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Aligning Methods for Assessing Wetland Ecosystem Services Anthony Dvarskas NOAA Assessment and Restoration Division/IMSG CNREP 2010 New Orleans, LA.

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Presentation on theme: "Aligning Methods for Assessing Wetland Ecosystem Services Anthony Dvarskas NOAA Assessment and Restoration Division/IMSG CNREP 2010 New Orleans, LA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aligning Methods for Assessing Wetland Ecosystem Services Anthony Dvarskas NOAA Assessment and Restoration Division/IMSG CNREP 2010 New Orleans, LA

2 Presentation Outline n Components for ecosystem service assessment n Current methods available n Components of available approaches n Research needs, policy questions and next steps

3 Intermediate and Final Ecosystem Services Figure from: Fisher B, et al. Ecological Applications. 2008; 18: 2050-2067.

4 Components of a Wetland Ecosystem Services Assessment Tool n Ecological element l Structure and function of ecosystem n Human element l Benefits to humans from given ecosystem structure and level of function/provision of intermediate services n Ability to evaluate tradeoffs within and across categories

5 Wetland Assessment Approaches n Several procedures available for assessing ecological components (physical and biological functions) from multiple Federal agencies n Different contexts for use of techniques n Not all techniques consider both ecologic and human elements n Biological assessment vs physical/functional assessment n Approaches generally do not assign a monetary value (is this always necessary?)

6 Wetland Evaluation Technique (WET) n Developed in 1980s (Adamus 1988) n Evaluates multiple functions (e.g., sediment stabilization, nutrient removal/transformation) n Considers social significance, effectiveness, opportunity, and habitat suitability of evaluated wetland n Arrive at probability that selected wetland function will occur

7 Habitat Evaluation Procedure n Developed by Fish and Wildlife Service n Can compare areas in terms of wildlife habitat n Relies on understanding of species and habitat interaction (use of Habitat Suitability Index (HSI)) n HSI X AREA HABITAT = Habitat Unit Habitat Evaluation Procedures. ESM 102. USFWS. 1980.

8 Habitat Evaluation Procedure (cont’d) Habitat Evaluation Procedures. ESM 102. USFWS. 1980.

9 Hydrogeomorphic Method n Developed by Army Corps of Engineers n Uses reference wetlands (e.g., natural in region of interest) n Evaluates set of wetland functions through field assessment l Functional capacity index (FCI) – 0-1, 1 equals function at same level as reference wetland n FCI X acres of habitat assessed = FCUs

10 Habitat Equivalency Analysis n Developed by NOAA n Used in assessing ecological service gains and losses resulting from injuries to natural resources n Metric(s) selected as proxy for habitat services n Discounting used to aggregate injuries over time n Output of discounted service acre-year (DSAY)

11 Time Resource Services Baseline Service Level Incident Full Natural Recovery A Compensatory Resource Services Compensatory Restoration Begins B Interim Lost Resource Services

12 Indices of Biological Integrity n Used in stream assessments n Have been applied in wetlands n Similarities to HEA approach n Identify assemblages, select set of metrics, combine metrics into index n Demonstrate change in index with changing human disturbance

13 State Wetland Mitigation Ratios n States also develop mitigation ratios n Different ratios for different wetland enhancements (e.g., creation vs preservation), types of wetlands impacted n Virginia DEQ example: l 2:1 forested wetlands l 1.5:1 for scrub-shrub wetlands l 1:1 for emergent wetlands

14 Economic Analyses of Wetland Values n Economic literature provides attempts to value wetland ecosystem services n Benefit of using the metric of currency – widely understood and consistent across areas n Challenge remains in transfer of monetary values from one wetland to another (benefit transfer) l Since values based on human perception and behavior, can vary from region to region

15 Summary of Selected Methods MethodUnits Produced Habitat Equivalency AnalysisDSAYs Habitat Evaluation ProcedureHUs Hydrogeomorphic MethodFCU Wetland Evaluation TechniqueProbability rating Economic Valuation Methods$$

16 Where do we stand? n Range of methods that assess wetland ecosystem functions/intermediate services n Different units produced from each assessment method n No prescribed translation of those functions and services described to final ecosystem services/benefits to humans

17 Common Characteristics of Assessment Methods n Need to define area for assessment l At baseline and under future conditions l Role of GIS in ecosystem services evaluation n Habitat types play key role n Selection of indicator metrics for analysis n Assessment of changes over time from impacts other than policy l What does the baseline trajectory look like?

18 Research Needs and Questions n How to take information from assessments using different scales and translate to a common method? l Boyd and Banzhaf (Ecol Econ 2007) argued for standardized methods of ecosystem service measurement n How can information from an “aligned” method translate into policy-relevant tradeoff information? l Making the leap between the functional analysis and the benefits n Need to consider intergenerational aspect of ecosystem service valuation l What is appropriate discount rate, if any?

19 Research Needs and Questions n Metrics for policy decisions need to be in readily understandable terms n Many wetland evaluation procedures rely on subjective evaluations l Additional data monitoring at wetland sites n Increased understanding of links between level of function and societal values l How does assessment of function inform the value tradeoff determinations? l Ecological production functions? l How to link ecological and human components? n Mapping of relationship between ecosystem functions and human well-being l Work by EPA ESRP, USDA ERS and Natural Capital Project

20 Consistency vs Specificity n Consistent and similar framework aids in accounting of credits/potential expansion of markets n Consistent framework may create broad metrics that do not capture specific regional characteristics n Will likely always be some tradeoff between consistency and specificity l How does this limit potential size of an ecosystem services market? n Carbon markets have developed frameworks and guidance with formalized accounting procedures

21 Summary n Multiple techniques available to assess wetland functions and, in some cases, values n Ongoing need to link assessment of function and collected ecological metrics to policy-relevant values n Need for further collaboration across Federal and non-Federal entities that calculate restoration uplift n How to develop consistent tool that works across regions? n Contact info:

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