Ecosystem Services Program News

Get the Science Right to Value Nature

An international group of scientists, industry representatives and policymakers wants to set guidelines for the science behind valuing nature. The group, which includes the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Lydia Olander, has published new guidelines in the latest edition of Science on how to value the benefits and services that nature provides, known as ecosystem services.

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Our Impact: Guidance for Ecosystem Services Assessments

Initiative Helps Natural Resource Managers Connect Decisions to Things People Care About

This is the third installment in a 12-part series highlighting the environmental policy impacts of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions over its first decade.

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Guidebook Focuses on Ecosystem Service Approach to Decision-Making

A new online resource, the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook, helps resource managers account for the benefits nature provides, such as the coastal protection offered by oyster beds or carbon sequestered in soils that help to stabilize climate.

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Protected Areas: Much More Than Pristine Nature

In a blog for the Huffington Post, Advisory Board member Mark Tercek considered the commitments made at the once-a-decade World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, and highlighted the benefits of protected areas. “Protecting biodiversity remains at the very core of every conservation strategy in our toolbox. But protected areas also do much more. From improving food and water security to reducing the impacts of climate change, well-planned and managed protected areas can provide important benefits to people too.”

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Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services into Decision Making

In a guest editorial for the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Ecosystem Services Program director Lydia Olander and her coauthor identify several efforts to bring consistency to methods for incorporating ecosystem services concepts into environmental decision making, including the National Ecosystem Services Partnership’s Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook.

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Climate Panel Issues Dire Report as Renewables Make Little Impact

The latest comprehensive global scientific assessment of climate change, released on Sunday, sounds the direst warning yet about the need to drastically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But despite years of such reports, fossil-fuel use and human-caused emissions continue to rise, and renewable energy technologies have so far failed to make a significant difference. Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, comments in this MIT Technology Review article.

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Scientists Sound the Alarm in Climate Change Report

Climate change driven by the burning of fossil fuels is already affecting life on every continent and in the oceans, and the window is closing rapidly for governments to avert the worst damage expected to occur later this century, scientists warned in one of the loudest alarms yet sounded by the international scientific community. Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, comments in this Los Angeles Times article.

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County Races also Critical to Achieving Progressive Ideals

The Independent Weekly highlights candidates running for county races, mentioning Nicholas Institute's own Katie Locklier and her run for a seat on the Durham Water and Soil District.

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Water-Quality Trading Can Reduce River Pollution

Allowing polluters to buy, sell or trade water-quality credits could significantly reduce pollution in river basins and estuaries faster and at lower cost than requiring the facilities to meet compliance costs on their own, a new Duke University-led study finds. The scale and type of the trading programs, though critical, may matter less than just getting them started.

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