Natural Capital Symposium
Rehnquist Courtyard, Stanford University
March 23rd, 2015 at 5:30pm
World Wildlife Fund
Oregon State University
Leah Bremer; Eddie Game
Natural Capital Project; The Nature Conservancy
Natural Capital Project
Miguel N. Bugalho
WWF MedPO and University of Lisbon, Portugal
Montclair State University
Gabriela Teixeira Duarte
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Tammy Elwell; Alvaro Montaña Soto
University of California Santa Barbara; Center for the Study and Conservation of Natural Heritage
San Diego State University
University of California Santa Barbara
Natural Capital Project
Perrine Hamel; Benjamin Bryant
Natural Capital Project
Center for Ocean Solutions
University of Hawai’i at Hilo
Natural Capital Project
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Steven J. Lutz
Laia Mallén; Gonzalo Vergara; Adrian Vogl
Centro de Estudio y Conservación del Patrimonio Natural; Natural Capital Project
Blue Climate Solutions
Eliana Ortiz Muñoz
Universidad de los Andes
Grace Newman; Tsegaye Nega
Bruna Fatiche Pavani
Technological Institute of the Aeronautics
Bruna Fatiche Pavani
Technological Institute of the Aeronautics
University of Washington
Andre da Silva Dias
World Wildlife Fund
Aaron L. Strong
Madhu Verma et al.
Indian Institute of Forest Management
Plymouth State University
Nirmal Bhagabati World Wildlife Fund
We used InVEST to map carbon, water yield, sediment retention and coastal vulnerability in Tanintharyi region, Myanmar. These analyses are being used to support WWF’s work to promote a “green economy” future for Myanmar, in which the sustainable use of natural capital is integrated into the country’s economic development.
Reuben Biel Oregon State University
The U.S. Pacific Northwest (PNW) has one of the strongest wave climates on Earth, and may experience storm intensification and sea level rise (SLR) in the coming decades. Thus, coastal hazards present a growing threat to the sustainability of coastal communities and ecosystems. Additionally, invasive beachgrasses (Ammophila spp.) have created tall foredunes that provide coastal protection, but simultaneously harm some native flora and fauna. To mitigate these effects, federal and state agencies removed Ammophila from multiple PNW locations and plan to expand removal efforts in the future. Because coastal conditions are changing from invasions, dune restoration, and climate change, we ask: (1) How does Ammophila removal affect coastal vulnerability to flooding and erosion? (2) How will SLR and changing storminess affect coastal vulnerability at both restored (i.e., Ammophila removal) and unrestored dunes? (3) Does Ammophila removal create a tradeoff between coastal protection and conservation ecosystem services? To address these questions, we conducted foredune vegetation and topographic surveys at 7 Ammophila removal and nearby control sites in 2012. We then utilized XBeach, a process-based model for wave propagation and sediment transport, to estimate flooding and erosion during current and projected 30-year storm scenarios, and the Bruun rule to estimate erosion from SLR.
We found that site-level characteristics and storm conditions predominantly determined flooding and erosion susceptibility, while Ammophila removal explained a lesser, albeit still significant, amount of flooding and erosion variability in XBeach simulations. Ammophila removal reduced foredune toe and crest elevations by an average 1.4 ± 0.4 m and 2.2 ± 0.5 m, respectively, and increased the odds of flooding by 7.2 fold. Increased surge and storminess further raised overtopping odds by 4.2 fold and 1.2 fold, respectively. For erosion, Ammophila removal negligibly impacted volumetric erosion during a 30-year storm, while site and storm characteristics explained the majority of erosion variability. While Ammophila removal significantly increased dune retreat, the magnitude of increase remains small relative to site, storminess, and surge effects. For SLR-related erosion, sites that were least susceptible to erosion during extreme storms were most vulnerability to erosion from SLR, indicating a potential tradeoff between SLR and storm resistance. Because PNW dune restoration areas (i.e., Ammophila removal areas) are typically 100-300m in width, SLR- and storm-related erosion may significantly reduce the size and conservation value of dune restoration areas. Further, because substantial site-to-site variability in coastal vulnerability exists, current and proposed dune restoration areas should consider site-specific vulnerability in site selection, planning, and management.
Leah Bremer and Eddie Game Natural Capital Project; The Nature Conservancy
Growing interest in the equity and sustainability of water funds and other investment in watershed services programs has spurred interest in evaluation of program impacts on ecosystem services and human well-being. Yet, programs often lack a systematic framework to select indicators that are both important to stakeholders and relevant to hypothesized program impact. To fill this gap, we developed a participatory indicator selection methodology and piloted it in Fondo Agua por La Vida y la Sostenibilidad in the East Cauca Valley Colombia. We started by linking program activities to anticipated ecological and socio-economic impacts through stakeholder developed results chains. Using results chains as the framework, we constructed fuzzy cognitive models to explore the relative impact of program activities on social and ecological attributes. To prioritize indicators to monitor, we combined our fuzzy modeling results with an assessment of the perceived importance of different attributes for stakeholders in the water fund. We used the selected indicators to design a monitoring program that will allow the water fund to track and communicate its impact over the long-term.
Benjamin Bryant Natural Capital Project
We apply an integrated modeling framework to both target and value watershed management interventions in the Upper Tana watershed, which provides municipal water, irrigation water, and hydropower services to Nairobi and surrounding areas. The analysis begins by applying an index model approach that incorporates existing land use and land surface characteristics to prioritize the type and location of conservation investments in different subbasins, subject to budget constraints and stakeholder concerns (Resource Investment Optimization System -- RIOS). We then run the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) using the RIOS-identified investment scenarios to produce spatially explicit scenarios that simulate changes in water yield and suspended sediment. Finally, we link those biophysical outputs to monetary and non-monetary human well-being metrics for multiple benefit streams, including: Reduced water treatment costs, increased hydropower production, and crop yield benefits for upstream farmers in the conservation area. The viability of a payment for watershed services scheme is discussed, with attention to the various components of value assessed and to dependencies on water management approaches. While other studies have examined links between land use and the provision of hydrologic services, this study is novel in that it presents an integrated analysis that targets interventions in a decision context and then relies on calibrated, process-based, biophysical models to demonstrate the return on those investments considering multiple (and sometimes competing) hydrological services, doing so at a sub-annual time-scale.
Miguel N. Bugalho WWF MedPO and University of Lisbon, Portugal
Cork oak (Quercus suber) ecosystems are evergreen oak woodlands typical of the Western Mediterranean Basin. When sustainable managed these ecosystems generate ecosystems services, such as long-term carbon storage or prevention of severe wildfires, and sustain plant and vertebrate species of conservation concern. Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a conservation tool that can be used to promote the sustainable use of cork oak ecosystems. Here we describe a PES-like scheme which aims to incentivize the sustainable management of cork oak landscapes of Southern Portugal. Under this scheme an industrial bottle corporation, Coca-Cola, committed to pay a fee to those cork oak landowners located in areas important for the conservation of water and biodiversity. To enter the PES scheme cork oak landowners must comply with forest management practices validated through forest certification. Target areas for PES implementation were identified using the High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) framework, associated to a WebGIS mapping tool that integrates publicly available information of biodiversity values and ecosystem services of southern Portugal.
Pralhad Burli Montclair State University
The United States is the largest consumer of petroleum products in the world, a significant portion of which is imported from politically unstable regions. This reliance on imported fossil fuel entails economic, social and environmental concerns. Woody bioenergy has the potential to reduce the gap between domestic energy demand and supply, diversify energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide other socio-economic and environmental benefits. The Southern states of the US account for a third of the nation’s forestland and wood supply. Under this study, we assessed the likelihood of forestland owners’ willingness to participate in the woody biofuel markets by supplying loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) and slash pine (Pinus elliottii L.) from their existing land or by allocating non-forested land to grow pine. Using this information we estimated the likely changes in local ecosystem services at different bid values.
We collected primary data using a mail-survey instrument for randomly selected private forestland owners in Virginia. We included four different bid values ($800, $1035, $1270, $1500) representing per acre revenue accruing to forestland owners from the sale of biomass. Preliminary analyses of the survey data show that most landowners are aware of forest biomass based biofuels. Their willingness to supply land varies with price, and more than one third of respondents are willing to plant pine for energy production on non-forest land including cropland, pasture land and grazing land. Our analysis suggests that respondents with pasture/grazing land greater than 65 acres have higher odds for planting non-forested land with pine compared to those with smaller land holdings. This information was used to determine different potential ecosystem service scenarios regarding biomass harvest and land use change. One of the ecosystem service scenarios developed deals with carbon sequestration associated with the harvest of pine on non-forested land that respondents were willing to allocate at given bid values. Using survey responses pertaining to previous land use, proportion of land being converted to pine, amount of wood harvested, we computed the change in carbon stocks based on “average estimates” using look-up tables. Our approach can be used to unravel the other ecosystem outcomes that may arise from the development of woody biomass markets.
Gabriela Teixeira Duarte Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
As already has been cited in scientific literature, there is an urgent need that decision makers incorporate areas with the best trade-offs and win-wins between services, biodiversity conservation and economic activities. Here, we take as our region of study the Iron Quadrangle, an important Brazilian mining province and a conservation priority area located in the interface of two biodiversity hotspots, the Cerrado and Atlantic Forest biomes. We used InVEST software and a set of GIS procedures to quantify and spatialize ecosystem services – habitat quality, carbon stock and sediment retention – and evaluated the overlap between them. In addition, we proposed a method to indicate priority areas with synergism between ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation. We also improved the habitat quality model with a topography parameter, and used a model that consider the tree mortality caused by edge effects in the estimative of carbon stock. We found low spatial congruence between the services modeled, mostly because of the pattern of sediment retention distribution. The method allowed us to successfully achieve a spatial plan for ecosystem services priority areas in the region, with 13% of the study area indicated as priority for the maintenance of key ecosystem services. Among those priority areas, 30% are within already established strictly protected areas and 12% are in sustainable use protected areas. We considered ecosystem services analysis very important in the Iron Quadrangle region because of increasing mining pressures that could generate high social and economic externalities costs.
Tammy Elwell and Alvaro Montaña Soto University of California Santa Barbara; Center for the Study and Conservation of Natural Heritage
This poster showcases work completed during a pilot year of collaboration between the Center for the Study and Conservation of Natural Heritage (CECPAN), a non-governmental organization based in Southern Chile, and the Natural Capital Project. To inform environmental decisionmaking regarding wind energy development on coasts, we applied the InVEST models of recreation and scenic quality. To inform the use of best management practices in agriculture, we applied models of soil retention and habitat risk assessment. We learned many lessons in applying an ecosystem services approach to decision contexts. You can listen to our story at the Pathways to Impact: Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning segment.
Kathleen Farley San Diego State University
Payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs have been advocated for their potential to join conservation and poverty alleviation efforts, and Ecuadorian páramo grasslands have rapidly become the focus of PES due to their high ecosystem services value – in particular for water and carbon – and the high poverty levels among páramo communities. These programs incentivize changes in land use or management that involve planting trees (either pine or the Andean tree, Polylepis racemosa) or excluding burning; however, limited information is available on the outcomes of these changes. In order to fill this gap, we evaluated the outcomes of these land-use changes for carbon storage and the outcomes of participation in PES for the livelihoods of participants.
We found that planting pine is effective for sequestering carbon in tree biomass, but in terms of soil carbon it is comparable to an agricultural site. In contrast, Polylepis racemosa had no discernable effect on soil carbon, but also had little effect on aboveground carbon, at least at the early stage of stand development observed. The results suggest that limiting burning may have some potential for increasing carbon storage; although there was not a clear pattern in soil carbon, aboveground carbon was high in the unburned grasslands, suggesting that carbon storage strategies in these grasslands could lessen their focus on tree planting. In terms of contribution to local livelihoods, we found that low conservation opportunity costs associated with pre-existing constraints on land use and the existence of alternative livelihood options facilitated largely positive financial capital outcomes. However, we found reduced financial capital among some smaller and medium-sized landholders who were required to eliminate burning and grazing, demonstrating how divergent outcomes have begun to emerge among different groups of SocioPáramo participants. Our results provide insight into the outcomes of PES in páramo grasslands and lessons for PES program design.
Grace Goldberg University of California Santa Barbara
SeaSketch is a web-based decision support tool for collaborative marine spatial planning (MSP). The mapping platform was built to support a geodesign workflow for iterative science-based planning. Sketching and simulation tools are paired with discussion forums and surveys to meet a broad set of process needs. As many planning processes also employ analytical decision-support tools, such as Marxan and InVest, we have developed analytics and workflows to fluidly combine the two approaches -- where geodesign starts with user-contributed spatial plans and optimization starts with model-generated proposals. This integration in SeaSketch allows planners to take advantage of both collaborative design and sophisticated predictive modeling in one intuitive interface.
Jesse Gourevitch Natural Capital Project
Application of nitrogen fertilizers benefits farmers by increasing crop yields, but also results in negative external costs to society. These costs include degradation of water quality and damages from air emissions. Here, we present a spatially-explicit method for estimating the damage costs of nitrogen applied as agricultural fertilizer. We estimate that the annual value of statewide costs associated with nitrate contamination ranges from $1.6 to $3.8 million for private well owners and is $3 million for public water suppliers. Annual damages from greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer application cost $96 million and damages from nitrogen oxides and ammonia emissions cost $791 due to expected premature deaths from small particulate matter. These cost estimates are spatially heterogeneous and are clustered in particular regions of the state. Using these spatially-explicit damage cost estimates, policy interventions can be better targeted for improved nitrogen fertilizer management.
Perrine Hamel and Benjamin Bryant Natural Capital Project
The increasing use of biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) assessments to inform decision making has not accompanied by a systematic characterization of the uncertainty associated with the methodologies. This has consequences on the studies’ findings and on the science-based decisions that are informed by these studies.
In this work (in progress), we summarize and critique the most common reasons why scientists fail to conduct adequate uncertainty analysis in BES assessments. We provide links to guidance documents and to the body of literature concerned with the necessity and challenges to conduct uncertainty assessment. We argue that since BES science is based on a multiplicity of disciplines (ecology, economics, environmental modeling, decision-support science), there is a huge body of literature that scientists (researchers or practitioners) can draw upon to identify, quantify, and communicate uncertainties. The obstacles to better incorporating uncertainty into BES assessments are therefore more related to difficulties in navigating this literature than they are related to a need for new techniques – though some issues are specific to BES assessment and will benefit from advances in emerging fields like data visualization and behavioral science.
Given the abundance of discipline-specific guidance, adoption of best practices could be enhanced by the translation of key uncertainty assessment concepts to BES practice. By identifying specific challenges and pointing to key literature, this synthesis is a first step at providing better guidance for BES scientists and help increase the credibility of BES assessments.
Eric Hartge Center for Ocean Solutions
To support decision makers in their efforts to manage coastal resources in a changing climate the Natural Capital Project and the Center for Ocean Solutions are engaging in, informing, and helping to shape climate adaptation planning at various scales throughout coastal California. Cities and counties make significant investments in water supply, transportation, sewer, shoreline protection, ports, and recreational areas. These planning decisions will have consequences for the future health of coastal ecosystems, particularly in light of climate impacts. With credible information about the role that natural systems play in each of these investment choices, cities and counties can save money and conserve natural assets while achieving their development goals. Our team is building collaborations with regional planners and local scientific and legal experts to provide science-based information on the role of natural capital that is relevant to local climate adaptation decisions. We will present our approach and methodology from recent case studies conducted along the California central coast.
Hanna Helsingen WWF Myanmar
Roads and other transport infrastructure are necessary for Myanmar’s economic development, but they are also significant drivers of biodiversity loss and pose threats to the integrity of ecosystems and the essential benefits they provide to the people of Myanmar. Roads, railways, airports, harbours and other transport infrastructure can have a severe impact on the natural environment, including deforestation during construction, fragmentation of habitats and land use change due to increased accessibility. Without proper ecological infrastructure planning and mitigation measures, fragmentation can have large effects on wildlife and reduce biodiversity.
Ecosystems provide important benefits by protecting roads and other infrastructure from natural hazards such as landslides and flooding, and reducing deterioration by protecting against erosion. Investment in transport is often justified on the grounds that the movement of goods, services and workers is vital for economic growth. Understanding how transport systems that people rely on for movement depend on ecosystems services can help promote how these should be protected and restored. This poster will showcase the work being done in terms of mapping natural capital, assessing design and mitigation measures and demonstrating the socio-economic impacts through green economy modeling.
Viet Hoang WWF Vietnam
Ben Tre is one of 13 Mekong Delta provinces, it is considered to be at high-risk due to its topography and geomorphology. Since the coasts were predicted to be highly vulnerable to climate change, three coastal areas were considered for the case study. Communities in these three coastal districts depended on mangroves, estuaries, and sand dunes in the area. The site was selected based on discussion with the national stakeholder group consisting of different ministries and departments. The administrative boundary of these districts was taken as the boundary of the site area for case study.
Ben Tre province is already experiencing climate change. Average temperature has risen by an estimated 0.05 - 0.15oC in each decade of the 20th century; between 1990 and 2005, the annual average temperatures increased by an average of 0.3o. The trend in rainfall in Ben Tre has been inconsistent between 1990 and 2006, and can be divided into two main phases: (1) from 1990 to 1998, average annual rainfall increased by 319.28 mm total, for an average annual increase of 35.5 mm/year; and (2) from 1998 to 2006, average annual rainfall decreased
The assessment of the impact of climate change on the ecosystem services can be done through scenario analysis using tools such as InVEST. Data layers that reflect climate change scenarios (e.g. sea level rise, change in precipitation) will be used as input parameters in the models.
There are four key ecosystems associated livelihood dependent activities in the coastal areas of the province. These ecosystems and their livelihood dependent activities are:
1. Estuarine ecosystem and captured fisheries;
2. Mangrove ecosystem and extensive/intensive shrimp farming;
3. Intertidal mudflats and sandbars ecosystem and bivalve farming; and
4. Sand dune ecosystem and vegetable plantation
Scenarios related to the influence of ecosystem status on climate change adaptation are heavily influenced by amounts and configuration of different land uses. Given this, the analysis team established a base map representing today’s land cover condition by combining a land use map provided by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment with some refinements taken from classifying 2010 Spot satellite imagery.
The map is a starting point, three scenarios were developed representing what the land use/land cover condition of the area would likely look like in 2020 given various assumptions about agricultural, irrigation, and settlement patterns: business as usual, development, and conservation. Possible climate change-induced changes to the biophysical condition of each of these were held constant to facilitate comparison of factors that are/will be largely in the hands of decision-makers and individual and community behavior and land use on the ground
The InVEST models (Coastal Vulnerability, Coastal Protection and Carbon Storage and Sequestration) were applied in quantifying Ecosystem services. The primary differentiating factor between scenarios was coastal land use under the three scenarios discussed above.
The changing of natural habitats under the three scenarios will negatively and positively affect the ability of coastal zones to face climate change and natural disaster. The model generated three scenarios of coastal vulnerability. Risk level is ranking from very low risk to extreme risk. In most cases, the area without mangroves and the estuarial areas have a high value of risk; those areas affected by tide and strong flow of river, and where landslide and erosion occur frequently.
In general, all of scenarios showing that the coastal areas in Binh Dai district (less and thin mangrove belt) are more vulnerable to storm surges and sea level rise than Ba Tri and Thanh Phu district (with more and thick mangrove belt). The river mouths that have mangrove and sea/river dike (Ba Tri river mouth) are more resilient than the areas that do not have either mangroves or sea/river dikes. The coastal areas are more affected by northeast monsoon, especially the areas faced to the northeast, even in Thanh Phu mangrove reserve.
The coastal communities in the development scenario are more vulnerable to weather extreme events than in the business as usual and conservation scenarios in term of lost and damaged community properties and crops due to high population concentration and investment in farming.
The coastal protection model is used to simulate the wave transmission based on the information of the tide and storm model integrated with seabed topology, habitat distribution, and biology. In most cases with mangroves existing, wave height and energy were reduced 85-95 percent when it reached the coastal line.
The observation shows that wave height and energy have been reduced 80-98 percent when it approached to the coastline thanks to the mangrove belt and sand dunes/bars, but simulated results are also illustrated that in different scenarios with different type of coastal habitats and management actions reflected to changes of wave height and energy reduction levels.
The wave energy is also reduced by 80 percent to 95 percent in different scenarios at seven observation landpoints. In most observation landpoints, wave energy under the conservation scenario is reduced by 92 to 95 percent. In the development scenario, the wave energy is ranging from 80 to 95 percent. Even in landpoint 7 the wave energy reduction is higher than conservation scenario due to building a sea dike behind the mangrove near the Co Chien river mouth
Carbon storage in the conservation scenario is much higher than other scenarios throughout the province. In other scenarios, the carbon storage is also slightly increased in most of the province, except Cho Lach district due to the increased build up areas for industry and settlement; which means the decreased area of fruit garden.
Linked Ecosystem services changes with local livelihoods:
1. Improved extensive/intensive shrimp farming (black tiger prawn and white-legged shrimp) have a medium-high risk of impacts from development and climate change;
2. Clam (Meretrix lyrata) and blood cockle (Anadata granosa) farming is at medium–high risk of climate change and development hazards. An increase in maximum annual temperature, increased salinity, changes in upstream hydrology and sediment loads, and SLR inundation, will threaten the existence of the industry;
3. Estuary capture fisheries are at medium risk of climate change and development. There is an on going investment in captured fisheries. This includes the development of ports, wholesale markets, boat shelters and seafood canning facility and industry. This continued, unsustainable, investment and development has the potential to over stretch the fisheries’ populations sand cause a collapse in the industry; and
4. Vegetable plantations (watermelon, Jicama and beans) and have a medium-high risk of climate change hazards. Watermelon crops are sensitive to an increase in rainfall. However, increased rainfall and temperature will allow other crops to flourish. A delayed wet season will also threaten the current agricultural crops and cropping cycle.
Keavuth Huy WWF Cambodia
The remaining ecosystem services in Eastern Plains Landscape are providing food, fresh water, wood and fiber, livelihood base, climate regulation, flood regulation, disease regulation, water purification, spiritual educational and recreational.
Heather Kimball University of Hawai’i at Hilo
The Hawaii state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) administers roughly 56,000 acres of land in the Humuula and Piiohonua area of Hawaii Island. This area, on the windward slopes of Mauna Kea, represents 27% of all DHHL trust lands and is the department’s largest continuous land holding. The Humuula and Piiohonua area is part of 200,000 acres set aside by the US government in 1920 under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act with the goal of returning native Hawaiians to the land in order to preserve cultural ties.
The Aina Mauna Legacy Program (AMLP) developed by DHHL in 2009 is a resource management plan for Humuula and Piiohonua that will result in a dramatically changed landscape. The goal of the AMLP is to provide a sustainable community for native Hawaiians through the integration of environmental, social and economic considerations. In this study, we used the InVEST Habitat Quality model (version 3.1.0) to quantify the improvement of native forest habitat at 50 and 100 years after implementation of the AMLP for Hawaii's endemic forest birds. Many of the native bird species present in the Humuula and Piihonua are threatened, endangered or in the case of the palila (Loxioides bailleui) critically endangered. Habitat designation, threat types, and the sensitivity of habitat for each threat type in the model were specific for our species group and based upon landscape ecology and conservation concepts regarding the endemic forest birds. Results indicate significant improvements under the first phase of the plan, which included limited homesteading and reforestation with native vegetation. The second phase of the plan includes additional homesteading, however native bird habitat will continue to be improved compared to current conditions but at lower levels compared to the first phase. This study should be considered as only a preliminary evaluation of the AMLP. This study indicates that the AMLP provides effective guidelines for the sustainable management of the Humuula and Piiohonua area with respect to native bird habitat and within the context the DHHL’s goals.
Teayeon Kim Korea University
In part of a project assessing natural capital of South Korea, we operated InVEST Habitat Quality model to evaluate relative quality of habitats in the country. We used a modified map of land cover land use map by Ministry of Environment, and used sensitivity, threat data from the sample data in the HQ model. Then we compared the map with existing biological map made by the Korean government for validation.
The biodiversity map of Korea is based on National Biological Investigation now. However, this method needs a lot of money and trained people, also it takes long period of survey so that it cannot reflect changing environment. Therefore, with the result of InVEST Habitat Quality model, we think this tool would help the government to cut expenses on biological investigation and it can complement some part of flaws with existing method.
Ginger Kowal Natural Capital Project
The InVEST livestock forage model is currently in development and will be used to assess the natural productive capacity of different locations in terms of milk and meat production from livestock. The model comprises a dynamic linkage of two existing submodels: the CENTURY model predicts production of forage biomass from soil and climate conditions, while livestock diet and physiology subroutines were adapted from the GRAZPLAN livestock management tool. In addition to a novel linkage between the two models, we have also developed a routine to back-calculate management history to match current empirical biomass. Preliminary testing results suggest that the model is able to capture important dynamics both in terms of forage quantity and quality for livestock diets. The first application of the model will be in the Laikipia region of Kenya, where we are contrasting management scenarios including integrated grazing of livestock with wildlife. The Laikipia application will extend beyond livestock production to assess the ecological, economic, human health and social cohesion outcomes of the existing land management practices in Laikipia. The model is designed to be useful in both tropical and temperate ecosystems. We are actively seeking additional locations to test the livestock forage model.
Natalie Kurashima University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Efforts to build resilience to disturbance in human and natural systems have become of great focus in recent years as the world experiences increasing environmental, social, and economic change. Human and natural systems, however, are linked in complex ways and in order to enhance resilience in communities, a better understanding of the relationships in these social-ecological systems is necessary. Coastal communities in the Pacific are often characterized by a history of disturbance. There is evidence that the use of knowledge, practice, belief systems, evolved over millennia, have allowed Pacific Island communities to become resilient in overcoming natural disasters. However, it is uncertain how traditional ecological knowledge applies in a modern context. This research aims to understand how drivers of resilience vary in communities across gradients of environmental, social, and economic conditions by addressing the following: 1) What are the main drivers of resilience to climate change/environmental change in Fijian coastal communities? 2) What combinations of land and ocean-use practices best enhance social-ecological resilience and ecosystem services in linked ridge-reef settings (Fiji and Hawai'i), under climate change scenarios?
Framework and methods will be presented, as the project is ongoing. Products sharing the results of this study will be returned to communities, government, and non-governmental organizations. Findings are useful across the Pacific for enhancing adaptive capacity in the face of climate change and increasing exploitation of natural resources.
Steven J. Lutz GRID-Arendal
Linking the value of carbon sequestration and storage to coastal and marine conservation provides an attractive solution to major challenges facing the environment: the rapid loss and degradation of marine ecosystems and the impacts of global climate change. ‘Blue Carbon’ is a term used to describe the climate change mitigation benefits of preserving, protecting, and restoring coastal and marine habitats such as mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and saltwater marshes. This poster considers global conservation opportunities for advancing Blue Carbon projects that result in improved ecosystem management. It serves as a snapshot of potential common project elements based on recent and existing projects, such as the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Blue Forests Project, and an reflects on new directions in the valuation of coastal and marine carbon services.
Laia Mallén, Gonzalo Vergara, and Adrian Vogl Centro de Estudio y Conservación del Patrimonio Natural; Natural Capital Project
Erosion and water scarcity are two critical challenges facing the Chiloé Archipelago in Chile, affecting ecosystem services to rural families and others. The area is experiencing rapid deforestation, and ongoing land clearing for timber extraction and ranching is increasing the pressure on local communities. People here rely on healthy soils to provide ecosystem services such as productivity (for small-scale farming) and regulating seasonal water supply. Given that water use in this area is primarily from surface and shallow subsurface waters, erosion and soil loss directly impact the availability of water to users.
This study aims to evaluate this situation and provide information to promote better management decisions. Sediment retention and water availability was modeled in small coastal watersheds of the Rilán peninsula, an area highly affected by anthropogenic impacts. The results of our study have served to support both decision makers in the government and to increase participation of local communities in land management decisions. Next, we are using hydrologic modeling (SWAT) to identify areas of critical water scarcity and, using the RIOS software, analyzing the best watershed conservation interventions to address erosion problems and resulting water supply issues.
Angela Martin Blue Climate Solutions
In healthy marine ecosystems, marine vertebrates facilitate uptake of atmospheric carbon into the ocean and transport carbon from the ocean surface to deep waters and sediment, thus providing a vital link in the process of long term carbon sequestration. Fish Carbon additionally provides a natural buffer against ocean acidification. As such, Fish Carbon potentially lends itself to the global climate challenge in mitigation of both atmospheric and oceanic impacts of climate change.
Eliana Ortiz Muñoz Universidad de los Andes
The ALO (Avenida Longitudinal de Occidente) is a beltway that has been planned since several decades in Bogota D.C. However, their works have had a slow advance due to the uncertainty about the environmental impact that it would cause. Due that this beltway will cross wetlands that are critical for the survival of endemic and migratory endangered species. In this study was evaluated the change in the supply of ecosystem services at different construction scenarios of that road, using the ArcMap Software and the InVEST tool. As a result was obtained a value of biophysical change of ecosystem services (sediment retention, carbon sequestration and water regulation) as well as the costs of their loss and degradation. The results also indicate a negative change in habitat quality that cannot be avoided with the environmental management proposed in the design and planning of the road.
Grace Newman and Tsegaye Nega Carleton College
Urbanization in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia over the past two decades has been rapid and uncontrolled. A predictive model accounting for the interacting forces driving urbanization could allow for improved urban planning by facilitating understanding the consequences of policy decisions on future growth. We calibrated and applied a SLEUTH urban cellular automata model to the Addis Ababa metropolitan area. This model is then used to project growth patterns under different policy restrictions on agricultural, forested, high slope, and landslide and flood risk areas. These projections suggest that without a careful strategic plan the consequences of uncontrolled growth continue unabated.
Bruna Fatiche Pavani Technological Institute of the Aeronautics
The maintenance of the forest cover in river basins contributes to the soil retention and, consequently, reduce the water treatment cost for public supply or the dredging reservoirs cost. In this work, we considered 24 points of water abstraction for public supply whose drainage basins are located in the Environmental Protection Area of the Paraíba do Sul River Watershed. To verify the effectiveness of the natural areas protection, all areas with degraded pasture inserted in the protected area were transformed into Atlantic Forest, assuming a recovery and regeneration scenario of these areas. The modeling used (Sediment Retention Module of InVEST) to estimate the export of sediments presented results that confirm the importance of riparian forests for the provision of good quality water. The retention of the soil through land use and land cover change reaches a value greater than 7 million t/year for the studied area. The soil loss decreases, on an average, 25 t/ha.year. For the economic valuation, we used a relationship between turbidity and its cost reduction obtained for a standard plant of public supply company, noting the average reduction of 0.00177 R$/m3 in the cost of treatment. Considering the flow of funding, the value of 150,000 R$/year is aimed for the payment for environmental service soil retention provided by the recovery of natural vegetation.
Bruna Fatiche Pavani Technological Institute of the Aeronautics
Carbon storage and sequestration are linked ecosystem functions of climate regulation and essential ecological processes sustaining life support. Such environmental services are highly needed to deal with global warming and the associated climatic changes. This work presents a methodology for quantification and valuation of carbon balance generated by land use and land cover change for tree past scenarios: 1986, 1999 and 2010, for the South Coast of São Paulo. The Carbon Storage and Sequestration module of the InVEST model (The Natural Capital Project) was applied to add the amount of carbon stored in each stock of the landscapes maps, according to the market price of carbon for REDD projects and the discount rate of the financial market. Results show distinct values for the sequestration of carbon between the scenarios. In the first period (1986 – 1999), the values indicate the reduction of more than 3.18 million ton carbon in this area. However, in the second period (1999 – 2010), the region recorder a carbon sequestration of more than 2.30 million ton carbon. So, between the years 1986 and 2010, it is verified the loss of 788,465 ton carbon for the atmosphere, which is valued in 8.8 million of dollars. Results show an alarming release of carbon into the atmosphere that intensifies the negative effects of climate change. The loss is justified by the suppression of local vegetation and human interventions in the region. These valuations are also presented in geospatial maps with the economic value sequestered or released between the two landscapes by each cell (unit area). Anyway, there is a great carbon storage in the South Coast of São Paulo: 115 million ton carbon which can be traded like carbon credits in the REDD market. To address the trade-offs associated with the use of natural resources, this work becomes important to demonstrate an economic loss exacerbated by land use and land cover changes.
The InVEST nutrient retention model assesses the water purification service and associated water quality benefits. Currently, the model only takes into account the contribution of the landscape (terrestrial processes) to the retention service but not the in-stream contribution (aquatic processes). However, recent work highlighted the role of in-stream processes in the nutrient cycle, especially in the Llobregat River basin.
To determine whether this new knowledge should be included in the InVEST nutrient retention model (v2.6), we developed a methodology to test the impact of in-stream processes. We show that modifying the model to include these processes allows modelers to better represent the relative contribution of the terrestrial vs. aquatic contributions to the nutrient retention service, and therefore to improve its valuation.
Carrie Sessions University of Washington
The value of recreational lands is often measured by the number of visitors to that location and the amount of money visitors spend to travel there. The problem, however, is that many recreational lands do not have consistent ways to track visitation—where these tracking tools exist, they are often time consuming and expensive to implement and only provide limited information. Therefore, there is a niche for an efficient, inexpensive way to understand and track recreational visitation. In my research, I test the validity of using crowd-sourced photographs posted online to infer visitation rates and demographic information of visitors. By comparing photos posted on the website Flickr to data collected by the National Park Service, I assess the whether researchers and decision-makers could use photos as a proxy for empirically measured visitation rates. I find that the photos can act as a reliable proxy in most National Parks in the western United States and moreover, would give a more detailed view of where visitors travel from to visit National Parks.
Andre da Silva Dias World Wildlife Fund
This study seeks to show how the concept of ecosystem services value capture can be applied to land use management decision-making that will help to preserve these services and enhance human wellbeing in Amazon region. We 3 lists and reports specific experiences where the identification and valuation of ecosystem services has been employed for different purposes and in different settings in Peru, Colombia and Brazil involving WWF and local partners. In all these cases we used the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVest) tool. In addition to comparing the different case studies, details are provided of the various challenges faced by decision-makers in the use of InVest, and the results achieved.
We record details of the abovementioned challenges by decision-makers which were discussed at a workshop held in the region. These are grouped according to the technical, social and political difficulties encountered in the implementation of the InVest tool in governance processes. Finally, we describe the lessons learned from our experiences with ecosystem services value capture, based on interviews, workshops and scrutiny of the relevant literature.
Cholho Song Korea University
The concept of assessing and quantifying ecosystem service is getting important because it could be used the standard to solve social conflict between conservation and development. With growing importance of ecosystem service assessment, this study categorized ecosystem functions of natural capital. Based on these categorization, we conducted functional quantification focused on forest especially covered 65% of Korean landcover.
In this study mainly follows Korean Forest Research Institute (KFRI)’s statistical methodologies, but they are not spatially driven. Therefore, we modified spatially using GIS data to produce more useful decision support information. In addition, we use InVEST model as supplementary of KFRI’s aspects, and figure out its effectiveness on Korea as a trial. Through these process, we can adjust InVEST in Korea.
Aaron L. Strong Stanford University
Coastal wetland ecosystems occupy the boundary between land and ocean and not only provide critical habitat to larval fish, numerous migratory avian species, and unique vegetation communities, but also are substantial sinks of anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Globally, annual carbon sequestration rates in tidal wetlands, salt marshes, coastal mangrove forests, and seagrass beds are on the order of 100s of Tg C y-1, the same order of magnitude as the annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from California's economy. Human activity over the last two centuries has destroyed much of these habitats in the United States and current economic activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia pose substantial threats to these ecosystems in those regions. Numerous recent studies have identified significant opportunities for actions to conserve, enhance or restore the carbon sequestration potential in these coastal ecosystems,.In light of this potential, there have been calls for better incorporation of “blue carbon”—the carbon stored in coastal wetlands—into coastal environmental management frameworks at local and national scales. For example, the California Coastal Conservancy has recently granted funds for climate ready activities in coastal areas, including the enhancement of carbon sequestration in coastal ecosystems. There have also been proposals to include coastal wetland carbon storage within the nascent carbon offsets frameworks developed by the California Air Resources Board under the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. In an effort to inform the on-going development of such policies and practices, I present an assessment of the current state of management of coastal ecosystem carbon storage under existing governance structures in the United States. Specifically, through a combination of detailed policy analysis and interviews with environmental managers and advocates, I show that blue carbon is treated implicitly as a form of offset of fossil fuel-based emissions under existing environmental impact reporting requirements.
Madhu Verma, Chandan Khanna, Dhaval Negandhi, Advait Edgaonkar, and Ashish David Indian Institute of Forest Management
As India strives forward on its development path, the forests in the country are coming under intense pressure for diversion towards mining, industry development and various other uses. Since 1980 more than 3.5 million ha of forest have been diverted for different land uses. Though many a times these diversions are necessary but in some cases where these diversions can be avoided, the knowledge gap of the decision maker towards the natural capital of these forests results in diversion of these lands. With the objective of appraising the policy makers about the vast natural capital of the forests of country, a pilot project was taken up at the Centre for Ecological Services Management; a centre of excellence at Indian Institute of Forest Management with financial assistance from National Tiger Conservation Authority to value ecosystem services at 6 of the total 47 tiger reserves of the country. Together these 6 tiger reserves cover an area of 0.8 million Ha having high density of tigers and other wild flora & fauna. For valuation of ecosystem services, a VALUE + approach is being used as not all services can have a monetary value, thus some services were monetized while some were qualitatively explained. Two different techniques were used to accomplish the task; firstly using the conventional method of empirical valuation and secondly using InVEST. InVEST was taken up on a pilot basis in 2 of the 6 tiger reserves. Models were executed for three priority ecosystem services namely Carbon Storage, Water Yield & Sediment Retention. The result of InVEST have been found very useful as it is for the first time that they are able to see these reserves of a production unit for these important ecosystem services and take up focussed management interventions for maximising the production/benefits of these ecosystem series thus resulting in a better forest management regime.
Amy Villamagna Plymouth State University
Areas protected for biodiversity conservation (conservation areas) enhance the delivery of important ecosystem services (ES) to the general public, but the identity and location of ES beneficiaries is scarcely documented. The location of conservation areas in relation to people strongly influences the direction and magnitude of ES flows as well as the identity if beneficiaries. We analyzed benefit zones, the areas to which selected ES could be conveyed to beneficiaries, to assess who benefits (or not) from a typical conservation network. Better knowledge of ES flows and beneficiaries will help conservationists make a stronger case for the broad collateral benefits of conservation.
We delineated the benefit zones for local (within 10 miles) ES that are conveyed along hydrologic paths and for those (non-hydrologic) that are passively conveyed to beneficiaries from federal and state protected areas and private conservation easements in North Carolina and Virginia. We mapped and compared the geographic distribution of benefit zones within and among conservation area types as well as the socioeconomic characteristics of beneficiaries across benefit zones of the conservation area types. We found that hydrological and non-hydrologic benefit zones of federal protected areas encompass disproportionately fewer minority beneficiaries than expected based on statewide demographic patterns, whereas the benefit zones of state protected areas and private easements encompassed a greater proportion of minorities that more closely resembled statewide patterns. Benefit zones of easements included beneficiaries of significantly greater household income than benefit zones of other types of conservation areas. Our analysis of ES flows reveals significant socioeconomic gaps in how current conservation networks benefit the public. We suggest that such gaps, along with gaps in biodiversity protection, warrant consideration in regional conservation plans.
Meng Zhang Nanjing University
China possesses a vast supply of tidal flat resources, and reclamation—converting the flats to drier, more stable lands by draining and filling—has frequently been applied as a means of developing these regions. In micro-relief areas of tidal flats in Jiangsu, tidal creeks shape tidal flat landscape patterns prior to reclamation and affect land-use change after reclamation. Tidal creeks provide many important ecosystem services including nutrient cycling and buffers against tidal surges. Because of the high-saline nature of the soils, some of the converted flats cannot easily be converted to agriculture and are left as barren land. However, with the appropriate management (e.g. irrigation and fertilization), these areas could be colonized by salt-tolerant plants and become habitat for local animals. Thus, although the reclamation projects could destroy one habitat, they could create another, generating an alternative set of ecosystem services. The key is to understand how landscapes and ecosystem services change at reclamation zones over relatively long time horizons. We selected coastal regions of Dongtai, Jiangsu, China as our research sites. These areas have a long history of reclamation (over 1000 years) and have many tidal creeks. We used “space for time substitution” methods and investigated changes of land use/cover and ecosystem services between 1984 and 2014. We determined that there is a high probability that tidal creek regions will be used as aquiculture pools or left unused. Overall, however, agriculture is the main land-use type that results after remediation. Land use/cover changed intensively at the beginning of reclamation for 30 years and then slowed and stabilized. Ecosystem services dropped significantly at first and then often increased smoothly after the first 10 years. These results will provide a sound basis for future land-use policy. Furthermore, these results indicate that micro-relief factors should be taken into consideration in land-use planning and that further study of the ecological consequences of newly reclaimed land is warranted.