Nature provides humans what they need to live. These services include many things we take for granted, like trees purifying air, wetlands filtering water and bees pollinating crops.
Though the Earth’s benefits seem free, they have tremendous value that is often unaccounted for. Putting a price tag on these assets can be difficult. But factoring nature into our ledgers leads to more informed decisions about how to manage precious natural resources. It also saves money, because nature usually does a better, more economical job producing vital services like purifying water than anything humans can build.
When we invest in resilient ecosystems to do the work they were meant to do, we are also making communities more resilient to challenges like climate change, drought and population growth.
With leadership from the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State is on the forefront of understanding ecosystem services approaches to complex, interconnected problems. We are also training graduates with the tools to value nature and understand this new way of looking at environmental challenges—no longer a tradeoff of human and ecological interests, but a tradeoff of dollars.
ISS also convenes the Cascadia Ecosystem Services Partnership, a network to share knowledge and innovative approaches to preserve and restore our region's ecosystem services.
Ecosystem Services work at Portland State:
- Ecosystem Services for Urbanizing Regions (Graduate Research Traineeship or IGERT)
- Cascadia Ecosystem Services Partnership (CaESP)
- Portland-Vancouver Urban Long Term Research Area (ULTRA)
- Urban Ecosystem Research Consortium (UERC)
- Spatial Ecosystems Services Analysis, Modeling, & Evaluation (SESAME)
- Solutions Seminars: Valuing nature (video)