Thursday, August 9, 2007: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
A1&8, San Jose McEnery Convention Center
SYMP 19 - Ecosystem services in decision-making: Stepping into reality
Recent groundbreaking initiatives have highlighted the enormous value of the goods and services people obtain from natural systems and their crucial role in sustaining economic viability. Yet despite growing global-level recognition that conservation often makes economic sense for society as a whole, decision-makers, from individuals to governments, continue to behave as if ecosystems have little or no value. As a result, wild habitats and populations are declining by an average of 1% per year, with losses particularly pronounced in the developing world. Ecosystem services have promise as a vehicle for reversing this trend by capturing the human benefits of ecological processes in economic terms. The application of an ecosystem services appraoch in decision-making processes face three key challenges: (1) Scientific data on economic and social benefits of ecosystem services are scarce and approaches to gathering information at scales useful for decision-makers are in their infancy, (2) Beneficiaries of ecosystem services derived from natural capital are often a different constituency, socially and geographically, from those who would benefit from liquidation of natural capital, (3) Markets typically reward short-term values of natural resources, underestimating or not capturing the real but long-term importance of ecological wealth in sustaining human welfare. Ecologists and economists play a key role in helping to understand the human impacts on the sustained delivery of these services. It is, however, the recent efforts aimed at expanding the conversation to engagement of the a full array of professional sectors necessary to develop solutions to these three main challenges that have the potential for delivering solutions. The goal of this symposium is to present a general framework for using ecosystem services as the nexus between ecology and decision making. The success of this framework will depend on collaborations between ecologists, economists, policy and law experts, business professionals and natural resource stakeholders. We will draw on an interdisciplinary group of speakers to address the utility of an ecosystem services framework for systematically moving ecosystem service-based decision making past current challenges. We will also address the status of several essential components of this framework, including ecosystem service measurement approaches, valuation techniques and market and non-market incentive programs. Finally, we will present emerging approaches for strategically designing policies and programs that benefit humans and nature, highlight gaps in our understanding, and identify next steps for continued progress in collaborations between ecologists and other ecosystem service professionals.
Organizer:M.Rebecca Shaw, The Nature Conservancy
Co-organizers:Gretchen Daily, Stanford University
Steve Polasky, University of Minnesota
Heather Tallis, The Natural Capital Project
Moderator:M. Rebecca Shaw, The Nature Conservancy
1:30 PMIntroduction and Overview
M. Rebecca Shaw, The Nature Conservancy
1:45 PMEcosystem services: The promise and peril of the approach
Gretchen C. Daily, Stanford University
2:05 PMThe Natural Capital Project: A framework for ecosystem services in decision-making
Taylor Ricketts, World Wildlife Fund, Gretchen Daily, Stanford University, Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy, Steve Polasky, University of Minnesota, M. Rebecca Shaw, The Nature Conservancy, Heather Tallis, The Natural Capital Project, Christine Tam, The Natural Capital Project, Buzz Thompson, Stanford University
2:25 PMStandardized measurement of ecosystem services: Integrated economic and ecological statistics for welfare accounting and adaptive management
James Boyd, Resources for the Future
2:45 PMMapping and valuing ecosystem services:  What do we know?  What do we need to know?
Steve Polasky, University of Minnesota
3:05 PMBreak
3:15 PMThe edge of markets: Ecosystem services and meeting the needs of the poor
M. Sanjayan, University of Montana & Lead Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
3:35 PMExisting ecosystem service markets: How accessible are they, who’s using them, and are they improving environmental conditions?
Jessia Fox, None
3:55 PMEcosystem investment: Expanding the pool of conservation finance
Adam Davis, Solano Partners, Inc.
4:15 PMLessons from the field: What we know about implementation of ecosystem service projects and payment for ecosystem services in the real world
Heather Tallis, The Natural Capital Project, Rebecca Goldman, Stanford University, Gretchen Daily, Stanford University, Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy, Taylor Ricketts, World Wildlife Fund
4:35 PMPanel Discussion and Questions
M. Rebecca Shaw, The Nature Conservancy

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See more of The ESA/SER Joint Meeting (August 5 -- August 10, 2007)