In partnership with a number of federal agencies, NESP developed an online guidebook for incorporating ecosystem services into agency planning processes. The Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services 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
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. In 2015, following the release of the guidebook, NESP brought together a number of acknowledged academic experts to build upon the methods outlined in the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook and identify best practices. The resulting paper outlines recommendations for best practices specific to ecosystem services assessment methods, which were integrated into the guidebook. A webinar providing an overview of this paper presented by Lydia Olander, Jimmy Kagan, and Rob Johnston is also available.
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. See "Data and Modeling Infrastructure for National Integration of Ecosystem Services into Decision Making: Expert Summaries."