Ecosystem Services in a Conservation Planning Framework
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Natural ecosystems provide several important services to society, including water purification, crop pollination, and carbon storage. Until recently, however, these services were not paid for in market transactions, giving landowners little incentive to provide services at optimal levels. Payments for ecosystem services (PES) have addressed this by compensating landowners for the services they provide. PES have the potential to become powerful tools for conservation work, prompting the need for conservation planning for these services. In this project, the modeling tool InVEST was used to determine the spatial distributions of four ecosystem services (carbon storage, water purification, pollination, and biodiversity protection) for a study area in North Carolina. The outputs of these models were then overlaid to determine areas of the landscape that are important for the provision of multiple services. The individual and multiple ecosystem service maps were then used to help prioritize investment in specific property parcels based on the ecosystem services each provides under several land use change scenarios, including afforestation, wetland restoration, and the planting of riparian buffers.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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