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Developing an Ecosystem Services online Decision Support Tool to Assess the Impacts of Climate Change and Urban Growth in the Santa Cruz Watershed; Where We Live, Work, and Play
Norman, L., N. G. TALLENT-HALSELL, W. Labiosa, M. WEBER, A. McCoy, K. Hirschboeck, J. Callegary, C. van Riper III, AND F. Gray. Developing an Ecosystem Services online Decision Support Tool to Assess the Impacts of Climate Change and Urban Growth in the Santa Cruz Watershed; Where We Live, Work, and Play. ENVIRONMENT, DEVELOPMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY. Springer, New York, NY, 2:2044-2069, (2010).
Issues of land use, agricultural practices, urban sprawl, and changing demographics are the backdrop upon which climate change and human health intersect. As undeveloped or agricultural areas transition to urban land uses and our climate changes, employing an “ecosystem services” approach would be appropriate for quantifying and examining the impacts on humans. Processes through which ecosystems provide services or goods that benefit people and can be quantified to clarify decision-making through techniques that include cost-benefit analysis are referred to as "ecosystems services”[i, 4]. When land use shifts from agricultural to urban uses the increase in market-value can be substantial. Lands, valued at $40,000 per acre, when used for agriculture may value at over $1 million per acre were converted for urban use depending on location and specific development capacity [ii]. However, this shift in land valuse is without consideration that the prior land use may have supported many ecosystems services that should also be measured alongside market land values in decision-making.
Processes through which ecosystems provide goods or benefit people can be referred to as "ecosystems services”, which may be quantified to clarify decision-making, with techniques including cost-benefit analysis. We are developing an online decision support tool, the Santa Cruz Watershed Ecosystem Portfolio Model (SCWEPM), to help promote scientifically and socially-sound solutions to water allocation and land management in this international watershed along the U.S.-México border. Using respective strengths of the biological, physical, and social sciences, we will generate forecasts of responses to ecosystem drivers, including land-use change, climatic shifts, contaminant loadings, invasive species, and economic trends that may impact social welfare, human health, and water availability and quality.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION
LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY BRANCH