Focal Areas

Online Guidebook

The Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services (FRMES) project brings together federal agencies and outside expertise to share ideas and build a consistent approach to integrating ecosystem services into federal resource management and planning processes.  

The Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services (FRMES) project created an online guidebook ( describing what ecosystem services are and why their identification and valuation can be useful to federal resource managers and planners. The guidebook provides a framework and methodology for ensuring consistent and credible application of the ecosystem services concept to planning and management efforts. It describes how federal agencies are exploring or applying an ecosystem services framework along and details some specific agency applications.

Laying the groundwork for the guidebook are two papers that explain how the Federal Land Management and Policy Act of 1976 and the National Environmental Policy Act enable or limit agencies’ incorporation of ecosystem services approaches into federal planning and management processes. Following the release of the guidebook, a new report provides recommendations on best practices for ecosystem services assessments in federal decision making. It is designed to help ensure nature's benefits to people are fully considered. 

NESP is currently exploring opportunities to expand the audiences for the guidebook and to deepen engagement with federal agencies through exploratory projects and training. The technical working groups that supported guidebook development are currently identifying capabilities and gaps in existing data and modeling capacity to conduct nationwide ecosystem services assessments (paper coming soon).

Possible areas for future work may include:

  • Testing of ecosystem services assessment methods to develop on-the-ground experience and credible examples for others to follow as well as training of managers to use these methods.
  • Developing guidebook training materials to facilitate integration into agency training opportunities.
  • Adapting guidebook content for new audiences, such as additional federal agencies or state or regional restoration efforts.
  • Building on a technical working group assessment of current capabilities and gaps in data and modeling capacity to conduct nationwide ecosystem services assessments (paper coming soon). NESP could work with agencies to develop a road map for adapting existing federal research, monitoring, and survey programs to better collect needed information for improved metrics and ecosystem services assessments.

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