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Accounting for nature’s value: Applying ecosystem services approaches to natural resource planning

February 7, 2017, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location Center for Environmental and Life Sciences - 120
Posted InCollege of Science and Mathematics

About Dr. Bagstad

Ken Bagstad is a Research Economist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He uses GIS and modeling to assess ecosystem services in the United States and internationally. Ken is co-leading work to construct natural capital accounts in the United States. He has also co-led data and model development for the ARIES ecosystem services modeling platform. Ken was formerly detailed to the World Bank's WAVES Program, where he coordinated the development and application of ecosystem accounts in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Rwanda. Ken received his Ph.D. from the University of Vermont, M.S. from Arizona State University, and B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University.

About the Seminar

Information on ecosystem services – the economic values that nature provides to society – is increasingly requested in decision making by governments and the private sector. In order for ecosystem services to enter more widespread use, their assessments need to be quantifiable, replicable, credible, flexible, and affordable. 

A number of challenges, such as the integration of multiple disciplinary perspectives (ecology, economics, geography, social science), uncertainty, and the nonmarket nature of ecosystem services has made it challenging to develop tools to quickly and reliably assess ecosystem services. These same challenges, however, provide scientists with a broad range of research questions that can help better inform economic and sustainability policy. In this presentation, I will discuss three research areas that share a common goal of making ecosystem service assessments faster and more informative for decision making. These include efforts to 1) use ecoinformatics to improve the speed and reliability of assessments, 2) combine biophysical models and public participatory GIS to identify potential resource management conflicts and synergies, and 3) use natural capital accounting in national and subnational scale decision making.