Building Ecosystem Services Conceptual Models
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Funders and developers of infrastructure projects and businesses and managers overseeing critical natural resources are becoming increasingly aware of and interested in ecosystem services. Although methods for incorporating ecosystem services into decisions have been established through academic research, practical guidance for how to do so in the quick, simple, transparent, and low-cost, feasible ways often required for widespread implementation are just now under development. One tool that can support widespread implementation is the use of ecosystem services conceptual models, which can underpin both simple and complex methods while helping to improve consistency and credibility. These conceptual models link changes caused by an external stressor or intervention through the ecological system to socio-economic and human well-being outcomes. Ecosystem services conceptual models can be developed for any given site and intervention or created as reference models for a general type of intervention across sites. This report facilitates development and use of evidence-based ecosystem services conceptual models in federal decision making by presenting a “how-to” guide and illustrative examples.
Olander, Lydia, Sara Mason, Katie Warnell and Heather Tallis (2018). Building Ecosystem Services Conceptual Models. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/26481.
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.
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.
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