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FY 16 Output SHC 2.61 Ecosystem Goods and Services Production and Benefit Functions Case Studies Report
Harwell, M. AND J. Molleda. FY 16 Output SHC 2.61 Ecosystem Goods and Services Production and Benefit Functions Case Studies Report. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-18/189, 2018.
This SHC 2.61.1 Output Report (Ecosystems Goods and Services Production and Benefit Functions Case Studies Report) describes The U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s (ORD) research to incorporate the sustainability of final ecosystem goods and services (FEGS) production and benefits into community-scale decision-making at several study sites around the U.S. This Output report discusses research in this Project that demonstrates the importance of articulating the decision contexts, the utility of decision support tools, the types of ecosystem service metrics examined, the types of ecological modeling of FEGS production examined, human benefits endpoints and estimation, and the utilization of these suites of tools and approaches by communities. This report summarizes how community-based studies have previously utilized ecosystem services to inform aspects of their decision-making, to identify best practices that may be transferred to other communities, and to identify gaps in those practices that need to be addressed. This report builds upon a SHC 2.61.5 Coordinated Case Studies Task FY 16 Product (“Report on Lessons Learned from SHC EGS Place Based Studies”) and other deliverables in SHC 2.61 covering work through FY 16.
In the complex arena of sustainability, where the costs of failure can be high and stakeholders have multiple and sometimes conflicting interests, communities need measurement tools to characterize their current state, develop meaningful goals and quantifiable objectives for the future, understand the consequences of alternative investment strategies, track their progress, and confirm that their investments are yielding the intended results. The Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) Research Program outlines the Office of Research and Development’s role in achieving U.S. EPA’s objectives for cleaning up communities, making a visible difference in communities, and working toward a sustainable future. It was developed with considerable input and support from partners within U.S. EPA Program and Regional offices, as well as from outside stakeholders such as community leaders, other federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and colleagues across the scientific community. It includes research and development to generate and provide access to environmental science on health, well-being, and the environment, and to place that science in the context of the critical decisions facing communities (Figure 1). Ecosystem services research under ORD’s SHC Research Program addresses: (1) how to estimate current production of ecosystem goods and services, given the type and condition of ecosystems; (2) how ecosystem services contribute to human health and well-being; and (3) how the production and benefits of these ecosystem services may be reduced or augmented under various decision scenarios and in response to regional conditions.