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Accounting for ecosystem services in environmental decision making is an emerging research topic. Modern frameworks for ecosystem services assessment emphasize evaluating the social benefits of ecosystems, in terms of who benefits and by how much, to aid in comparing multiple courses of action. Structured methods that use decision analytic-approaches are emerging for the practice of ecological restoration. In this article, we combine ecosystem services assessment with structured decision making to estimate and evaluate measures of the potential benefits of ecological restoration with a case study in the Woonasquatucket River watershed, Rhode Island, USA. We partnered with a local watershed management organization to analyze dozens of candidate wetland restoration sites for their abilities to supply five ecosystem services-flood water retention, scenic landscapes, learning opportunities, recreational opportunities, and birds. We developed 22 benefit indicators related to the ecosystem services as well as indicators for social equity and reliability that benefits will sustain in the future. We applied conceptual modeling and spatial analysis to estimate indicator values for each candidate restoration site. Lastly, we developed a decision support tool to score and aggregate the values for the organization to screen the restoration sites. Results show that restoration sites in urban areas can provide greater social benefits than sites in less urban areas. Our research approach is general and can be used to investigate other restoration planning studies that perform ecosystem services assessment and fit into a decision-making process.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Environmental management
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Mathematical or statistical procedures used as aids in making a decision. They are frequently used in medical decision-making.
Use of an interactive computer system designed to assist the physician or other health professional in choosing between certain relationships or variables for the purpose of making a diagnostic or therapeutic decision.
The determination of the nature of a disease or condition, or the distinguishing of one disease or condition from another. Assessment may be made through physical examination, laboratory tests, or the likes. Computerized programs may be used to enhance the decision-making process.
A scenario in decision analysis in which two individuals motivated entirely by self-preservation at the expense of the other, end up in a worse state than if they had cooperated with each other in the decision-making process.
The process of making a selective intellectual judgment when presented with several complex alternatives consisting of several variables, and usually defining a course of action or an idea.