The field team has completed design and implementation of the field data collection component. A total of 9 field sites representing farm, forest and rural residential land use were sampled using techniques based on the COTE (Counting On The Environment) tools developed by the Willamette Partnership for measurement of ecological function at the site scale. The COTE tools provided an excellent starting point for this research, but they were not applicable to all of study areas because the COTE calculators are designed for very specific ecosystem functions. As such, they are designed be applied to a few habitat types: waterways and their banks; wetlands; upland prairies; and oak savannahs. This allowed for estimation of the ecosystem services of a few subsections of the sample sites, such as the wetland below. However, areas with other land uses, such as rural residential (pictured above), could not be evaluated for ecosystem function with the COTE tools.
Thus, the SESAME project needed a way to derive site-scale ecosystem service estimates for a much broader range of landscape types. Terry Anthony, with feedback from Nicole Mannes and Bobby Cochran of the Willamette Partnership, is currently developing a more generic ecosystem service calculator that could theoretically be applied across the entire study area. Preliminary results from this generic calculator for each of the nine field sites are still in the process of being compiled, but suggest that the methodology is robust and will facilitate validation of the Tier 2 or Tier 3 InVEST models.