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Assessing the Economic Contribution of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services in the Sargasso Sea

This report provides a variety of measures of the Sargasso Sea’s economic value and impact, especially net and gross revenues associated with ecosystem services supported by the sea. It captures just a small portion of these services and does not reflect their complete and total net value. Yet analysis of data on even this small portion suggests that the economic importance of the Sargasso Sea is significant. Economic expenditures and revenues directly or potentially linked to that sea range from tens to hundreds of million of dollars a year.

Authors: L. Pendleton, F. Krowicki, P. Strosser, and J. Hallett-Murdoch, Murdoch Marine

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Oceans & Coasts

Marine Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services

Marine

Environmental Economics

Reports

Optimizing the Scale of Markets for Water Quality Trading

Allowing polluters to buy, sell or trade water-quality credits could significantly reduce pollution in river basins and estuaries faster and at a lower cost than requiring 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. The analysis in the journal Water Resources Research shows that water-quality trading of any kind can significantly lower the costs of achieving Clean Water Act goals.

Author(s): Martin Doyle, Lauren Patterson, Yanyou Chen, Kurt Schnier, and Andrew Yates

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Science

Water

Ecosystem Services

Environmental Economics

National

Journal Articles

Mangrove Ecosystem Services Valuation: State of the Literature

A growing body of literature provides estimates of ecosystem services values derived from mangroves. If this literature is to be useful in decision making, it must have a solid foundation of value estimates. This paper identifies gaps in data and knowledge regarding mangrove ecosystem services valuations and recommends ways that future research could advance understanding of mangrove ecology, ecosystem services valuation, and conservation. 

Authors: Tibor Vegh, Megan Jungwiwattanaporn, Linwood Pendleton, and Brian Murray

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Oceans & Coasts

Marine Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services

Marine

Environmental Economics

Working Papers

Synthesis and Review: Advancing Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Quantification

Reducing emissions of agricultural greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as methane and nitrous oxide, and sequestering carbon in the soil or in living biomass can help reduce the impact of agriculture on climate change while imporving productivity. A new article in a special focus issue of Environmental Research Letters synthesizes the current findings on the state of the capacity for agricultural GHG quantification. It concludes that strategic investment in quantification can lead to significant global improvement in agricultural GHG estimation in the near term.

Author(s): Lydia P. Olander, Eva Wollenberg, Francesco N. Tubiello, and Martin Herold

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Climate & Energy

Agriculture

Ecosystem Services

T-AGG

T-AGG International

Environmental Economics

National

Journal Articles

Application of an Ecosysem Services Framework for BLM Land Use Planning: Consistency with the Federal Land Policy Management Act and Other Applicable Law

Federal agencies responsible for natural areas are increasingly considering ecosystem services in their planning and management decisions. Operationalizing this new approach entails multiple challenges. To address them, the National Ecosystem Services Partnership launched the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services project, which will culminate in an online guidebook providing a framework and methodology to enhance consistency of ecosystem services approaches and describing how federal agencies are exploring or applying the ecosystem services concept. Laying the groundwork for the guidebook are this paper and Integration of Ecosystem Services Valuation Analysis into National Environmental Policy Act Compliance: Legal and Policy Perspectives. These papers explain how the the Federal Land Management and Policy Act of 1976 and the National Environmental Policy Act enable or limit agencies’ incorporation of ecosystem services approaches into federal planning and management processes. 

Author: Paul B. Smyth

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Ecosystem Services

Reports

Integration of Ecosystem Services Valuation Analysis into National Environmental Policy Act Compliance: Legal and Policy Perspectives

Federal agencies responsible for natural areas are increasingly considering ecosystem services in their planning and management decisions. Operationalizing this new approach entails multiple challenges. To address them, the National Ecosystem Services Partnership launched the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services project, which will culminate in an online guidebook providing a framework and methodology to enhance consistency of ecosystem services approaches and describing how federal agencies are exploring or applying the ecosystem services concept. Laying the groundwork for the guidebook are this paper and Application of an Ecosystems Services Framework for BLM Land Use Planning: Consistency with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and Other Applicable Law. These papers explain how the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Management and Policy Act of 1976 enable or limit agencies’ incorporation of ecosystem services approaches into federal planning and management processes. 

Author: Dinah Bear

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Ecosystem Services

Reports

Refining Models for Quantifying the Water Quality Benefits of Improved Animal Management for Use in Water Quality Trading

Water quality trading (WQT) allows point-source permittees to meet their water quality obligations by purchasing credits from other point or nonpoint sources that have reduced their discharges. Improved management of animal operations could reduce nutrient discharges into waterways and thereby generate credits for WQT programs. But first, methods for quantifying pollutant reductions resulting from animal management changes must be adapted for use in such programs. This report explains the Clean Water Act underpinning of WQT programs and how animal operations fit into them. It surveys models of animal production of nutrient waste, surface water transport, and the transport and transformation of pollutants in watersheds. It also describes how direct measurement and monitoring of nutrient losses is evolving. Finally, it presents ideas on how to improve models’ accuracy and usability. The report reflects insights from three supplemental papers: Management Practices to Improve Water Quality on Central and Western Rangelands, Assessing Potential Impacts of Livestock Management on Groundwaterand Management Options for Animal Operations to Reduce Nutrient Loads

Author(s): Lydia Olander, Todd Walter, Peter Vadas, Jim Heffernan, Ermias Kebreab, Marc Ribaudo, Thomas Harter

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Ecosystem Services

Land

Reports

Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities for California Agriculture: Review of California Rangeland Emissions and Mitigation Potential

Rangelands cover approximately 50% of California and have considerable potential to mitigate climate change. Several management strategies offer opportunities to build soil carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Grazing management can increase soil carbon, but significant uncertainties remain and best management practices are unknown. Long-term, well-replicated studies are urgently needed to explore the potential of grazing management for climate change mitigation. Organic amendments, particularly compost, can enhance biomass and sequester carbon on grasslands while reducing emissions from the waste sector. This strategy shows significant potential but requires additional research, particularly in arid rangelands. High-efficiency synthetic fertilizer use, plant community management, fire management, and irrigation can also influence soil carbon; however, these strategies could be challenging to scale up over large areas, and their net greenhouse gas impacts are uncertain. Remote sensing, biogeochemical modeling, and life-cycle assessments should be leveraged to identify and implement mitigation strategies.

Author(s): Marcia S. DeLonge, Justine J. Owen, and Whendee L. Silver

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Climate & Energy

Adaptation

Science

Agriculture

Ecosystem Services

Land

T-AGG

Climate Change Policy

Sustainability

Western

State Policy

Reports

Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities for California Agriculture: Minimizing Diet Costs and Enteric Methane Emissions from Dairy Cows

The study aimed to determine baseline methane emissions from California dairies and assess mitigation strategies. Two optimization models based on linear programming were developed to formulate minimum cost and minimum methane diets without compromising production. A third model uses weighted goal programming for joint minimization of dietary costs and emissions. The economic and environmental impact of using a specific agent (monensin) was also assessed. Enteric emissions ranged from 18.8 to 25.1 MJ/d. Dairies that used corn/alfalfa-based forages and cows with higher intakes and production were low emitters. The cost per unit emissions reduction ranged from $5.02 to $20.1/kg methane ($239–  $956/tonne CO2 equivalent) for a 1% to 25% reduction of total emissions. Various levels of trade-offs between cost and emissions reduction are possible. Up to a 9.4% reduction in CH4 emissions was possible with monensin (costs ranged from $3 to $26/kg CH4). Mitigation options need to be tested in a commercial setting before recommendation for use. 

Author(s): Luis Moraes, James Fadel, A. Castillo, and Ermias Kebreab 

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Climate & Energy

Science

Agriculture

Ecosystem Services

Land

Climate Change Policy

Western

State Policy

Reports

Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities for California Agriculture: Review of Emissions and Mitigation Potential of Animal Manure Management and Land Application of Manure

Manure management, primarily in anaerobic lagoons on dairies, is estimated to be the largest source of greenhouse gases from California agriculture. However, no field measurements from dairies in California have been published. A review of the broader literature revealed that emissions from anaerobic lagoons had more than 10 times the global warming potential of emissions from solid manure piles. Capping anaerobic lagoons and flaring the emitted methane, or fully converting to anaerobic digesters, could reduce total methane emissions by 92% (~7.7 Tg CO2e). Manure from farms is eventually applied to agricultural fields as fertilizer, where nitrous oxide is the primary greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted. Limited data are available on GHG emissions from manure-amended fields, and only two studies were conducted in California. This research suggested that fertilizing agricultural fields with manure rather than synthetic fertilizers results in lower GHG emissions as well as increased soil carbon storage. Despite the significance of dairy manure in GHG budgets at the state, regional, and global scale, this review reveals a surprising lack of field-scale research necessary to inform the development of best practices in California. Key areas of research for California include measurements of GHG emissions from dairy manure management systems and comparisons of GHG emissions from agricultural fields under different management practices. 

Author(s): Justine J. Owen, Ermias Kebreab, and Whendee Silver 

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Climate & Energy

Adaptation

Science

Agriculture

Ecosystem Services

Land

T-AGG

Climate Change Policy

Western

State Policy

Reports

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