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Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision–Making Appendix A Summary of Related NRC Reports
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Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision–Making Report Summary of Content Relevant to Committee’s Charge Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology, and Public Policy (1992) Outlines a national strategy for restoring the nation’s aquatic ecosystems. The report discusses aquatic ecosystem functions in a larger ecological landscape greatly influenced by other components of the hydrologic cycle, including adjacent terrestrial systems. Because existing environmental decisions are often fragmented, the report suggests that analysis of aquatic ecosystems should be integrated into the larger ecological landscape, especially in the issue of restoration. It recommends that an aquatic ecosystem restoration strategy be developed for the nation, which includes innovation in financing and use of land and water markets Assigning Economic Value to Natural Resources (1994) Explores the major issues and controversies associated with incorporating natural resources and the environment into economic accounts. It also responds to the many discussions on how to make U. S. economic indicators, such as gross national product (GNP), reflect the state of the environment more accurately. The first section of the report, based largely on the results of a three- day workshop of experts in the field, discusses the possibilities and pitfalls in so- called “green” accounting. This is followed by a selection of nine individually authored papers on scientific aspects of related issues Wetlands: Characteristics and Boundaries (1995) Establishes a reference definition of wetlands, providing a standard by which regulatory definitions and actions can be assessed, and recommends changes in current U. S. regulatory practices to strengthen objectivity and scientific validity. The report includes a section on functional assessment of wetlands that discusses requirements and existing and future methods of wetlands functional assessments. It recommends analysis of these functions with emphasis on interactions between wetlands and their surroundings and on various classes of wetlands in a specific region Valuing Ground Water: Economic Concepts and Approaches (1997) Examines approaches for assessing the economic value of groundwater and the costs of contaminating or depleting this resource. It also suggests a framework for policymakers and managers to use in evaluating trade- offs when there are competing uses for groundwater. The report also discusses a number of approaches to value services of nonmarket goods—in this case, groundwater, which is a unique resource and has no close substitute
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Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision–Making Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade (1999a) Provides guidance on formulating a framework for future U. S. research on global environmental change. The report recommends improving decisions on global change, more specifically, how to improve the estimation of nonmarket values of environmental resources and their incorporation into national accounts. It also provides suggestions for how to bring formal analyses together with judgments and to better respond to decision- making needs Nature’s Numbers (1999b) Recommends how to incorporate environmental and other nonmarket measures into the nation's income and product accounts. The report explores alternative approaches to environmental accounting, including those used internationally, and addresses issues such as how to measure the stocks of natural resources and how to value nonmarket activities and assets. Specific applications to subsoil minerals, forests, and clean air illustrate how the general principles can be applied Ecological Indicators for the Nation (2000a) Provides a framework for selecting indicators that define ecological conditions and processes, along with recommendations on several specific indicators for gauging the integrity of the nation’s ecosystems. Specifically, the report lists five indicators for ecological functioning: (1) production capacity as a measure of the energy- capturing capacity of the terrestrial ecosystems; (2) net primary production, a measure of the amount of energy and carbon that has been brought into the ecosystem; (3) carbon storage, the amount sequestered or released by ecosystems; (4) stream oxygen, an indicator of the ecological functioning of flowing- water ecosystems; and (5) trophic status of lakes, an indicator for aquatic productivity. In addition to these five indicators, soil condition, land use, and their relationship to ecosystem functioning are also discussed Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy (2000b) Evaluates the New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), a comprehensive watershed management plan that allows the city to avoid filtration of its large upstate surface water supply. Many of the report’s recommendations are broadly applicable to surface water supplies across the country, including those concerning target buffer zones, stormwater management, water quality monitoring, and effluent trading. One of its recommendations is for New York City to lead efforts in quantifying the contributions of watershed management to overall reduction of risk from watersheds from waterborne pathogens
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Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision–Making Report Summary of Content Relevant to Committee’s Charge Assessing the TMDL Approach to Water Quality Management (2001a) Reviews the scientific basis underlying the development and implementation of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s total maximum daily load (TMDL) program for water pollution reduction. The report includes a section on decision uncertainty that discusses a broad-based approach to address water resource problems in order to arrive at a more integrative diagnosis of the cause of degradation Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act (2001b) Evaluates mitigation practices as a means to restore or maintain the quality of the nation’s wetlands in the context of the Clean Water Act. The report discusses the array of approaches to and issues associated with wetlands functional assessment in relation to the national goals of “no net loss of wetlands” Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty- First Century (2001c) Discusses the future of the nation’s water resources and appropriate research needed to promote sustainable management of these resources. The report recommends developing new methods for estimating the value of nonmarketed attributes of water resources Riparian Areas: Functions and Strategies for Management (2002) Examines the structures and functioning of riparian areas, including impacts of human activities on riparian areas, the legal status, and the potential for management and restoration of these areas. The report discusses the environmental services of riparian areas; that is, fundamental ecological processes that they provide in the presence or absence of humans. It concludes that few federal statutes refer expressly to riparian values and as a consequence, generally do not require or ensure protection of these areas. Further, it recommends that Congress enact legislation that recognizes the values of riparian areas and directs federal land management and regulatory agencies to give greater priority to their protection
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Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision–Making REFERENCES NRC (National Research Council). 1992. Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology, and Public Policy. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 1994. Assigning Economic Value to Natural Resources: Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 1995. Wetlands: Characteristics and Boundaries. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC, 1997. Valuing Ground Water: Economic Concepts and Approaches. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 1999a. Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 1999b. Nature’s Numbers. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2000a. Ecological Indicators for the Nation. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2000b. Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2001a. Assessing the TMDL Approach to Water Quality Management. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2001b. Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2001c. Envisioning the Agenda for Water Resources Research in the Twenty-First Century. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2002. Riparian Areas: Functions and Strategies for Management. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
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