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Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
The concept of ecosystem services has been formalized into U.S. Forest Service decision-making over the past decade in response to the 2012 Forest Planning Act and Agency regulations and directives, but many practical questions remain about how to do this most effectively. Many USFS decisions use scenarios to assess how different management approaches will meet different objectives and what the trade-offs might be. Often this is done using predictive models developed by the USFS. Some of the models commonly used by the USFS do not yet include many ecosystem services outcomes, but there are other predictive models designed for ecosystem services that might help fill such gaps. This project explores how these non-USFS models could be combined with existing USFS models to provide a fuller analysis of ecosystem services outcomes from different management scenarios. We used an ecosystem service conceptual model as a framework to examine the utility of currently available predictive models for quantifying the effects of fire and timber management on ecosystem services and socioeconomic outcomes.