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Ecosystem Services

Consider the many layers of ecosystem services

The concept of ecosystem services is complicated enough to understand all by itself. The average person certainly can grasp why trees make the world more livable and even the role of wetlands as a vital habitat. But what services do these aspects of nature provide and how do we value them?

Talking nature’s benefits in Washington, D.C.

I recently accompanied a team of environmental leaders to Washington D.C. for a series of discussions with senior environmental agency staff about ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are, basically, the benefits that nature provides. For example, the ability of forests to refresh water supplies and reduce air pollution, or the ability of clean rivers to provide healthy fish as a local food source.  

Restoring ecosystem services in the Rogue

I recently took a trip down to the Rogue Basin where the Freshwater Trust has partnered with the city of Medford, local nurseries, restoration contractors, and property owners to lower the temperature of the water in the Rogue River by planting trees along the banks of the Rogue and its tributaries.

PSU welcomes sustainability Ph.D. students from across the nation

“What you’re getting is very rare, and all of you are very lucky.” Richard Boone, a program director for the National Science Foundation, said these words to a group of Ph.D. students from universities across the country. The 33 students, all recipients of prestigious IGERT awards from the National Science Foundation, gathered at Portland State University to exchange ideas and collaborate on sustainability research during a four-day conference from September 26-29.

Video | IGERT program marks two successful years, welcomes third student cohort

The National Science Foundation-funded Ph.D. program at Portland State focusing on the relationship between natural systems and urbanizing areas is welcoming its third cohort of students into the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, or IGERT

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.

Valuing nature, measuring well-being

Since the 1940s, we have been measuring economic progress from a single, narrow viewpoint: gross domestic product. But what does this actually mean for people and communities?

How India is capitalizing on natural benefits from its forests

Ecosystem services are increasingly regarded as a vital concept in conservation—helping governments, communities and businesses understand the value of the natural and cultural resources that sustain them. Last week, Madhu Verma shared her experiences defining the value of forest ecosystem services in India.

Regional conservation

Portland is constantly touted as one of America’s greenest cities. But there’s more to it than an affinity for public transit and renewable energy—Portland has an abundance of natural green space that reaches beyond city limits to support communities, ecosystems, and economies throughout the region.

Nature does it better

What would Mother Nature say about the way we spend precious conservation dollars? By quantifying nature’s benefits, Willamette Partnership is able to translate restoration efforts into metrics that are meaningful to industry and consumers.

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