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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary C Descriptions of Agency Activities Presented at the Forum on Ecosystem Services and Sustainability1 1 Presentations are available online at http://sustainability.nationalacademies.org/Forum.shtml
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary TITLE OF PROJECT OR PROGRAM: Ecosystem Services in the Prairie Pothole Region: Impacts of Management and Climate Change AGENCY: U.S. Geological Survey PROJECT/PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The Prairie Pothole Region of the United States and Canada is a unique area where shallow depressions created during Pleistocene glaciation interact with mid-continental climate variations to create a variety of wetlands that supply a suite of ecosystem services. These unique wetlands comprise a diversity of aquatic invertebrates and vertebrate wildlife that depend upon them as food. The seasonal wetlands serve as safe breeding grounds for a significant population of ducks and an important stopover for migrating shorebirds. In the past century large portions of the area have been transformed to cropland. What remains of the glaciated wetlands supports more than 300 bird species, producing about half of North America’s 40 million ducks. USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have also collaborated on a long term study to understand the potential of prairie pothole region wetlands to sequester carbon emitted into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Results suggest that wetlands traditionally functioned as sinks for atmospheric carbon, but cultivation has shifted their function to be sources of atmospheric carbon. Data suggest that equal or greater amounts of atmospheric carbon can be stored in wetlands through restoration programs when compared with cropland, even though the acreage of wetlands is much smaller. Further, nitrous oxide emissions are reduced for every acre going back to wetland because of the reduction in fertilizer use. Finally, a new project has been initiated because of the unique resources at the USGS and the ability to integrate ecosystem-based research across multiple disciplines and large areas. The unique resources include: biogeochemical modeling which emphasizes agricultural practices and simulates sustainability and impacts on ecosystem goods and services, socioeconomic modeling of land use and land use trends across broad regions, dynamic monitoring of Ecosystem Performance and the Net Ecosystem Exchange of carbon, access to archival remote sensing data and near-real time data from a variety of sources, capability to provide large datasets to the user community in a seamless manner, and
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary The goal of this research is to evaluate the effects of an expanded agricultural program for biofuels and concurrent changes in climate on ecosystem sustainability across the Northern Great Plains. We will develop credible land-change scenarios to project alternative landscape futures through 2050 and will analyze the results to estimate effects on ecosystem processes and services. “Ecosystem services” frequently denotes services to humans. We are using the term to encompass services realized by any component of the ecosystem, such as by wildlife. This research will enable us to address the following key questions: How might landscape patterns change in response to demand for expanded biomass production? What are the environmental consequences (on biogeochemical cycling, soil erosion, nutrient transport to waterbodies, greenhouse gas emissions, quantity and quality of wildlife habitat) of biomass production for energy? What are the full costs and benefits of biomass production for energy, including agricultural sector profitability? How will projected climate change impact agricultural production and profitability? How will projected climate change impact the provision of ecosystem services, both directly and indirectly through changes in landscape patterns? What are the feedbacks among land-use change, economic and policy drivers, climate, biophysical processes, and a variety of ecosystem services? What is the Net Ecosystem Exchange of carbon and energy associated with each potential land use for biomass and what is the ‘end to end’ total energy/carbon balance? What are the special concerns about habitat quality and wildlife concerns in this region? What are the most important factors and constraints in implementing a long-term sustainable biomass-for-energy industry? Our landscape scenarios will highlight four crop types under research for biofuel: corn, soybeans, switchgrass, and mixed prairie grasses. We will project landscape change under current climate, low climate change, and high climate change, as predicted by output from major global climate models. Results from the landscape scenarios will be assessed relative to ecosystem quality, processes, and services. We will use the assessments to determine the balance of economic performance (net value of biofuel and agricultural production) with ecosystem sustainability. The Integrated Landscape Monitoring—Prairie Pilot is one of four science thrusts initiated by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2006. The goal of each pilot
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary is to develop a regional monitoring framework to model and monitor the performance of conservation programs, especially their provision of specific ecosystem goods and services (e.g., carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas flux, flood water storage, water quality, erosion reduction, wildlife habitat). The Prairie Pilot is unique in that it was initially developed to include the specific needs of diverse land management agencies in the Departments of Agriculture and Interior. An inter-agency science team (Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) was established to define a list of specific ecosystem goods each agency wished to use as measures of performance of conservation programs. Those ecosystem goods and services will be modeled collectively to incorporate the delivery of multiple and simultaneous outcomes of conservation programs to provide the comprehensive view required to predict unintended and potentially negative, consequences of land-use change. To accurately evaluate program performance, the model will be designed to separate change in ecosystem services due to natural factors (e.g., dynamic mid-continental climate) from those attributable to federal conservation programs. The basic modeling framework is based on the unique climatic drivers in the Prairie Pothole ecosystem and it will provide a transparent means of incorporating the best available scientific information into a decision support tool to facilitate consistent evaluations and forecasts of program performance by different agencies and other users. The following diagram is presented to illustrate our integrated approach. Our overall societal goal is to define the most appropriate and sustainable land uses that maintain appropriate ecosystem goods and services and to convey this information to managers and policy makers as we provide model outputs for alternative landscape futures.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary DESCRIBE ANY NOTABLE RESULTS, OUTCOMES OR IMPACTS TO DATE, IF ANY: Built upon extensive previous work (http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/about/factsheet/wetlands.htm) on agricultural practices, ecosystem services response to climate change and carbon retention in the Prairie Potholes Region, the new project will start in FY08. PERFORMERS/OTHER PARTNERS (FEDERAL, STATES, OR LOCAL): USGS, Bureau of Land Management, USDA, SunGrant program of DOT, EPA, and DOE Regional Program (PCOR) and university research scientists, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service. PROJECT PERIOD: Over 10 years of previous work, new project starts in 2008.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary TITLE OF PROJECT OR PROGRAM: Alder Springs Fuels Reduction Stewardship Program AGENCY: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station PROJECT/PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: In 2006, the Mendocino National Forest, Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), and Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development received funding from the Forest Service to partner with the State of California for a project that will demonstrate and evaluate potential market opportunities for carbon sequestration and carbon offsets. This project will take place in conjunction with the Alder Springs Fuels Reduction Stewardship Project and will monitor fuels management treatments in order to accomplish the following: Quantify greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from fuels management treatments Evaluate and quantify potential revenues in current and future carbon markets Evaluate potential for renewable energy credits and incentives associated with biomass energy production This project is of great relevance due to increasing interest in carbon management, renewable energy production, and because of the magnitude of National Forest System lands in need of fuels reduction treatments. The Forest Service is supporting this project in order to assess the potential for generating possible market incentives for fuels and forest health treatments, which would help extend landscape treatment capabilities. This fuels project and the associated research are important first steps toward understanding how public forest management might contribute to mitigating global climate change. Although research models already suggest that there are likely climate change benefits to be gained from forest management, this is the first time those models are being tested on an actual forest management project. There are three ways in which a fuels reduction project might reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Thinning the forest improves forest health, and a healthy forest absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere, Thinned forests are less likely to experience catastrophic wildfires that release vast amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, When the biomass from a thinning project is used to generate electricity, the net amount of carbon released into the atmosphere is considered
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary “carbon neutral” when compared to fossil fuels that are used to generate the same amount of energy. The Alder Springs project was developed to create landscape change throughout areas considered at high risk for catastrophic wildfire for both wildland urban interface protection and ecosystem health. Although the carbon research associated with this project is important, this project will also accomplish essential hazardous fuels reduction work for the Mendocino National Forest. Stewardship contract authorities permit the Forest Service to trade goods for services; that is, it allows private organizations or businesses to remove forest products such as trees, undergrowth and biomass in return for performing work to restore and maintain healthy forest ecosystems. Carbon markets coupled with State and Federal incentives could produce significant market opportunities for the private sector associated with fuels reduction projects. These opportunities would allow forest managers to extend programs and treat more acres, improving forest health and reducing the threat of wildfire. The Forest Service is supporting this project in order to assess the potential for generating market incentives for fuels treatments, which would help extend our landscape treatment capability. DESCRIBE ANY NOTABLE RESULTS, OUTCOMES OR IMPACTS TO DATE, IF ANY: None yet PERFORMERS/OTHER PARTNERS (FEDERAL, STATES, OR LOCAL): Mendocino National Forest, Pacific Southwest Research Station, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, California Energy Commission, Winrock International, Wheelabrator Shasta Energy, Inc., Future Resources Associates, TSS Consultants, and Sierra Pacific Industries PROJECT PERIOD: Research work period: Spring 2007 – March 2009 Project work period: July 2007 – March 2009 Research finding to be published 2 to 3 years following project completion PARTNER FUNDING LEVELS (CURRENT OR PROPOSED): $250,000 — Winrock International $50,000 — Future Resources Associates (Dr. Gregg Morris for carbon modeling) $50,000 — TSS Consultants (Fire modeling and biomass power marketing consulting)
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary TITLE OF PROJECT OR PROGRAM: Ecosystem Services Research in Communities: Willamette River Basin Study AGENCY: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency PROJECT/PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: EPA’s Ecological Research Program (ERP) in the Office of Research and Development (ORD) is focused on the study of ecosystem services and the benefits to human well-being provided by ecological systems. As part of the ERP’s community-based research, this project will identify and characterize ecosystem services in the Willamette River Basin, located in Oregon between the Cascade mountains and the Pacific Ocean. This basin is primarily in forest and agriculture (forests/ forestry comprises about 56%; agriculture is about 20% of land cover). The Willamette Basin’s population is expected to double by 2050. There is considerable local interest in sustainable economic growth and resource utilization. The research goal for the Willamette River Basin is to quantify the area’s ecosystem services and understand the effects of man-made stressors on those services. Understanding these interactions will help local decision makers understand the ecological costs and benefits of existing and proposed land management and growth policies. The study will focus on major ecosystem service pertinent to land cover categories of agriculture, forests and riparian wetlands. The goals of the initiative are to: Identify critical knowledge gaps in the ecological processes underlying ecosystem services Map ecosystem services in the river basin based on current conditions and available data Quantify the response of ecosystem services to current and projected conditions and stressors (i.e., land use changes, climate change, cropping practices, etc.) Quantify linkages and trade-offs among bundles of ecosystem services in response to land use, climate, and other variables Model the future responses of ecosystem services to probable future conditions Determine how these changes in ecosystem services affect human well being.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary DESCRIBE ANY NOTABLE RESULTS, OUTCOMES OR IMPACTS TO DATE: Previous research in the Willamette River Basin conducted by EPA’s ERP developed alternative future scenarios and estimated how alternative development practices would likely affect a number of ecological endpoints. These results were portrayed as maps of conservation and restoration opportunities and were used by the Willamette Restoration Initiative in targeting various large scale restoration and “services trading” initiatives. The present study builds on this foundation and will expand and refine ecosystem services maps, models of ecological production functions, and creation of decision support tools, with a particular focus on riparian systems. Research clients include U.S. EPA Region 10 office in Seattle, Washington, which has regulatory authority in the Willamette River Basin, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and local municipalities. Using these tools, decision makers can implement proactive policy and management decisions over time and at multiple scales. The research also will be integrated with other ERP community-based ecosystems research to create a suite of methods and tools for evaluating ecosystem services that can be transferred to other EPA regions and national program offices. PERFORMERS/OTHER PARTNERS (FEDERAL, STATES, OR LOCAL): NA PROJECT PERIOD: Start Date: 2005 End Date: 2014 FUNDING LEVELS (CURRENT OR PROPOSED): This research is being carried out primarily by EPA ERP’s in-house scientists; a portion of this research is being conducted by scientists at Oregon State University and University of Oregon, under the sponsorship by ERP’s extramural STAR grant program.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary TITLE OF PROJECT OR PROGRAM: Long-term Agro-ecosystem Research AGENCY: USDA/Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) PROJECT/PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The long-term goal of the program is to support inter-disciplinary experimental, observational, theoretical, and modeling studies that can create improved cropping and tillage systems that supply high quality food, fiber and fuel while reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment. Currently, one of the limitations in achieving this goal is a lack of understanding concerning long-term processes and the coupled dynamics of ecological, production, and socio-economic systems. The focus of the program will be on soil carbon management. Soil is the largest reservoir of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. Understanding the mechanisms and processes involved in the accumulation and loss of stored soil carbon provides an opportunity to develop management strategies that increase carbon storage and decrease carbon loss. Soil carbon is relevant to food security, economic viability of farms, and climate change. Key issues to be addressed include how the management of agronomic inputs impacts soil carbon storage; how the maximum potential carbon storage of a soil can be estimated; how long it takes to attain the storage potential; how long it resides; what the regional differences are; how changes in the global environment, such as increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and weather patterns, impact soil carbon cycling; the role of the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of crop residue in greenhouse gas emissions; and the social and economic benefits associated with particular carbon management strategies. The general objective is the transfer of scientific results to local understanding, acceptance and support based on social, economic, and environmental benefits of sequestering carbon. Emphasis will be placed establishing a community network of farmers, researchers and extension personnel and measuring soil carbon storage and understanding carbon dynamics of different farming practices. DESCRIBE ANY NOTABLE RESULTS, OUTCOMES OR IMPACTS TO DATE, IF ANY: N/A PERFORMERS/OTHER PARTNERS (FEDERAL, STATES, OR LOCAL): National Science Foundation
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary PROJECT PERIOD: Should begin in 2008 FUNDING LEVELS (CURRENT OR PROPOSED): Proposed $1 million/year.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary TITLE OF PROJECT OR PROGRAM: Implementing a holistic “Ecosystem Approach” to NOAA’s Coastal and Marine Mandates—Providing the Science Base to Achieve Ecosystem Objectives AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) PROJECT/PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: NOAA has a wide range of stewardship responsibilities related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes natural resource management. In the past these mandates were pursued using science and governance mechanisms that were species or issue-based: a “Single Sector” approach. More recently, the Agency and its external stakeholder groups have advocated a more holistic approach to regional ecosystem governance and science that provides a more comprehensive view of marine ecosystem management: an “Ecosystem Approach.” Advantages of Ecosystem Approach over Single Sector Management: Provides a “big picture” of an ecosystem. Broad perspective and multiple time and space scales. Long-term strategic balance among competing uses of ecosystems.& tradeoffs. Human impacts and effects on communities considered in tradeoff analyses. Supports Adaptive and integrated management across sectors. Shared and standardized observations. There is considerable interest in Congress to implement more comprehensive management, but responsibilities are currently spread over many different federal agencies and bureaus within agencies, making this integration difficult. Notwithstanding these organizational difficulties, a number of noteworthy external drivers have advocated for ecosystem-based management, and there are numerous proposals in Congress to define the issues, authorities, and processes to implement ecosystem approaches. Chief among these external drivers is the recent reports of the U.S. Ocean Commission, and the private Pew Oceans Commissions reports which both simultaneously have called for the federal government, in concert with the states, local government entities, and NGOs to collaborate on ecosystem management. What are the elements of an ecosystem approach and how do they differ from business as usual? NOAA has been a leader in the effort to envision and implement marine EAM.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary Briefly, most proponents identify a series of principles inherent in the concept, including the following: Characteristics of Ecosystem Approaches to Management: Adaptive Collaborative Incremental Geographically specific Accounts for ecosystem knowledge and uncertainty Considers multiple external factors Strives to balance diverse societal objectives While there presently is no overall federal governmental mandate to employ EAM across the Federal ocean agencies, clearly many of these steps can be imbedded into present mandates and working relationships among governmental and extra-governmental entities. There are many such efforts currently ongoing. In order to accomplish the goals of biodiversity protection, enhancing ecosystem resilience to perturbations and promoting sustainability, a broad set of monitoring, research and forecasting tools are required. In order to help frame management decision making, quantitative “decision support tools” are required to evaluate ecosystem outcomes resulting from alternative options. One such approach to decision support tools is to conduct Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (or IEAs). What are IEAs? An Integrated Ecosystem Assessment is defined as “a formal synthesis and quantitative analysis of information on relevant physical, chemical, ecological and human factors in relation to specified ecosystem management objectives.” It brings together citizens, industry representatives, scientists, and policy makers through formal processes to evaluate a range of policy and/or management actions on difficult environmental problems. An IEA provides an assessment of baseline conditions and identifies important stressors to the system. It also delivers ecological forecasts and scenario developments under changing ecosystem conditions as well as different management actions. IEAs are an emerging concept under development in the USA, and elsewhere in the world. While our concept shares many attributes with related efforts, NOAA’s IEA concept, if implemented as outlined here, will be more comprehensive, complete and useful over a broader constituency than any previous efforts. The primary objectives of the IEA are to: Identify key management or policy questions Assess status and trends of the ecosystem
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary Assess the environmental, social, and economic causes and consequences of these trends Forecast ecosystem responses to climate change Forecast likely ecosystem status under a range of policy and/or management actions Identify crucial gaps the knowledge of the ecosystem that will guide future research and data acquisition efforts. An IEA uses approaches that determine the probability that ecological or socio-economic properties of systems will move beyond acceptable limits as defined by management objectives. A useful IEA must provide an efficient, transparent means of summarizing the status of ecosystem components, screening and prioritizing potential risks, and evaluating alternative management strategies against a backdrop of environmental (e.g., climatic, oceanographic, seasonal) variability. An IEA provides a means of evaluating tradeoffs in management strategies among potentially competing ecosystem use sectors. What is the process for conducting IEAs? The Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts, Response (DPSIR) framework is a well accepted model for environmental management supporting a wide variety of disciplines. This can be summarized as: Driver → Pressure → State → Impacts → Response → Driver…. The DPSIR framework illustrates the process of IEA development in relation to stated ecosystem problems and goals, and is a model for continuous process improvement supporting an adaptive approach to ecosystem-based management. The process by which a regional or local entity produces IEAs can be applied to this model is as follows: Identify major human and natural factors affecting ecosystem. Define scale. (Driver/Pressure) Organize relevant date. Select key indicators of ecosystem status. (State) Link ecosystem status indicators to drivers and pressures using ecosystem models. (State/Impacts) Evaluate ecological and economic impacts of management options by developing Forecasts and risk assessments. (Impacts) Adaptive management and management evaluation. (Response) (Return to 1.) Drivers are considered large-scale anthropogenic and earth system phenomena that act through specific pressures to influence ecosystems. Examples of drivers include the increasing demand for seafood, increased human populations
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary and their disproportionate migration to coasts, and long-term climate change affecting the atmosphere and oceans. Pressures are the specific agents acting as a result of the drivers that affect ecosystems. For example, increase demand for seafood drives fishing effort, prices, and imports. Increasing human populations at the coasts generate higher levels of pollution and result in lower habitat quality, and global change may result in warmer temperatures and less sea ice. States are various measures of current ecosystem conditions, such as the number of fishery stocks that are over fished, the average nutrient loads in coastal waters and the average water temperatures. Often these state variables are measured relative to some management imposed standards (e.g., through various laws). Impacts are the consequences of the observed state of the system usually expressed in human terms such as total net benefits (or those foregone when ecosystems are degraded). They can also be expressed in other currency such as jobs, recreational opportunities, and other impacts humans care about. We envision IEAs to incorporate a risk assessment module to evaluate the risks and consequences of not meeting prescribed management targets as articulated in the selected set of state variables. Last, the response part of DPSIR evaluates how the ecosystem state variables respond to the various management actions implemented. By iterating this model it is possible to build an empirical and modeling-based understanding of how the ecosystem responds to human pressures and to support adaptive learning and management schemes that achieve ecosystem objectives. DESCRIBE ANY NOTABLE RESULTS, OUTCOMES OR IMPACTS TO DATE, IF ANY: NOAA currently conducts several activities that will support future IEA development, and several small-scale integrated products are produced throughout the agency both routinely and on an ad-hoc basis. NOAA has not yet produced a full-scale regional IEA. This is a new product line envisioned for the agency. PERFORMERS/OTHER PARTNERS (FEDERAL, STATES, OR LOCAL): Federal: NOAA, EPA, NSF, and others All Coastal States Non-governmental Organizations: Foundations such as Packard Foundation, Moore Foundation COMPASS University researchers Others
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary PROJECT PERIOD: NOAA plans to develop 8 regional IEAs over the next several years. FUNDING LEVELS (CURRENT OR PROPOSED): Approximately half of NOAA’s $1.2 billion Ecosystems Programs will support data collection and integration efforts that will be used in IEA development. Additional funds are being sought.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary TITLE OF PROJECT OR PROGRAM: SERVIR: A Regional Visualization and Monitoring System for Improved Environmental Decision Making in Mesoamerica AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); United States Agency for International Development (USAID) PROJECT/PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: SERVIR is a regional visualization and monitoring system for the nations of Central America that integrates satellite and in situ observations with environmental models for scientifically-based decision making by managers, researchers, students, and the general public. SERVIR addresses the nine societal benefit areas of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS): disasters, ecosystems, biodiversity, weather, water, climate, health, agriculture, and energy. For example, SERVIR can be used to monitor ecological changes and severe events such as forest fires, red tides, and tropical storms. In addition, SERVIR is developing forecasting tools for ecosystem change, as well as for weather and climate events. SERVIR headquarters are located at the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) in the Republic of Panama. A test bed and rapid prototyping SERVIR facility is managed by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center at the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Alabama. DESCRIBE ANY NOTABLE RESULTS, OUTCOMES OR IMPACTS TO DATE, IF ANY: The bilingual SERVIR website (http://servir.net/ or http://servir.nsstc.nasa.gov) provides free and open access to: Satellite and Other Geospatial Datasets Users search, browse, and download geospatial data and metadata Interactive Online Maps Users view live maps from dozens of Web Map Services Users observe, animate, and download near real-time satellite feeds of regional weather and ecological conditions Thematic Decision Support Tools Users are accessing near real-time updates on fires, floods, red tides, and severe weather conditions (e.g., SERVIR was the central point for distributing international satellite imagery during and after Hurricanes Dean and Felix this hurricane season)
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary Users browse from a selection of customized regional climate change, land cover, and ecological data products (e.g., leaf area index, land surface temperature, and fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation) 3D Interactive Visualizations Users compare real-time visualizations of weather and other phenomena In summary, utilizing SERVIR’s flagship products (the SERVIR Data Portal, Real-time Image Viewer, and the SERVIR-VIZ visualization tool), users can search, browse, download, and visualize information from a variety of national, regional, and global geospatial sources addressing disasters, ecosystems, weather, climate, water, health, and other key thematic areas. The SERVIR team at CATHALAC is also equipped to prepare custom analyses, visualizations, GIS implementations, and educational products and services. An online User’s Manual page gives more information about the website. PERFORMERS/OTHER PARTNERS (FEDERAL, STATES, OR LOCAL): SERVIR implementing agencies include NASA, CATHALAC, USAID, the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD), the World Bank, and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP-ROLAC). Private sector Partners include: Cable and Wireless Panama, EGE Fortuna S.A., The Nature Conservancy, and the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology at Cayuga Community College, Inc. Other SERVIR key partners can be found on the SERVIR webpage under “Partners.” PROJECT PERIOD: NASA is currently funding SERVIR for five years through 2008. USAID has been funding SERVIR at a comparable level over the same time period and has now taken a lead role in providing U.S. Government support to SERVIR. FUNDING LEVELS (CURRENT OR PROPOSED): NASA five-year funding for SERVIR totals approximately $3 million dollars while USAID funding has exceeded $3.5 million.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary TITLE OF PROJECT OR PROGRAM: Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2007/nsf07598/nsf07598.pdf AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF) PROJECT/PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) is a multi-directorate Program that promotes quantitative, interdisciplinary analyses of relevant human and natural system processes and complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse scales. This competitive grant program is conducted jointly by three NSF directorates (Biological Sciences; Geosciences; and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences), and beginning in 2008, in partnership with the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Two additional NSF directorates (Engineering, and Education and Human Resources) and two offices (Office of International Science and Engineering, and Office of Polar Programs) participate on a less formal basis. CNH is a direct successor of the special competition on the part of the Biocomplexity in the Environment special competition on the Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems that was conducted from 2001 through 2005. CNH aims to support basic research and related activities that enhance fundamental understanding of the complex interactions within and among natural and human systems. The CNH competition promotes quantitative, interdisciplinary analyses of relevant human and natural system processes and complex interactions among human and natural systems at diverse spatial, temporal, and organizational scales. CNH seeks to advance basic knowledge about the system dynamics—the processes through which systems function and interact with other systems. Competitive proposals will focus on both natural AND human systems that are relevant to addressing the questions posed. Projects must also examine the full range of coupled interactions and feedbacks among relevant systems. PERFORMERS/OTHER PARTNERS (FEDERAL, STATES, OR LOCAL): Partnership with the Forest Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, starting fiscal year 2008. PROJECT PERIOD: 2001 to present
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary FUNDING LEVELS (CURRENT OR PROPOSED): Estimated Number of Awards: 7 to 12 Anticipated Funding Amount: Award sizes range from roughly $500,000 to no more than $1,500,000. The anticipated total in FY 2008 is $9,000,000. This total is for awards to be made annually, pending availability of funds. Briefly describe the objectives of the program/project and how it deals with some of the core needs and scientific questions related to the use of the ecosystems concept in sustainable resource management or sustainable development. Research funded by this program is expected to contribute to enhancement of theory within and across relevant fields. The team of researchers should include expertise from the natural sciences (biological sciences, geosciences, and/or physical sciences) and human sciences (social sciences, behavioral sciences, and/or engineering). Involvement of individuals with expertise in quantitative approaches and in education is also expected. In addition to basic new knowledge and enhanced theory regarding the complex ways that people and natural systems interact, CNH seeks to develop the capabilities of people and tools needed to advance these areas of research in the future. CNH seeks to foster and develop new interdisciplinarity by bringing members of disparate disciplines into teams, and by developing new methods and expertise. In the process, the next generation of researchers will learn to work in diverse teams, cross disciplinary boundaries, and use advanced sensing and monitoring, communication and information technologies to work across many scales of time and space. A global perspective is encouraged in all proposals. Wherever appropriate and practical, specific international collaborations and networks for research and education are encouraged. DESCRIBE ANY NOTABLE RESULTS TO DATE, IF ANY: The funded projects described below provide a flavor of the projects that this Program fosters: Award Abstract #0508028. BE/CNH: Understanding Linkages Among Human and Biogeochemical Processes in Agricultural Landscapes. P.I. Laurie Drinkwater, Cornell University Humans have profoundly altered global cycling processes at multiple scales. Current estimates suggest human activities have doubled the amount of biologically active nitrogen on a global basis, with agriculture accounting for 75 percent of the human-derived nitrogen. A complex set of environmental and socio-economic factors influence agricultural fertilizer management practices. Linkages among socioeconomic and ecological subsystems are recognized as crucial in efforts to pursue sustainable ecosystem management and improve nitrogen-use
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary efficiency. Disconnections between human and natural subsystems must be addressed as well as disconnections within the component subsystems. Within the human realm, those who pollute do not pay the costs associated with resource degradation. Likewise, the biophysical system that has evolved as a result of high-input industrial agriculture is fraught with ecological disconnections. For example, uncoupling of carbon and nitrogen cycles is a defining trait of agricultural systems and is the root cause of the leakiness of these systems. On average, 45-55 percent of fertilizer nitrogen applied is lost to the environment. The goal of this research project is to understand how interactions among social and biophysical subsystems impact on carbon and nitrogen cycles in intensively managed agricultural landscapes at multiple scales. This project has implications for coupled human-natural systems theory and methodology, social systems theory, and environmental policy and will also have practical outcomes that are relevant to the development of agricultural and resource-management policy. Award Abstract #0508002, BE/CNH: Urban Landscape Patterns: Complex Dynamics and Emergent Properties. P.I., Marina Alberti, University of Washington Urban development in the United States is profoundly changing landscape patterns and biodiversity and is simultaneously affected by these changes. Little is known about the interactions between patterns and processes in human dominated landscapes, however. One of the least understood aspects of urban landscape dynamics is the way in which local interactions of humans and biophysical processes generate the landscape patterns of metropolitan regions. Studying the relationships between these interactions and the resulting urban landscape patterns is critical for planning and managing urban growth in ways that minimize the ecological impacts on ecosystems while sustaining economically and socially viable urban communities. This research project will examine urban landscapes as emergent phenomena that result from local interactions of human agents, real estate markets, built infrastructure, and biophysical factors such as land cover, geomorphology, and natural disturbance regimes to develop a theory of urban landscape dynamics. This study will employ complex-systems, patch-dynamics, hierarchical-theory, and agent-based modeling approaches to study coupled human-natural dynamics and empirically test this approach in two different bioregions (Seattle and Phoenix). The models will be developed and used to test hypotheses regarding emergent properties of urban landscapes and to enhance basic understanding of human-ecological interactions in urban landscapes across scales. Development of a better understanding of complex human-ecological dynamics leading to development patterns such as urban sprawl will contribute to the advance of biocomplexity science. The findings will also aid planning and management of urban regions by providing simulation tools to assess the ecological impacts and feedback of alternative strategies for urban development and ecological conservation.
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Transitioning to Sustainability Through Research and Development on Ecosystem Services and Biofuels: Workshop Summary Award #0505094, BE/CNH: Biodiversity Dynamics and Land-Use Changes in the Amazon: Multi-Scale Interactions Between Ecological Systems and Resource-Use Decisions by Indigenous Peoples. P.I. Jose Fragoso, University of Hawaii Debate surrounding resource use and conservation by indigenous peoples has shifted away from tests of the “noble savage” hypothesis of the 1970s and 1980s towards analysis of the multiple social, economic, and biological factors that affect the sustainability of resource use. Hunting practices in particular among many indigenous groups are probably strongly regulated by internal controls, based on a combination of spiritual beliefs (cosmology), social rituals, and natural history knowledge. This research project will test the fundamental hypothesis that retention of traditional practices and cosmology by indigenous societies buffers them against the process of integration into the national society, thereby preventing biodiversity and ecosystem degradation by the indigenous societies themselves. Socioeconomic data, wildlife data, and remotely sensed data will be collected, integrated, and analyzed within a geographic information system. In addition to a better understanding of human-biodiversity linkages in indigenous areas, outcomes of this project will include (1) educational materials for the Macuxi and the institutions that work with them, (2) a distance-linked graduate seminar in which students collaborate across departments, campuses and disciplines, (3) broadening of the participation of women and minority students in science, and (4) enhancement of the infrastructure for science by linking institutions with different areas of specialty into a teaching and research network that will benefit students who would normally have access only to their own institution. This project will contribute to the development of effective development policies and biodiversity conservation and will help provide theoretical background for coupled human-natural systems in the subsistence or semi-subsistence societies that characterize much of tropics. The results will be particularly germane for the ongoing debate on the role of “people in parks” and on the contribution that indigenous peoples will make to biodiversity conservation worldwide. The geographical location of this study is significant unto itself. Roraima covers a large portion of the unstudied and largely unmanaged high diversity Guiana Shield forest-savanna transition. For this key ecological area, the future of biodiversity lies in the hands of indigenous peoples. This study will provide insights into the internal cultural dynamics of indigenous societies and how they influence, and are influenced by, biodiversity patterns and ecosystem function. The results will have important implications for human-environment interactions in Raposa and elsewhere where indigenous peoples retain an important presence.