Operationalizing the Concept of Ecosystem Services through Interdisciplinary Research and Synthesis

Tuesday, August 12, 2014: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
306, Sacramento Convention Center
Kristin I. Powell, The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center
Margaret A. Palmer, University of Maryland; and Edward B. Barbier, University of Wyoming
Kristin I. Powell, The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center
This session brings together top, interdisciplinary researchers to synthesize the needs, challenges, and approaches to operationalizing the concept of ecosystem services. The concept of ecosystem services describes how nature and biodiversity afford direct and indirect benefits to human welfare. Initially, most attention on the topic was placed on the economic valuation of ecosystem services. Lately, the concept has also focused on understanding when and where specific ecosystem services are produced in order to align conservation and management of natural resources with household needs, economics, business practices, policy decisions, and cultural values. However, moving forward from the concept of ecosystem services to the use of ecosystem services for natural resource management and environmental markets is challenging. Operationalizing ecosystem services requires: 1) identification of important services for human welfare in a specific geographic and temporal context, 2) determining if the specific environmental (local) context is likely to support the ecosystem feature and processes that underpin the desired services, and 3) availability of management options and social processes to ensure delivery of the services. This symposium explores current research projects and syntheses that begin to operationalize the concept of ecosystem services and provide concrete strategies about collecting, using, and implementing data on ecosystem services for decision-making. The session will include two talks about overarching frameworks and cross-scale analyses for applying ecosystem services to decision-making. Other talks will then provide strategies for using ecosystem services in vital (non-mutually exclusive) areas, including business strategy, urban planning, conservation, and policy. Each presenter will also discuss the approaches they used to navigate working across disciplines to accomplish social-ecological research goals.
8:00 AM
 Time for a new brand of ES engagement
Kai Ming A. Chan, University of British Columbia
9:00 AM
 Ecosystem services in American land use and environmental planning
Todd BenDor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Danielle Spurlock, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Lydia Olander, Duke University, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
9:30 AM
9:40 AM
 Assessing tradeoffs among ecosystem services across spatial scales and social contexts
Patricia Balvanera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; J.M. Cavender-Bares, University of Minnesota; Elizabeth G. King, University of Georgia; Steve Polasky, University of Minnesota; Tuyeni Mwampamba, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
10:40 AM
 Evolutionary hot spots and temporal trends in the ecosystem services derived from plants
J. Cavender-Bares, University of Minnesota; William F. Fagan, University of Maryland; Matthew R. Helmus, University of Chicago; Nathan Kraft, University of Maryland; Jesse R. Lasky, Columbia University; Ian Muñoz, Socioenvironmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC); Erik J. Nelson, Bowdoin College; David J. Nowak, USDA Forest Service; Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne, University of Vermont; William D. Pearse, University of Minnesota; Steve Polasky, University of Minnesota; Mary Shelley, Socioenvironmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC); Amy E. Zanne, The George Washington University
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