EPA Science Inventory

Protecting our environmental wealth: Connecting ecosystem goods and services to human well-being

Citation:

NAHLIK, A. M., D. H. LANDERS, P. L. RINGOLD, AND M. A. Weber. Protecting our environmental wealth: Connecting ecosystem goods and services to human well-being. National Wetlands Newsletter. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC, 34(1):14-18, (2012).

Description:

Ecosystems produce essential outputs upon which people’s well-being and livelihood depend. These outputs are referred to as “ecosystem goods and services” (EGS). National accounting systems do not track the goods and services produced by ecosystems, and we do not have a consistent set of tools or requirements for assessing or monitoring the impact our decisions have on EGS. As a consequence, the impacts our activities have on the EGS produced by our ecosystems go unrecorded, and thus, our capacity to learn from our actions and to manage adaptively is impeded. More data and information about EGS provides the potential for making better environmental choices. Decision-makers acknowledge the importance of EGS as evidenced by legislation surrounding compensatory wetland mitigation, which states that replacement wetlands should be located to replace lost functions and services. Natural and social scientists need to work together to make meaningful analyses of human well-being and respond to the decision-makers’ need for tools that help inform decisions pertaining to ecosystems and the goods and services ecosystems provide. However, EGS science faces several major challenges: (1) the EGS concept has yet to be methodically connected to human well-being, (2) inconsistent language surrounds the concept, and (3) there is a lack of coordination within the EGS research community (i.e., natural and social scientists). In this paper, we detail the Final Ecosystem Goods and Services (FEGS) Approach, which provides a potential solution to these challenges, and provide specific examples of FEGS in wetland ecosystems.

Purpose/Objective:

Ecosystems produce essential outputs upon which people’s well-being and livelihood depend. These outputs are referred to as “ecosystem goods and services” (EGS).

URLs/Downloads:

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 12/01/2012
Completion Date: 12/01/2012
Record Last Revised: 10/29/2012
Record Created: 10/31/2011
Record Released: 10/31/2011
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 239226

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

FRESHWATER ECOLOGY BRANCH