Focal Areas

Meetings and Webinars

June 26, 2019: Exploring Applications of Ecosystem Service Conceptual Models for Coastal Habitats

In this Collaborative Science for Estuaries webinar, Dr. Lydia Olander and Sara Mason of Duke University share their approach to using Ecosystem Service Conceptual Models as a framework to think about ecosystem services and how they can be considered within the NERRS. The presentation focuses on work with the North Carolina and Rookery Bay NERRs to develop models of oyster reef and mangrove ecosystem services, efforts to apply these models to specific restoration sites at these reserves, and use of the models as a way to think about standardized monitoring of ecosystem services outcomes across the NERRS network.

June 2019: Innovative Ways for States to Finance Agricultural Conservation Programs

Presenters Vincent Gauthier and John Feldmann discuss the findings of a masters thesis at Duke University focused on identifying state-level agricultural conservation programs with non-traditional financing mechanisms.

The study determined that innovative state agricultural conservation programs utilize transferable tax credits, revolving funds, double dividend fees and other funding and financing mechanisms that can result in greater environmental impact per dollar and don’t rely on regular appropriations of funds by state legislatures. Out of 90 state-level agricultural programs we identify 18 that utilize an innovative financing mechanism. We will highlight 4 of these programs and discuss how they could be implemented more broadly in other states.

April 2019: How Governments Can Boost Natural Capital Thinking for Better Decision-Making: Global Overview and Practical Examples

Presenters Martin Lok and Marta Santamaria from the Natural Capital Coalition  an international collaboration that unites the global natural capital community, present "How Governments Can Boost Natural Capital Thinking for Better Decision-Making: Global Overview and Practical Examples"  to highlight the progress and outcomes of the Government Dialogue on Natural Capital. Lok and Santamaria will provide an overview of the Coalition’s work with governments and corporations to better integrate natural capital into decision-making. Then hear about some real applications: Irene Alvarado Quesada, from the Central Bank of Costa Rica, will discuss how water accounting can help to inform decisions of a water company; and Sander de Bruyn (from CE Delft) and Leendert-Jan de Olde (from PHILIPS) will present the Dutch Environmental Prices Handbook and explain how PHILIPS used it to develop their Environmental Profit and Loss Accounts.

February 2019: Integrating Ecosystem Values Into Cost-Benefit Analysis at USAID

Aaron Bruner (Conservation Strategy Fund), Jenny Kane (USAID Office of Forestry and Biodiversity), and Paul Oliver (USAID Office of Economic Policy) present "Integrating Ecosystem Values Into Cost-Benefit Analysis at USAID." Ecosystems are fundamental to life on earth and provide goods and services that are critical to human well-being. Because ecosystem services are often unrecognized or difficult to value, however, they have not typically been considered in USAID-funded cost-benefit analyses. This puts USAID at risk of failing to identify key programming dependencies on natural ecosystems, or impacts on ecosystem services and development outcomes. Integrating ecosystem service valuations in CBAs at USAID offers an opportunity to identify and mitigate these impacts, and to design innovative programming that maintains and benefits from ecosystem services. To support this work, the USAID Offices of Forestry and Biodiversity and Economic Policy developed recommendations for including ecosystem service valuations into USAID CBAs, with the support of the USAID BRIDGE project and the Conservation Strategy Fund. This presentation describes these recommendations and the motivations that led to them.

September 2018: NESP's Conceptual Model Series

Series authors (Lydia Olander, Sara Mason and Katie Warnell) discuss the publications and go over key takeaways. Federal partners Frank Casey of the U.S. Geological Survey, Pete Wiley of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Rebecca Moore of the Bureau of Land Management will share their thoughts on how the products could be used by federal agencies and others. The Conceptual Model Series provides resources that explain why ecosystem services conceptual models (ESCMs) are useful for decision making. It provides guidance for building ESCMs and describes NESP’s initial efforts to standardize and apply these models with federal agency partners. The series aims to provide practical guidance for those who wish to apply ESCMs as a tool for incorporating ecosystem services considerations into their decisions. 

July 2018: Freshwater Health Index

Derek Vollmer of Conservation International presents on the Freshwater Health Index in the July 2018 National Ecosystem Services Partnership webinar. The Freshwater Health Index is a tool that measures ecosystem health by making clear connections between freshwater ecosystems, the services they provide to people, and the water governance system in place. During his presentation, Vollmer will discuss how the tool allows resource managers, engineers, policy makers, and other interested stakeholders to evaluate scenarios, understand tradeoffs, prioritize interventions, and communicate basin health. The webinar will also cover how this tool has been applied in various basins worldwide.

May 2018: Using the EcoService Models Library

In the National Ecosystem Services Partnership's May webinar, Tammy Newcomer-Johnson, ecologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development, will presents the EPA's new EcoService Models Library. This online database allows users to find, examine, and compare ecological models to estimate the production of ecosystem goods and services.
Additional Resources:

February 2018: Conservation International Rapid Ecosystem Services Assessments and Mapping

In February's National Ecosystem Services Partnership webinar, Rachel Neugarten, Conservation International’s director of Conservation Priority Setting, discusses the organization's approach to mapping important places for ecosystem services. The discussion includes how this approach informs conservation priority-setting for Conservation International, as well as trends in protected area spatial representation of ecosystem services in five countries.

Additional resources:

January 2018: Mapping Ecosystem Services in Maryland to Inform Decision Making

In January's National Ecosystem Services Partnership webinar, Elliott Campbell and Rachel Marks from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) discuss the DNR’s new online tool for ecosystem service quantification.

The tool, which will be housed on the Greenprint web mapper, displays spatial data on the biophysical and economic value of seven ecosystem services generated by forests and wetlands: carbon sequestration, nitrogen removal, air quality improvement, groundwater recharge, stormwater mitigation and flood prevention, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and surface water protection. Campbell and Marks describe the methodology for the models underlying the spatial variation in services as well as the “eco-price” valuation method, which estimates the value of ecosystem services by observing the breadth of ways we pay for benefits from the environment or compensate for the lack thereof. The state of Maryland is applying the tool to inform land acquisitions, ecological restoration targeting and funding, climate adaptation, and mitigation planning and is collaborating with partners in local government and the non-profit community to facilitate their use of the information.

Additional resources:

October 2017: Ecosystem Services and National Forest Policy

In response to growing interest in ecosystem services, the U.S. Forest Service is identifying needs and opportunities to incorporate an ecosystem services approach into its programs and activities. In this webinar, Robert Deal, Nikola Smith, and Jonas Epstein of the U.S. Forest Service discuss their report "Integrating Ecosystem Services into National Forest Service Policy and Operations." (Slides also available.)

August 2017: The Canadian Ecosystem Services Toolkit

In this webinar, Susan Preston of Environment and Climate Change Canada will discuss The Canadian Ecosystem Services Toolkit. Created on behalf of Canada's Federal-Provincial-Territorial governments' Value of Nature to Canadians Study Taskforce, the toolkit provides practical step-by-step advice on ecosystem services approaches; completing an ecosystem service assessment; understanding what the results of such an assessment mean; and incorporating ecosystem services analyses and considerations in a wide range of policy, decision, and management processes.

June 2017: Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Farms and Forests

In this webinar, Lisa Wainger of the University of Maryland and David Ervin of Portland State University will discuss findings of a recent Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics report, The Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Farms and Forests, which resulted from an interdisciplinary project that they co-chaired. (Slides also available.)

May 2017: Ecosystem Services: From Concept to Policy

Ecosystem Services Program director Lydia Olander delivered the keynote address (slides) at Ecosystem Services: From Concept to Policy in Washington, D.C. on May 19. The symposium hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science & Technology Policy Fellowships focused on how policy decision making at the national and international levels can improve use of our scientific understanding of the services provided to human societies by nature (ecosystem services). The event will promote discussions of the advantages and disadvantages of placing a monetary value on biodiversity and on developing and applying the associated valuation tools. It also aims to spark a conversation about what constitutes an ecosystem service.

April 2017: How Natural Capital Assessments Can Help Businesses Make Better Decisions

In this National Ecosystem Services Partnership webinar, Doug MacNair of Environmental Resource Management and Eva Zabey of World Business Council For Sustainable Development discuss how the Natural Capital Protocol and Toolkit can highlight risks and uncover opportunities in global businesses.

February 2017: An Accounting Approach to Ecosystem Services for Public and Private Sector Decision Making in the U.S.

Natural capital accounting—a tool being used in dozens of countries globally and by the private sector—tracks changes in ecosystem services and directly ties these changes to costs and benefits across different economic sectors. In this National Ecosystem Services Partnership webinar, Ken Bagstad and Carl Shapiro of the U.S. Geological Survey describe ongoing work to develop the infrastructure for a national natural capital accounting system in the United States.

January 2017: Mapping Ecosystem Services for the Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks Region

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Sara Mason presented one part of a three-part multi-institutional project developed for the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative, focused on the ecosystem services important to private landowners in the region in January. The webinar featured maps showing not only where the provisioning of ecosystem services is in the region, but where the possible demand for them exists. It also covered how they can be applied in a variety of ways. This project was led by Robert Grala (Mississippi State University), Lydia Olander (Duke University), and Christopher Galik (North Carolina State University).

December 2016: A Community on Ecosystem Services Conference

The National Ecosystem Services Partnership attendanced the A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) 2016 Conference December 5-9 in Jacksonville, Florida, hosting or participating in eight events. 

November 2016: A Framework to Quantify the Strength of Ecological Links Between an Anthropogenic Stressor and Final Ecosystem Services

In this National Ecosystem Services Partnership webinar, Michael Bell from the Air Resources Division of the National Park Service discuss a framework to quantify the strength of ecological links between an anthropogenic stressor and final ecosystem services.

October 2016: Total Economic Valuation of the National Park Service Lands and Programs: Results of a Survey of the American Public

In this National Ecosystem Services Partnership webinar, Michelle Haefele and John Loomis of Colorado State University present the results of a survey that led to the first-ever comprehensive estimate of the total economic value of the National Park Service and its programs. They also discuss what the $92 billion dollar valuation means for the National Park Service.

June 2016: Developing Socioeconomic Metrics to Measure DOI Hurricane Sandy Project and Program Outcomes

Susan Taylor of Abt Associates presented her work on an evaluation of the Department of the Interior's Sandy resilience projects, with a focus on developing social and economic metrics, coupled with the ecosystem measures, and scaling of project impacts regionally, topically, and programmatically. A webinar recording and slides are available.

March 2016: Cloud-Based Modeling and Big Data Approaches for Ecosystem Services Assessment

Ken Bagstad of the World Bank WAVES Program and the U.S. Geological Survey presented on increasing and improving the use of big data and cloud-based modeling for ecosystem services assessments. A webinar recording and slides are available.

February 2016: Oregon Action Framework for Health and the Outdoors

Emily Henke of the Oregon Public Health Institute, Katherine Smith of the U.S. Forest Service, Bobby Cochran of the Willamette Partnership, and Steve Kelley of Kelley Family Foundation shared a presentation on the goals and objectives of the Oregon Action Framework for Health and the Outdoors. A webinar recording and slides are available.

January 2016: Ecosystem Services Classification Systems Webinar Series

Charles Rhodes and Dixon Landers presented a two-part webinar series for the National Ecosystem Services Partnership focused on how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Ecosystem Services Classification System and Final Ecosystem Goods and Services Classification System can be used by decision makers. 

  • Part I: An Introduction to the National Ecosystem Services Classification System and Comparison to Final Ecosystem Goods and Services Classification System. A webinar recording and slides are available. 
  • Part II: How Ecosystem Services Classification Systems Can Help Generate and Improve Lists of Ecosystem Services and Common Metrics? A webinar recording and slides are available. 

December 2015: White House memorandum on mitigating impacts on natural resources webinar

Timothy Male from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Tomer Hasson from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Policy Analysis, and Palmer Hough from the Environmental Protection Agency joined NESP for a webinar to discuss the implications of the new presidential mitigation memo, as well as mitigation experiences and lessons learned from the Clean Water Act Section 404 Program and the U.S. Department of the Interior's manual on implementing mitigation at the landscape-scale. A recording of the webinar is available. 

December 2015: White House memorandum on Incorporating Ecosystem Services Webinar

Hannah Safford from the Office of Science and Technology Policy presented her recent ecosystem services and coastal green infrastructure work. Sarah Ryker also led a discussion on the new White House memorandum on incorporating ecosystem services into federal decision making. A recording of the webinar is available for viewing. Slides are also available. 

November 2015: Measuring Ecosystem Services Produced by USACE Projects Webinar

Kelly Burks-Copes of the U.S. Army Research and Development Center (ERDC) gave a presentation on ERDC’s efforts to address the post-Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts using ecosystem goods and services quantification and the Natural and Green/Gray Infrastructure (NGGI) Workgroup’s efforts to compile and deliver a set of ecosystem goods and services quantitative metrics that will support the use of NGGI to promote coastal resilience. A webinar recording and slide deck are available. 

July 2015: Best Practices Webinar

Authors Lydia Olander, Jimmy Kagan, and Robert J.  Johnston presented an overview of Best Practices for Integrating Ecosystem Services into Federal Decision Making a companion paper to the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook. This paper provides recommendations for best practices specific to ecosystem services assessments. A webinar recording is available.

February 2015: FRMES Guidebook Webinar

Guidebook core team members Lydia Olander and Sally Collins presented an overview of the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook. A webinar recording is available.

December 2014: ACES Conference

The Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook was introduced at the A Community on Ecosystem Services Conference in Washington, D.C., December 8–12, 2014. The National Ecosystem Services Partnership coordinated two special sessions and a pre-conference workshop at the conference related to the guidebook.

The first session, "Integrating Ecosystem Services in Federal Resource Management and Planning," was structured as a panel discussion with five federal agency staff members, who touched on three primary questions:

  1. How are ecosystem services currently incorporated into agency planning processes?
  2. What are next steps for incorporating ecosystem services?
  3. What are the challenges to incorporating ecosystem services?

The second session, "Building the Data Infrastructure to Support Nation-Wide Ecosystem Services Assessments," brought together experts to discuss data availability and analytical capabilities and how they could support nation-wide assessments as outlined by the FRMES Guidebook’s framework.

Materials and presentations from the pre-conference workshop, "Methods for Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Planning and Decision Making," will soon be available at

November 2014: NESP Webinar on Ecosystem Services Benefit Transfer

On November 5, 2014, Robert J. Johnston, director of the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University, presented a webinar on his cutting-edge work with ecosystem services benefit transfer. He discussed the development, estimation, and results of meta-regression models for U.S. water quality valuation that better incorporate geospatial patterns and data, including more accurate measures of geospatial scale and regional substitutes.

View the presentation and listen to the recording here.

July 2014: Pre-Guidebook Rollout Meetings

On July 21–22, 2014, NESP hosted two meetings in Washington, D.C. The first, on July 21, convened federal agency partners to share an update on the Federal Resource and Ecosystem Services Guidebook and discuss possible next steps to help agencies incorporate ecosystem services into their planning processes. Potential next steps discussed included building examples of ecosystem services applications, creating opportunities for capacitiy building and training, and developing metrics and indicators for ecosystem services. This meeting was targeted to those who have been involved in the guidebook's development. A meeting summary and list of participants is available. 

On July 22, NESP hosted a second meeting to introduce the guidebook to a wider audience. The broad range of attendees included representatives from consulting firms, state government, federal agencies, domestic and international NGOs, and universities. The team presented an overview of the guidebook and led an open discussion for feedback and reactions from the audience. A meeting summary and list of participants is available. After the meeting, the NESP-FRMES team met with staff from the Executive Office of the President to update them on the guidebook's progress and discuss next steps.

September 2013: Guidebook Progress Updates

On September 23–26, 2013, the FRMES project hosted a series of meetings in Washington, D.C. to share the research, concepts, methods, and draft reports that have been developed to date and to seek participants’ feedback on the direction of the project. Participants in the forum included federal agency staff currently grappling with or exploring the use of ecosystem services approaches in planning and program implementation, agency leaders tasked with developing policy direction for this ecosystem services work, as well as engaged academics and NGOs. These meetings were a follow up to a session hosted by NESP and A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) in May 2012, which discussed ways to advance ecosystem services in federal agency planning and decision-making. Topics covered at the September meetings included: 

  • An overview of the guidebook and FRMES process.
  • Agency case examples, exploring the range of decision contexts within which agencies are considering and incorporating ecosystem services.
  • Methods and metrics for conducting ecosystem services analyses across a variety of geographies, scales, and decision contexts.

The presentations given at the meetings, a list of meeting participants, and a two-page overview of the purpose of the meetings and the larger FRMES project are available for review.

December 2012: NESP Sessions held at ACES

NESP hosted three special sessions, with the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, at the A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) conference, December 10-14, 2012. Presentations from these sessions are below.

State Government Perceptions on Using Ecosystem Services in Management Decisions

International Government Perspectives on the use of Ecosystem Services in Management Decisions

NESP Update: Coordinating Ecosystem Services Approaches Across Federal Agencies

Full agenda here.

May 2012: The Use of Ecosystem Services in Federal Decision-Making

In May 2012, NESP and A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) hosted a forum for federal decision makers to discuss the use of ecosystem services accounting and valuation in natural resource management planning and decisions. Participants from numerous federal agencies and organizations shared experiences from their own efforts to incorporate ecosystem services and discussed ways to draw from these experiences to inform future resource management planning and decisions.

There was a general consensus on the need for guidance to make ecosystem services approaches to planning and management more routine and tractable for resource managers. NESP will be working with its partner organizations and agencies to design a work plan for developing such guidance by working through real examples with agency partners. NESP will be working with federal agencies to continue discussion at the upcoming Ecosystem Services Partnership Meeting on July 31-August 4 in Portland, Oregon, and again at the ACES/EM/ESP meeting on December 10-14 in Florida.

A meeting summary from the May policy forum is available by clicking here.