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New titles added every day! We like to keep things fresh. In a multi-day workshop, the ideas was to learn from local community stakeholders and participating scientists about the problems surrounding the conversion of mangrove ecosystems to shrimp aquaculture. The aim was to develop potential solutions to the problems and communicate results to the authorities to take action. The main questions to be answered were: How to compare the value attached to shrimp farming with the value of maintaining mangroves? How can the economic, social and Place-based studies around peri-urban Edinburgh are working with policy makers to better understand society's socio-cultural values of green space.

The exemplar aims to: Understand appreciation of ecosystem services in the Pentland Hills; Understand potential to offset urban development in East Lothian; Identify societal ecosystem services benefits in urban and peri-urban contexts; Assess the socio-cultural values of these ecosystem services; Apply, test and further develop ecosystem service valuation methods. Identification of the health of the coral reef of St.

The reefs are important drivers for dive tourism, they support local fisheries and they protect against storms. Formulating a widely supported vision for developing a sustainable flood control area. To gain local support, local and societal needs were taken into consideration.

Also, possible disservices needed to be tackled, while developing valuable nature values. The area surrounding the confluence of the north and south branches of Thornton Creek Seattle experiences storm water-related flooding more often than other areas. A cost-benefit analysis, which incorporated ecosystem services values, aimed at identifying the best cost-benefit ratio among three possible options. The assessment results were intended to inform the decision of the choice of a project option. The public perception of ecosystems e. This case study aims at performing a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of a Mediterranean catchment to assess NBS benefits, dis-benefits and co-benefits and ways to optimize them.

The study also aimed at enhancing the wider understanding of the significance of pollination services to the mountain agricultural economy. Institutional capacities at provincial and national level needed to be strengthened to promote honeybee pollination management. Persina Nature Park has high conservation value but is also of importance to local economies through its fish resources, climate regulation and biomass production. However, the societal, economic and environmental value of this wetland is not well recognized by local and national stakeholders and decision-makers.

This exemplar aims to explore the link between Danube ecosystems and a range of environmental benefits for local and Danube-region communities, given the application of an appropriate set of instruments to safeguard or improve them. More specifically, the objectives of the study are to assess:. The AQUACROSS Case Study aims to improve the knowledge base available to stakeholders to enable a more informed decision-making process toward the achievement of the Biodiversity Strategy targets, including the provisioning of ecosystem services.

This case illustrates the importance of intensive initial scoping prior to examining ecosystem services in more depth. During the EnRoute project, an assessment of the green infrastructure and key urban ecosystem services was carried out for the city of Valletta and the surrounding urban area. Urban land uses make a significant proportion of the case-study area Figure 1. Assessing how the ecosystem service approach can be used to demonstrate problems in protected areas such as rural abandonment, land-use intensification and social conflicts emerging from strict conservation practices.

We aim to support regional and national decision-making on landscape management and ecosystem services in Peru, through stakeholder involvement and research on tradeoffs between ecosystem services. The aim of the project is to develop realistic indicators to evaluate, manage and develop performant Green and Blue infrastructure GBIs in cities and intensively managed landscapes. With regard to deposition-related effects associated with NOx and SOx, the Administrator considered the appropriateness of a multipollutant standard and focused, in particular, on the approach for acidifying deposition developed in the Policy Assessment, for which she recognized a strong scientific basis.

The Administrator concluded, however, setting a standard based on such an approach in light of the limitations of relevant data and the uncertainties associated with specifying the appropriate elements of such a standard were not appropriate 77 FR The decision was challenged in the U. As of the time of this writing, the next review of the NOx and SOx secondary standards is ongoing.

Lessons from the Case Study The ecosystem service endpoints provided a frame of reference that enabled senior managers and the EPA Administrator to understand and discuss the effects of nitrogen and sulfur in the environment in terms that non-ecologists can readily appreciate. To the extent that the ecological benefits of different options could be quantified, the assessments characterized their magnitude e. In addition, the ecosystem services construct could facilitate development of communication materials associated with the secondary NAAQS analyses that may be more understandable to the public than analyses focused on other endpoints.

It concludes by describing how consideration of ecosystem services affected by the pesticide registrations could provide additional information on the impacts of lampricide use. In particular, the focus is on the impact of the presence of sea lampreys on the commercial and recreational fishing potential of the Great Lakes as mitigated by these pesticide registrations.

The risk quotients then were compared to Office of Pesticide Program's levels of concern LOCs to determine potential risk to nontarget organisms and subsequent regulatory action. Based on assessment results, no acute or chronic risks to mammals and birds which are also surrogates for reptiles and terrestrial-phase amphibians were expected as a result of use of either TFM or niclosamide. Acute LOCs for freshwater fish were exceeded, however, for the lampricidal use of TFM, niclosamide and the mixture of the two. Chronic toxicity data for freshwater fish for either TFM or niclosamide were not available.

Given that the persistence of TFM and niclosamide is uncertain, potential exposure of aquatic organisms to the compounds and subsequent effects could not be characterized, especially downstream of the treatment site. LOCs for risk to federally listed threatened and endangered species hereafter referred to as listed species were exceeded for freshwater fish and aquatic invertebrates for TFM and niclosamide.

Potential ways to mitigate risk include 1 varying the treatment rate based on pH; 2 applying lampricides to lower reaches of streams where sea lampreys might be localized, consequently permitting upper-reach native lamprey populations to repopulate lower reaches post treatment; 3 using a co- formulation of TFM and niclosamide more efficacious on target species ; and 4 treating affected streams every 3 to 5 years. Treatment efforts rely on stream flushing action to dissipate treatment chemicals at treatment sites and on dilution in the Great Lakes proper.

Lessons from the Case Study The conventional measures of effect and the risk conclusions based on them can inform higher scale e. The ecosystem services ascribed to the organisms directly or indirectly at risk aid in developing a larger scale risk picture that links an effect on a taxon to impacts on human populations. The U. Fish and Wildlife Service USFWS has provided an informal analysis that implies that sea lampreys have had a destructive impact on commercial and sport fish species in the Great Lakes and that reducing their numbers would provide benefits.

In addition to other population control measures, the lampricides control an invasive species that, left unchecked, would seriously compromise commercially valuable fish populations and the fisheries that have developed around them. Therefore, if lampricides are not used, the invasive lamprey could destroy the ecosystem services of commercial and recreational fish as it has done in the past. At the same time, lampricide use may lead to localized reductions in aquatic animal populations nonparasitic lampreys and other nontarget organisms from direct toxic effects on adults and developmental effects on larvae e.

Furthermore, using these lampricides may affect some ecosystem services e. These negative effects of lampricides on ecosystem services would need to be considered in a comprehensive analysis. Nevertheless, recovery from sea lamprey infestation of a commercial or sport fishery across all of the Great Lakes could take decades, whereas the direct disruptive effects of the lampricides on aquatic communities are relatively confined spatially and temporally. Ultimately, this ERA might have benefited from additional evaluation of ecosystem services, such as biomass of harvestable fish and habitat quality.

Having such data might have helped tie the use of lampricides to endpoints that people value, such as food production and recreational opportunities, and to nonuse services, such as the cultural and esthetic opportunities offered by the tributary and lake ecosystems. The Agency developed guidance for the regions and states on reviewing surface coal mining operations under the CWA Stoner and Giles In support of that guidance, an assessment was performed to develop a benchmark value for conductivity USEPA Summary of the Ecological Risk Assessment and Decision The assessment used the standard method for deriving ambient water quality criteria of calculating the fifth percentile of a species-sensitivity distribution.

Field data, however, were used in place of laboratory data.

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The response was extirpation of macroinvertebrate genera. Hence, the assessment endpoint was protection of 95 percent of invertebrate genera from extirpation. Because a benchmark that was consistent with established policies and procedures for water quality criteria was desired, substituting an ecosystem services endpoint was not necessary to set the level.

Some stakeholders questioned, however, the importance of stream macroinvertebrates, particularly the sensitive mayflies. Responses to stakeholders described macroinvertebrates as important food for fish and for the retention of nutrients. The responses were included in the document that appears as Appendix B. The descriptions of macroinvertebrate ecosystem services made the benchmark more understandable and acceptable. Hence, even when quantification of ecological benefits is not required or even appropriate, describing the ecosystem services associated with assessment endpoints can be critical to effective communication.

The communication function of ecosystem services can make an important contribution to most ecological assessments. As noted in the proposed rule for CRLF critical habitat, Section 4 of the ESA requires that the designation of critical habitat consider economic and other relevant impacts. The endpoints for the primary constituent elements included space for individual and population growth and for normal behavior; food, water, air, light, minerals or other nutritional or physiological requirements; cover or shelter; sites for breeding, reproduction and rearing or development of offspring; and habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative of the historic geographical and ecological distributions of a species.

It is used in agriculture, residential gardens, public recreation areas and public health pest control programs. When applied in accordance with the rate of application and safety precautions specified on the label, Malathion can be used to kill mosquitoes without posing unreasonable risks to human health or the environment. Several comments on the proposed rule stated that the USFWS's economic analysis "failed to provide a balanced assessment of economic benefits such as water filtering and general habitat protection and costs in relation to the revised proposed critical habitat designation.

The USFWS did not consider "broader social values" as described by the benefit categories outlined by commenters as part of these "more conventionally defined economic impacts" and did not include them in economic assessments. Further, the USFWS said that, as a practical matter, quantification of these types of values is challenging. Similarly, the Malathion ERA used primary constituent elements as assessment endpoints.

Economic considerations were incorporated into the management decision but only to the extent that the value of the pesticide in its use was considered. Ecological benefits associated with preserving habitat or ecosystem services derived from that habitat protection were not included in the ERA or in the management decision. Lessons from the Case Study The USFWS did not consider the full spectrum of ecological benefits of habitat protection, although such valuation could be legally considered within a benefit-cost analysis. The ESA is silent about how costs and benefits are to be weighed and determined.

The incorporation of ecosystem service valuation in the primary constituent elements of any land assessed and evaluated for exclusion from critical habitat designation might result in a net increase of the land's value for protection when balanced against its value for other purposes, altering the final management determination. This same logic could be extended to any ERA conducted to evaluate the effect of a pesticide on an endangered species. Whether ERAs intended to inform decisions involving listed species would be enhanced by ecosystem service concepts remains unclear because the ESA and associated regulations clearly define the information that is needed for decisions.

Summary of the Ecological Risk Assessment and Decision The endpoints considered in the SLERA included survival, growth and reproduction of representative bird and mammal species food chain exposure , amphibian and crustacean species surface water exposure and the benthic community sediment and water exposure. A baseline ecological risk assessment BERA then was performed based on the results of the SLERA's finding of potential risks to ecological receptors from three primary contaminants of concern: polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs , arsenic and mercury.

Abundance and production endpoints were considered in the BERA: aquatic macroinvertebrate and terrestrial invertebrate communities sediment exposure , estuarine fish populations and community structure water and tissue exposure and wildlife abundance food chain exposure. Potential risks in specific areas of the site identified in the BERA included impacts from contaminated river sediment and marsh areas on the benthic community, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and aquatic mammals such as muskrats.

Fish populations were not considered to be at risk. In selecting a remedial alternative, EPA based its decision on consideration of the site investigation and risk assessment, CERCLA requirements, analysis of response measures and public comments. The remedial action determined by EPA was full excavation and restoration of the marsh and deep dredge and cover for the river sediments.

Ecosystem services were not explicitly considered in the ERA for this site. In making the remediation decisions, however, EPA indirectly considered the impact on human uses when assessing estuarine fishes. Based on PCB levels in selected fish species and blue crabs in the Raritan River near the site, contaminant concentrations in locally collected crabs and fish were compared to State of New Jersey fishing advisories.

Elevated concentrations, however, were not found. Lessons from the Case Study Local community comments on EPA's proposed remedial measures generally were concerned with the sufficiency of protective measures.


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One comment reflected concern that the costs of remediation were high in contrast to a perceived minimal risk to humans. A remedial decision that offers little or no improvement to human health does not exclude other benefits to the ecosystem or to humans. Explicitly considering and communicating ecosystem services in the ERA related to the selection of remedial actions likely would have changed the assessment of risks and public acceptance of the remedial decisions.

The remedial action included onsite restoration of six acres of wetlands that should restore the ecosystem services of the marsh, including changing from a lower value Phragmites marsh to a more diverse, higher functioning system. EPA also could have communicated the benefit of restoring services provided by clean river sediments, which might have reduced public concerns. The benefits of site remediation include restoration of ecosystem services associated with recreational uses, water purification and flood stage reduction.

Observations from Case Studies The case studies summarized here and described fully in Appendix B serve as examples for how ecosystem service assessment endpoints could complement conventional assessment endpoints in Agency ERAs. For the most part, the case studies suggest how decisions could be informed or communicated better by incorporating ecosystem service assessment endpoints more explicitly in the ERAs supporting a broad range of decisions made by the Agency.

As described in Section 2. The endpoints were included largely because ecosystem service assessment endpoints were determined to be consistent with the language of the CAA. Including them provided additional meaningful input to considerations of various options regarding the secondary standard and facilitated communication to EPA's Administrator and the public about the ramifications associated with those options. The stream invertebrate case study illustrated how descriptions of ecosystem services associated with macroinvertebrates, provided as an addendum to the ERA, helped in communicating the salinity benchmark decision, rendering it more understandable and acceptable.

The hazardous waste site case study suggested that the public's perceptions and acceptance of site cleanup costs might have been enhanced had ecosystem service assessment endpoints been included in the ERA and the long-term ecological benefits of ecosystem services improvements been communicated. Even for Agency actions that potentially affect listed species, which have assessment requirements delineated clearly by the ESA and associated regulations, ecosystem service assessment endpoints could provide information about the ecological benefits of various decision alternatives that might alter management determinations, as suggested by the listed species case study.

Some of the case studies highlighted the linkages that can be made between conventional assessment endpoints and the endpoints linked more closely to ecological benefits. Although the more obvious ones tied production of fishery species to recreational and food availability benefits, nonuse benefits also were suggested. The case study illustration text boxes provided in this section convey some of the potential relationships between conventional assessment endpoints and ecosystem service assessment endpoints.

These advantages should contribute positively to the risk assessment and management process. Next Steps 6. Technical Reference Development The integration of ecosystem service assessment endpoints into the technical reference guide on generic ecosystem assessment endpoints GEAE is recommended based on the technical information provided here. Ecosystem service endpoints are useful in the ecological risk assessment ERA process. Their use can improve the extent to which the impacts and issues associated with ecosystem function are considered in the assessment and the decision-making process.

Incorporating ecosystem services into the decision- making process enables decision makers to better balance considerations of environmental, ecological and social elements and move toward making better-informed, sustainable decisions. The development of generic ecosystem service assessment endpoints will facilitate their consideration and use during problem formulation. Generic ecosystem service assessment endpoints that are responsive to the decision should be tailored to the environmental and decision contexts of the assessment.

By including these endpoints, environmental management decisions are likely to be made more holistically, thereby minimizing the potential for unintended consequences that might result from those decisions. The ecosystem services construct provides an opportunity to integrate quantitatively or qualitatively human well-being in ecological decision making.

As shown by the case study examples, the decision context is critical to determining which ecosystem services would be useful to the decision-making process. In some cases, the qualitative outputs of the risk assessment, such as a list of goods and services that are jeopardized by the predicted ecological effects, is sufficient to inform a decision e. In other cases, monetization of the ecological benefits that are associated with the ecosystem services affected and the tradeoffs between alternative decision options can be helpful.

In such cases, ecosystem service assessment endpoints should be selected that are conducive to monetization. This process may require involving economists in the endpoint selection process. Worth noting, however, is that some attributes of organisms, populations and communities e. Therefore, conventional ecological assessment endpoints still should be used in ERAs. Ecosystem service assessment endpoints can complement conventional ecological assessment endpoints by clarifying to stakeholders and the public the benefits and costs that a given decision will have on society.

Challenges to their routine inclusion in risk assessments remain, however, as demonstrated in several of the case studies. Information gaps in the chain of relationships between effects on ecological endpoints, such as the abundance of a fish population, and effects on human welfare might be unknown, or might be only modeled. Thus, the need to advance the knowledge base to enable widespread adoption of this method is ongoing.

Adopting a standardized lexicon of ecosystem services terms and definitions is important to facilitate communication and understanding Munns et al. Also key will be expanding the list of GEAEs to include explicitly those that incorporate ecosystem services. The communication of ecosystem services concepts and research results through training opportunities for ecological risk assessors and risk managers is recommended to enable them to understand more fully how ecosystem services can be used in the ERA process.

Decisions may be based on the incremental changes in effects, and quantifying these changes can have a high impact on the decision. Examples of such tools identified in the case studies include those that quantify, visualize and evaluate anticipated impacts of hazardous waste site remediation decisions, pesticide reregistration decisions and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standard decisions on ecosystem services.

Literature Cited Boyd, J. Cairns, J. Carriger, J. Costanza, R.

Geographical coverage

Farber, M. Grasso, B. Hannon, K. Limburg, S.

Ecosystem Services - Concept, Methods and Case Studies

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    Introduction

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    King, J. Salzman, and J. Valuation Methods Ecosystem services contribute to the welfare of humans and society. People benefit when decisions affecting the environment enhance ecosystem services. Yet in many situations, multiple options or alternatives might exist for the environmental decision being made.