EPA Science Inventory

Relating ecosystem services to domains of human well-being: Foundation for a U.S. index

Citation:

SMITH, L. M., J. CASE, L. HARWELL, AND K. K. SUMMERS. Relating ecosystem services to domains of human well-being: Foundation for a U.S. index . ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 28:79-90, (2013).

Description:

Humans are dependent upon the services provided by nature, and unless we effectively account for the range of values from ecosystems in our efforts to protect the environment, we cannot sustain human well-being. In light of this dependence, the US Environmental Protections Agency (USEPA) Ecological Services Research Program (ESRP) is seeking a national measure of well-being to link ecosystem services to the constituents of well-being in order to integrate the human condition into environmental protection. This first step towards conceptualizing these linkages is identifying the measurable components of well-being that can be related to ecosystem service provisioning. The domains, indicators and unique attributes from existing well-being indices serve as a strong foundation for developing a conceptual framework which categorizes well-being elements and integrates domains of well-being. This paper outlines four main elements of well-being, presents a brief overview of composite measures inclusive of these elements and introduces a conceptual framework linking ecosystem services to well-being in context of environmental, economic, and social factors. This framework will be used to guide construction of a U.S. index of well-being inclusive of ecosystem services for the ESRP.

Purpose/Objective:

The US Ecological Services Research Program (ESRP) is seeking a national measure of well-being to link ecosystem services to the constituents of well-being in order to integrate the human condition into environmental protection. This paper summarizes and integrates information from existing measures of well-being to inform a conceptual framework for linking ecosystem services to well-being in context of environmental, economic, and social factors. The framework introduced will be used to guide for constructing an index of well-being to assess well-being endpoints for ESRP. This effort supports ESRP LTG 1-Effective Decision Support- By 2014 ESRP will provide innovative, online decision support that offers EPA, Regions, States, local communities and resource managers the ability to integrate, visualize, and maximize use of diverse data, models and tools at multiple scales to generate alternative decision options and to understand consequences of management decisions on the sustainability of ecosystem services, their value, and human well-being.

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 05/01/2013
Completion Date: 05/01/2013
Record Last Revised: 09/17/2013
Record Created: 07/12/2010
Record Released: 07/12/2010
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 226209

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION

ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT BRANCH