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A National Ecosystem Services Classification System (NESCS) – NESCS as a Nexus for Ecosystem Services Research, Policy, Effects, and Valuation Charles.

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Presentation on theme: "A National Ecosystem Services Classification System (NESCS) – NESCS as a Nexus for Ecosystem Services Research, Policy, Effects, and Valuation Charles."— Presentation transcript:

1 A National Ecosystem Services Classification System (NESCS) – NESCS as a Nexus for Ecosystem Services Research, Policy, Effects, and Valuation Charles Rhodes ORISE Post-Doctoral Fellow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water – Water Policy Staff, Office of Research and Development – Western Ecology Division NESCS Workshop II: Progress and Prospects U.S. EPA 17 September 2013

2 What is the relation between the industrial society upon which we depend and the ecosystems which we depend on for resources? Can human activity upset or harm ecosystem dynamics from which we draw? Is there waste, pollution, or environmental destruction? What is the scale of these relative to natural cycles of generation and regeneration? Is the scale changing over time, and if so, in what manner?

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4 November 2, 1952

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6 Ecosystem services are harder to account for: harder to define, harder to measure, harder to abate. Efficient rational decision making values, in order: facts  facts  known probabilities  lesser-known possibilities  unknowns and conjecture So while appealing in theory, it is harder to get traction for ecosystem services in concrete policy debates.

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9 The intensity The scale of human activities that affect the environment matters Measuring the scale and intensity What is the relation between the industrial society upon which we depend and the ecosystems which we depend on for resources?

10 Biased estimator – without the full range of ecosystem services:  fewer assigned benefits (or costs associated with loss of ES)  lower mean (average)  leptokurtic distribution (has narrower range of even biased estimates) θ - ε

11 natural sciences Measure from physics up through physical and biological systems What to measure? How cross the “divide” between natural and social science approaches? EcologistsEconomists social sciences Measure things that follow from the human mind and human activities Human measurement Where do we define a measure to begin or end? How do we sort them? What is the relation between the industrial society upon which we depend and the ecosystems which we depend on for resources?

12 A Total Economic Value Framework Needs: a way to isolate non-marketed (un-priced) elements that humans “value” a way to measure human “value” on these elements best if also know the processes that generate or affect non-market elements and how humans place value on them Ecology Economists

13 Ecologists Ecology and related fields Study systems and processes whose time and scope can dwarf human direct experience Naturally difficult to model; difficult to see what to measure, where to focus, where “value” might be (unlike basic economic theory) As with economics beyond the price system, ecologists who care about what humans value are faced with difficulty of what to measure. Another blind spot?

14 Economy Ecologists What are ecosystem services, and how do we measure them in a “meaningful” way? ES need to be classified, but by whom and to what purpose? Can the classification be standardized so that the needs of different academic fields may be accommodated?

15 Growing ES literature since Daily (1997), as ecologists, researchers, and policy makers try to apply ES concept: De Groot et al (2002); MEA (2005); Boyd and Banzhaf (2007); Wallace (2007); Fisher and Turner (2009); Staub et al (2011); Haines-Young and Potschin (2012); Others Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) 2005: Supporting Services: soil formation, nutrient cycling, primary production Provisioning Services: fresh water, food, fiber, genetic resources Regulating Services: water purification, climate and disease regulation Cultural Services: spiritual, recreation & tourism, educational, heritage Double Counting: freshwater as provisioning and as water regulation and as purification? most “regulating” services may prove intermediate, but counted again when “provisioning”

16 Ecologists Impasse: much of field not moving toward measuring ES in a way policy makers can use Problems when attempting to quantify from MEA classification: 1) benefits ≠ services 2) not a set of clear, unique, unduplicated, measures MEA classification mixes “processes (means) for achieving services and the services themselves (ends) within the same classification strategy” Boyd and Banzhaf (2007)

17 Classify Types of FEGS, to map a pathway by which any ES can pass in any way from the ecosystem into the human value chain Draw on methods used (by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), U.S. Census Bureau and other federal agencies) to classify goods and services exchanged in the market economy – NAICS: How are ECONOMIC goods and services produced/ Who produces (SUPPLY SIDE) – NAPCS: How are ECONOMIC goods and services used/ Who consumes (DEMAND SIDE)

18 Aid in analyzing impacts of policy-induced marginal changes in ecosystems on human welfare: -support cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, and distributional analyses -establish the logical structure for mapping how ecosystem changes affect human welfare, and develop a policy application - further research (ORD) will make this structure more useful to policy makers (OW & OAR) using the application Align EPA Office objectives and resources to build a common framework to bring relevant non-marketed ecosystem services (ES) more directly to bear in policy decision making

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20 Rainbow Fire Cloud – better known as a circumhorizon arc

21 Identify/Classify/Discretely Sort? Quantify? Value and/or Monetize?

22 Identify/Classify/Discretely Sort: Dark sky … Sky <50% color … Sky 50% < x <100% color … Spectral-color sky (<10% cloud) … Cloud-rainbow mix, w/silver lining … Cloud-rainbow mix, w/out silver lining … Dark cloud (<10% light) Monetize: x $0.01 x $0.10 x $0.25 x $1.00 x $1.51 x $0.20 x $0.00 $21.96 Quantify the Classified and Sorted: Dark sky = 17 Sky <50% color = 5 Sky 50%

23 Beauty, rich tide pool life, sea lion and bird breeding and sanctuary, heritage…

24  Set a New Standard for ES Classification  Map all relations between FEGS and human economy / human values Unique pathways No double counting  Bridge to existing classification systems: FEGS, NAICS/NAPCS  Build an App – Framework for a user-friendly policy tool Scalable Capable of marginal policy analysis Capable of direct application to green accounting  Establish an Institutional Forum  A processing structure that iteratively identifies match- points between research and policy needs, and provides a vocabulary and a clearinghouse for communicating needs between EPA offices

25 Purpose:  Illustrate key unique features of NESCS design, which sets the frame for marginal policy analysis  Demonstrate steps for applying the NESCS framework and categories to identify pathways that potentially may be impacted by policy changes Specific Policy Applications:  Air Quality Standards for nitrogen and sulfur oxides (NO x & SO x ):  Quality change in end-product (air)  National Policy  Wetlands Restoration:  Quantity Change in stock of natural capital in an environmental class (wetland)  Regional policy

26 Our Classification Scheme 18

27 Economic Supply-sideEconomic Demand-side Flows of FEGS NESCS-S NESCS-D Intermediate Economic Goods & Services Fresh fish sales to canneries NAICSNAPCS Intermediate Economic Production Commercial fishing Final Economic Production Commercial fishing; Processing of fish Household Utility Function Final Economic Goods & Services Fresh fish sales to households; Canned fish sales to households Human Well- being Ecological Production Natural Capital Streams & Lakes Flows of FEGS capital and labor services Flows of FEGS FEGS Stocks Fish Fish Health & Reproduction Fish stocks contributing to commercial fishing Fish stocks contributing to recreational fishing Human Systems Natural Systems Physical Capital and Labor Fishing & processing equipment, Hours spent fishing & processing NESCS Conceptual Framework with Fishing Example

28 End-Products Policy Change Environmental Class (Intermediate) Ecological Processes Changes in Direct Uses Direct Users Changes in Human Welfare Pathway Linking Policy Changes to Human Well-Being Changes in Final ES Flows

29 ΔNΔN ΔE1ΔE1 ΔE2ΔE2 ΔE3ΔE3 ΔEnΔEn ΔY1ΔY1 ΔY2ΔY2 ΔY3ΔY3 ΔYmΔYm ΔW1ΔW1 ΔW2ΔW2 ΔW3ΔW3 ΔWjΔWj ΔE4ΔE4 ΔW j+3 ΔW j+p Policy Action ΔN = Change in Natural Capital ΔE = Change in Ecological end products (types of FEGS) ΔY = Change in Final Economic Goods and Services ΔW = Change in human well-being (welfare) Representation of Multiple Mutually Exclusive Pathways Between Policy-Related Ecosystem Impacts (ΔN) and Changes in Human Well-Being (ΔW)

30 Proposed 4-Group NESCS Structure Levels 1, 1a Levels 2, 2a Levels 3, 3a, 3b Levels 4, 4a

31 Applying NESCS for Policy Analysis: A Wetlands Restoration Program Example (Tracing Pathways for Different Wetland Functions)

32 Which ecosystems/end-products support which uses? “X” indicates potential ES “Make Table” Links Direct Uses to End Products

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34  research and programs do not approach ES issues in an institutionally efficient way  each group faces limited money and time, so have a natural incentive to narrow their own effort  inadequate signaling of needs and coordination efforts between offices  old constraints remain new constraints  methods and databases are more likely to be built without coordination to make them useable for other objectives, other offices, or other agencies With NESCS:  we will eventually want rules/dynamics for production of FEGS, will want models for how and why systems will be stressed to threshold levels  EPA Offices become more discretely aware of other Offices’ needs

35 Development and Deepening: Iterative Development of Methods and Metrics; Database Mergers Iterative Development of Policy Application Tool

36 Application and Evolution: Iterative Development of Methods and Metrics; Database Mergers Iterative Development of Policy Application Tool

37  Looking today for potential stakeholders, academics, and ecosystem service specialists to review, inquire, critique, and suggest  Real-world examples: built  Logical barriers to full build out: none - large, but tractable

38 Or contact me later: Charles R. Rhodes ORISE post-doctoral fellow

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