Ecosystem Services Conceptual Model Application: Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Development
Repository Usage Stats
Interest in using ecosystem services to integrate considerations of people and the environment continues to grow in federal agencies. One method that can help agencies incorporate ecosystem services into decision making is the use of ecosystem services conceptual models, which link changes in biophysical systems caused by an intervention to human well-being outcomes. Evidence-based ecosystem services conceptual models can provide efficiency and consistency in application, transitioning ecosystem services from an interesting concept to an actionable approach for natural resource management. Despite the potential usefulness of these models, there are few examples available to build from and little published detail on how to implement them. This report provides an example of an ecosystem services conceptual model for solar energy development on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The Bureau of Land Management wants to facilitate solar energy development on suitable land in the southwestern United States while minimizing negative impacts on social, cultural, and ecological systems. With agency staff, researchers at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Solutions developed a model that captures the potential outcomes of the installation and operation of solar energy facilities on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. An accompanying evidence library provides a summary of the currently available evidence for each relationship in the model and an assessment of the strength of that evidence. The ecosystem services conceptual models could improve and help to streamline environmental assessments and help the Bureau of Land Management achieve its socio-economic strategy.
Warnell, Katie, Lydia Olander and Sara Mason (2018). Ecosystem Services Conceptual Model Application: Bureau of Land Management Solar Energy Development. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/26483.
Katie Warnell is a senior policy associate for the Ecosystem Services Program. She is a graduate of Duke University’s Master of Environment Management program with a concentration in ecosystem science and conservation and was awarded a geospatial analysis certificate. She has served as an intern at the Triangle Land Conservancy and as a research tech with the Duke University Superfund Research Center. She has conducted research on South Africa’s bats with the Organization for Tropical Studies and was involved in a DukeEngage project on fish farming in Ecuador.
Lydia Olander is a program director at the Nicholas Institute for Energy Environment & Sustainability at Duke University and adjunct professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment. She works on improving evidence-based policy and accelerating implementation of climate resilience, nature-based solutions, natural capital accounting, and environmental markets. She leads the National Ecosystem Services Partnership and sits on Duke’s Climate Commitment action team. She recently spent two years with the Biden administration at the Council on Environmental Quality as Director of Nature based Resilience and before that spent five years on the Environmental Advisory Board for the US Army Corps of Engineers. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and widely published researcher. Prior to joining the Nicholas Institute, she spent a year as an AAAS Congressional Science and Technology Fellow working with Senator Joseph Lieberman on environmental and energy issues. She was a college scholar at Cornell University and earned her Master of Forest Science from Yale University and Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Sara Mason joined the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability as a policy associate after graduating from Duke with a master’s degree in environmental management. Her work focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of biodiversity conservation and how that can be leveraged to engage the public and policy makers in conservation efforts. Prior to joining the Nicholas Institute, Sara worked in ecological field research and endangered animal rehabilitation.
Material is made available in this collection at the direction of authors according to their understanding of their rights in that material. You may download and use these materials in any manner not prohibited by copyright or other applicable law.