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Valuing nature globally

From July 31 through August 3, the Ecosystem Services Partnership hosted its fifth annual international conference in Portland. With more than 350 participants from 47 different countries, the conference represented the growing global interest in ecosystem services—ways of valuing nature’s benefits in order to preserve them for present and future generations.

People came from 47 countries and 202 cities to participate the the Fifth Annual
International ESP Conference in Portland.

The conference featured keynote addresses by environmental and economic experts like Hal Mooney from the International Council for Science and Glenn-Marie Lange from the World Bank. Over a two day period, participants collaborated in working groups to develop a product or solution for a particular issue, ranging from developing a framework for monitoring health and well-being, to evaluating how scientists can better inform decision-makers about ecosystem services. A number of these groups planned to write a paper about their work, and many of them outlined plans for pursuing partnerships and other outreach opportunities.

The last day of the conference included a synthesis panel with five speakers who discussed the current state of ecosystem services. Despite a growing global interest, the panelists agreed that we still need to better inform policy-makers and the general public about these concepts, because ecosystem services are not yet routinely being used in decision-making processes. But by continuing to demonstrate the economic, social, and environmental benefits of ecosystem services, we can move closer to accomplishing this goal.