Ecosystem Services in the Mid-Atlantic United States
John F. Paul 1, Jane L. Copeland 2, Patricia Bradley 3 and Michael E. McDonald 1
1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) RTP, NC
2 Computer Sciences Corporation, Narragansett, RI
3 USEPA, Atlantic Ecology Division, Narragansett, RI
Ecological resources have both extrinsic and intrinsic values. These range from the direct economic values derived from resource harvests, to inherently ecological characteristics that are necessary for ecosystems to continue functioning, and finally to societal value that humans place on the protection of natural ecosystems. The Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment individual resource reports have used indicators to describe the quality of ecological resources and to report on condition of those resources. Here, indicator is taken to be a characteristic that can be measured to assess the status and trends in the ability of the environment to support an ecological condition or desired human use. What is missing from the individual reports is information related to the value of the ecological systems. One approach to address this is through the ecosystem services valuation of Costanza et al (1997). They assigned monetary values for the world's ecosystem services and natural capital for 17 ecosystem services and 16 biomes. These ecosystem services are over and above what is typically considered in market value, e.g., market value of timber production or crop harvest. This approach has been applied directly to Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The base map of the Mid-Atlantic ecological resources is the NLCD land cover dataset produced from Landsat TM images from the early 1990s. The global monetary values for ecosystem services compiled by Costanza et al. (1997) were applied directly to the Mid-Atlantic resource base map to produce an initial ecosystem valuation for the region. Shortcomings of this application and procedures to alleviate these are presented.