An ecosystem services approach combined with adaptive decision-making can aid land and resource managers in administering their regions for the benefit of communities and stakeholders, according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey and Resources for the Future.
Ecosystem services are the benefits to people from things produced by the natural living environment, such as pollination of crops, filtering of groundwater by wetland vegetation, and buffering of storm surge by mangrove swamps. Adaptive decision-making, meanwhile, allows managers to learn by doing, adjusting their operations based on results from management decisions, and ongoing research and monitoring over time.
“Resource management decisions are having greater impacts on our lives, and we need the best methods to assess and understand the consequences of decisions,” said Carl Shapiro, director of the USGS Science and Decisions Center. “Our work showing how adaptive decision-making and ecosystem services complement each other will help resource managers make the best decisions affecting the Nation’s natural resources.”