Spatial Informatics Group
  • Paul Sandifer, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy
  • Carl Shapiro and Frank Casey, United States Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Nikola Smith, U.S. Forest Service
  • Melanie Stansbury, White House Office of Management and Budget
  • Tony Tooke, U.S. Forest Service
  • Dean Urban, Duke University
  • Sara Vickerman, Defenders of Wildlife
  • Lisa Wainger, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
  • Rob Winthrop and Rebecca Moore, U.S. Bureau of Land Management

In addition to these advisors, there are many other contributors from federal agencies, academic institutions, consulting firms, and NGOs.