FIGURE 7-1 Connections between ecosystem structure and function, services, policies, and values.

  1. Information about these trade-offs—that is, about the value of what has been increased (what is being gained) as well as the value of what has been decreased (what is being forgone or given up)—can lead to better decisions about ecosystem protection. Since decisions involve choices, whenever these choices reflect how “valuable” the alternatives are, information about those values will be an important input into the choice among alternatives.

  2. Because aquatic ecosystems are complex, dynamic, variable, interconnected, and often nonlinear, our understanding of the services they provide, as well as how they are affected by human actions, is imperfect and linkages are difficult to quantify. Likewise, information about how people

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