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Using benefit indicators to evaluate ecosystem services resulting from restoration
Bousquin, J., M. Mazzotta, W. Berry, AND C. Ojo. Using benefit indicators to evaluate ecosystem services resulting from restoration. CERF 24th Biennial Conference, Providence, RI, November 05 - 09, 2017.
We present a general approach to using non-monetary benefit indicators and an application to urban wetlands restoration. We show how this approach extends existing assessments to not only consider where ecosystem goods and services are produced but also how people are benefitting from those goods and services. This allows for spatial differences in demand for ecosystem goods and services to be better considered in decisions making.
Ecological restoration can reestablish ecosystem services that provide valuable social and environmental benefits. Final ecosystem goods and services (FEGS) are the goods and services that directly benefit people. Explicitly identifying the people who benefit and characterizing what makes them value the same FEGS differently in different locations can help managers better allocate scarce resources among potential restoration projects. Economic valuation studies can monetize the value of FEGS, but such studies are often too resource intensive for the localized decisions that commonly need to be made, and it is often not possible to monetize all benefits. We present a rapid assessment approach that provides non-monetary metrics, using benefit indicators, to compare benefits of restoring different sites. These benefit indicators are based on economic concepts and reflect the factors that contribute to economic value, including the extent of market (which determines the number of people who benefit), available substitutes, and preferences of those who benefit. We designed these benefit indicators to complement existing ecosystem goods and services assessments, which focus primarily on evaluating ecosystem functions, in order to provide a more complete picture of both supply and demand for potential restored ecosystem services. We demonstrate the general approach to using non-monetary benefit indicators with an application to urban wetlands restoration sites in the Woonasquatucket Watershed in Rhode Island, USA. We discuss how the specific benefit indicators used are being transferable to similar urbanizing watersheds. With adjustments, the approach is transferable to additional ecosystems and ecosystem services. We will also demonstrate what parts of the approach can be informed by FEGS classifications and assessments.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION
ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT BRANCH