Scenarios to Services Workshop

Working hard while being inspired by the beautiful setting

On May 19th and 20th, 2016, a group of 35 ecologists, economists, social scientists, and ecosystem-service modelers gathered at the idyllic Shelburne Farms near Burlington, Vermont for the third S3-RCN workshop, Scenarios to Services: Linking Supply to Benefit in Ecosystem Service Models.

The topic at hand was how best can assessments of Ecosystem Services (ES) translate measures of ecosystem service supply into realized benefits to people?  Existing ecosystem service research has tended to focus on the supply side (e.g. floodwater retention), without linking these to realized benefits to people (e.g. reduced damage costs downstream). Such a gap is likely to be limiting the relevance and uptake of ecosystem service assessments in policy and management decisions.

Working groups report back

Breakout groups report back

The agenda included listening to key perspectives on the existing gaps and challenges in work being done to link ES supply to beneficiaries, and learning about the current state-of-the-art in evaluating ecosystem service benefits for people across a series of diverse case studies and speakers, including flood mitigation services provided in the Otter Creek Basin, Vermont; preferences for water clarity across lakes in Minnesota; valuing the use of wild pollinators for enhancing crop yields in areas like California’s Central Valley; and the value attached to ambient water quality in the Merrimack River watershed, New Hampshire.

For much of the remainder of the workshop, participants worked in breakout groups discussing linking biophysical supple to beneficiaries for four service groups: water supply, flood control, recreation (tourism and economic), and health benefits. Outputs from the workshop include two studies commissioned to help inform the workshop that will now be published, an outline for a conceptual synthesis paper, and research plans for three collaborative research projects. Next steps include working to integrate these insights and ideas into the S3 RCN’s broader work on quantifying the impacts of different future land use scenarios on ecosystem services in New England.

The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation under grant number DEB-1338809. Further information on the workshop, including the full agenda with links to presentations, participants and biographies can be found here.

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Working hard while being inspired by the beautiful setting

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