Thursday, August 6, 2009 - 8:00 AM

OOS 39-1: The scientific foundation for ecosystem valuation in the San Pedro and the Southwest

David C. Goodrich, USDA-ARS-SWRC and Investigators From, over 50 institutions, agencies, and NGO's.


Decision-makers and natural resource managers increasingly require much more sophisticated levels of expert findings and scientific results, coupled with economic information, to make informed decisions.  No single scientific discipline is typically capable of providing integrated solutions for decision-makers and managers. Significant effort beyond the traditional scientific method is required conduct interdisciplinary science across the physical, ecological, and economic sciences. Even greater effort is required to effectively integrate this research with policy and decision makers for effective and sustainable management of natural resources. This presentation will provide an overview of the evolution of natural resources research in the San Pedro Basin into a integrated science and decision making program which is of sufficient maturity for ecological valuation efforts to be successful. The presentation will discuss the transition in research from a focus on science and research for understanding; through science for addressing a need; to integrated science and policy development; to ecological valuation. At each stage the research conducted became more interdisciplinary, first across abiotic disciplines (hydrology, remote sensing, atmospheric science), then by merging abiotic and biotic disciplines (adding ecology and plant physiology), with further integration elected official and decision makers, and finally the economic sciences.


By building on the strong scientific foundation in the San Pedro the typical reliance on vague program descriptions and imperfect measures of the change in resource quality or quantity in stated-preference valuation studies can be overcome.  Lessons learned from this experience will also be reviewed with the intent providing guidance to ensure that hydrologic and watershed research is socially and scientifically relevant and will directly address the needs of policy makers and resource managers.