This week Rua and I, along with Lisa Garrett our new Steering Committee member for the National Park Service, attended a meeting to think through metrics of ecosystem services. The meeting was convened to support the National Sustainability Atlas that the EPA is developing to house information and data layers about services provided to humans by the environment. The Atlas is going through some name changes right now, so you may see it mentioned by a different name somewhere else.
Ecosystem services are often thought of as falling into four different categories: Provisioning, Regulating, Supporting, and Cultural. As part of their efforts, the EPA Office of Research and Development has been developing data, tracking down data developed by other entities, and developing the web based framework to house and share the data. This meeting sparked some nice discussions about ecosystem services that generated questions in our minds about how that type of information can be used to generate more conservation investment. For example, if you are trying to persuade farmers to leave land undisturbed around the perimeter of fields, you might be more persuasive in your discussions with farmers if you know more about what the farmer values. Does it provide habitat to pollinators, does it capture nitrogen before it enters waterways, does it provide habitat for deer the farmer hunts for food? Does it help societal issues the farmer cares about, like climate change (carbon sequestration), clean water (water filtration), clean air (remove ozone)?
We would like to know what you have found persuasive, what compels landowners and investors to conserve land? What do you talk about with them that leads to a conservation action? Is there data that you believe, if you had it, would help you be more persuasive in your conversations? If you have time, completing the questionnaire below would help us get more clarity on how to use ecosystem services to assist the community of conservation investors. We’ll use your responses as fodder for a focus group on ecosystem services, and get some input back to the EPA to inform their work on the National Sustainability Atlas.
Please follow the link below: