|Ecosystem Services Decision Support: A Living Database of Existing Tools, Approaches, and Techniques for Supporting Decisions Related to Ecosystem Services: Science Brief (EPA/600/R-09/102) February 2010
Planners and decision makers are challenged to consider not only direct market costs, but also ecological externalities. There is an increasing emphasis on ecosystem services in the context of human well-being and, therefore, the valuation and accounting of ecosystem services is becoming an integral component of economic efficiency. Depending on the type of decision to be made, associated ecosystem services may be quantified by using a variety of approaches that could consider deterministic physical and chemical processes, known empirical relationships, and/or socioeconomic valuation methods. There are existing lists and directories that emphasize process modeling to evaluate results of water resources decisions, changes in mass and energy budgets, and other direct physical manipulations. These can be found on several governmental and nongovernmental websites. In the context of decisions that affect ecosystem services, ecological externalities may be quantified using process models, but there may be tools and techniques that consider broader measures. The Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network has developed a database of tools that consider bundled ecosystem services emphasizing coastal and marine systems. The database augments the scope of ecosystem services in the broad sense of decision support related to the EPA’s Ecosystem Services Research Program. The purpose is to provide an evolving searchable database of tools, approaches, and techniques that can be applied in analytic-deliberative decision-support processes accounting for improving decisions that may affect ecosystem services.
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