service may come at the expense of another ecosystem service. What may be acceptable to one community may not be acceptable to another, and what is valued as a project by one state agency may not be valued in the same way by another. Much has been written about how best to make environmental decisions that affect broad communities within society (e.g., Cash et al., 2003; NRC, 2005b, 2008). Technical analyses of the value of ecosystem services should fit within a larger consultative process that involves affected communities.

Despite these limitations, shortcomings and uncertainties, the committee believes that attempts to incorporate an ecosystem services approach to understanding the impacts of the DWH spill would inevitably offer a much more comprehensive and realistic assessment. The tremendous amount of data that has been and will continue to be collected in connection with the DWH spill will facilitate such attempts. While the toolbox is not complete, especially for the complexities of the DWH oil spill, techniques and models are available to value ecosystem services, and research and application of new approaches are ripe for development. The committee will continue to explore the issues associated with potential benefits (and shortcomings) of applying an ecosystem services approach to damage assessment, as well as those associated with restoring (and perhaps increasing) ecosystem resilience for GoM, will be a focus in the production of its final report.

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