EPA Science Inventory

Mapping Socio-Environmentally Vulnerable Populations Access and Exposure to Ecosystem Services at the U.S.- Mexico Borderlands

Citation:

Norman, L. A., M. Villarreal, F. Lara-Valencia, Y. YUAN, W. Nie, S. Wilson, G. Amaya, AND R. Sleeter. Mapping Socio-Environmentally Vulnerable Populations Access and Exposure to Ecosystem Services at the U.S.- Mexico Borderlands. Applied Geography. ELSEVIER, AMSTERDAM, Holland, 34:413-424, (2012).

Description:

The USGS is developing a binational decision support tool to understand the exchange of ecosystem services in the Santa Cruz Watershed located on the border between Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Ecosystem services are life-sustaining benefits human societies receive from the environment, including clean water, soil stabilization, and flood control. Ecosystem services assessment must include addressing how changes and tradeoffs in ecosystem services impact human well-being and quality of life. Here, a modified socio-environmental vulnerability index is applied to the census data for the binational Santa Cruz Watershed to locate the vulnerable populations for comparison with biophysical models in a binational ecosystem services assessment tool. The modified –SEVI is transferable to other borderland watersheds and provides a first step to address environmental justice in binational decision-making.

Purpose/Objective:

The paper begins with a brief introduction to the US-Mexico border and then provides a description of local economic and environmental concerns in the Santa Cruz Watershed study area. Following this, the binational classification and mapping of residential areas in the watershed is described using a composite index of vulnerability that combines merged census variables and colonias. Colonias (or colonias marginales in Mexico) are neighborhoods in the US-Mexico border that lack adequate infrastructure or housing. This composite index provides the potential to compare physical exposure to nonpoint source pollution or flooding, exacerbated by climate change, with populations in the watershed. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate an ecosystem services assessment that enables the visualization of social and biophysical sciences across International boundaries, in an online decision support tool. The methodology shows how to identify whether environmental justice neighborhoods or vulnerable populations are paying the costs and/or reaping the benefits of management decisions, climate change, and urbanization scenarios.

URLs/Downloads:

MAPPING SOCIO-ENVIRONMENTALLY VULNERABLE POPULATIONS ACCESS AND EXPOSURE TO ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AT THE U.S.- MEXICO BORDERLANDS..PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 2237 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Projected Completion Date: 11/15/2011
Record Last Revised: 05/09/2012
Record Created: 02/16/2011
Record Released: 02/16/2011
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 233336

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION

LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY BRANCH