4003 Ecosystem Services for the Future: A Marriage of Biophysical and Social Variability

Friday, February 18, 2011: 10:00 AM
140A (Washington Convention Center )
Heather Tallis , Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Our understanding of coupled social-ecological systems, and our success in managing them sustainably, rests on our ability to measure and predict change in key system components. Ecosystem services are the explicit links between people and nature, but they are often overlooked in monitoring and assessment. We present a new approach for practical, rigorous ecosystem service measurement and modeling that incorporates and delineates important contributions from both natural and social systems. The novel three-step framework addresses traditional shortcomings of an ecosystem services approach by giving managers and scientists the tools to assess and track 1) the condition of the ecosystem (supply metrics), 2) the amount of ocean resources actually used or enjoyed by people (service metrics), and 3) people’s preference for that level of service (value metrics). This framework has been implemented in a modeling system called InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs). Examples from Canada and Belize will demonstrate how this framework can be used to support marine spatial planning. Planned research to include the ability to represent connections between terrestrial and marine systems will also be discussed.