Combining ecosystem services assessment with structured decision making to support ecological restoration planning.

08:00 EDT 10th April 2018 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Combining ecosystem services assessment with structured decision making to support ecological restoration planning."

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.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Environmental management
ISSN: 1432-1009


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