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Ecosystem Services | Winter 2012 Speakers

Solutions Seminars: Ecosystem Services

 JANUARY 11, 2012

Just enough of a good thing: Nitrogen and ecosystem services

 Jana Compton
Ecologist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Western Ecology Division

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From factory emissions to fertilizer, people have dramatically altered the global nitrogen cycle. The effects are often harmful, such as groundwater pollution with nitrate  here in Oregon. Jana Compton will present EPA research that connects the impacts of nitrogen to ecosystem services and human well-being. This research is helping improve awareness and management of reactive nitrogen in our air, soil, and water.


JANUARY 18, 2012

Revealing Hidden Benefits:
Placing a Value on Nature 

David Batker
Executive Director, Earth Economics

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Nature provides everything humans need to live. These ecosystem services include many things we take for granted, like trees purifying air, wetlands filtering water and bees pollinating crops.

Putting a price tag on nature is difficult, but  doing so can inform better decisions about how to manage precious natural resources. An ecological economist for more than 20 years, David Batker will present the history, current state and future direction of valuing natural capital and revealing hidden benefits.


JANUARY 25, 2012

Ecosystem tradeoffs:
Valuing public preferences

Sahan Dissanayake
Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, PSU

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One method for valuing nature’s benefits is surveying the public to gauge preferences for one ecosystem service over another. Sahan Dissanayake will discuss how this relatively new tool in the valuation toolkit – choice experiment survey methods – can also be used to guide complex decisions about how best to carry out and manage ecosystem restoration projects.


FEBRUARY 1, 2012

Getting what you pay for: Tracking Ecosystem Services in the Northwest

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Bobby Cochran
Executive Direector, Willamette Partnership

If you stopped and asked Mother Nature how she would spend billions of dollars, she may come up with a different answer than our current pattern of spending for conservation and environmental compliance.

Bobby Cochran will discuss efforts of the Willamette Partnership to change the way we invest in ecosystem services around the northwest – from improving water quality in the Willamette and Klamath Rivers to protecting habitat in sagebrush country.


FEBRUARY 8, 2012

Monetizing forest ecosystem services

Bettina von Hagen
CEO, Ecotrust Forest Management

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Translating this value of nature's services into dollars requires a complex set of ingredients – an enabling mechanism, definition of the rights and responsibilities of buyers and sellers, agreement on how to measure and audit the unit of ecosystem service being traded, enforcement mechanisms, and availability of capital, to name a few. Bettina von Hagen will  discusses the joys and challenges of monetizing forest ecosystem services – and producing high quality timber - within Ecotrust Forests LLC.


FEBRUARY 15, 2012

Pay it forward: Financing the Intertwine regional conservation strategy

Dan Vizzini (and panel)
Portland Bureau of Environmental Services

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The Intertwine is an ever-growing network of integrated parks, trails and natural areas around the Portland-Vancouver metro area that is designed to help preserve open space and allow people connect with nature and live active, healthy lives.

Jim Desmond of Metro, Brent Davies of Ecotrust and Mike Houck of the Urban Greenspaces Institute join in this panel that will explore the vision, systems and realities of financing The Intertwine Regional Conservation Strategy, which will be completed this year.


FEBRUARY 22, 2012

Payment for Ecosystem Services in the Ecuadorian Andes

Kathleen Farley
Assistant Professor of Geography, San Diego State University

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High elevation páramo grasslands are home to rich natural resources and rare plants as well as a variety of land uses such as agriculture and grazing.

Kathleen Farley will present results of a multi-year study in Ecuadorian páramos where innovative “payment for ecosystem services” models may allow economic development to coexist with preserving ecosystem services that the grasslands provide, such as offsetting climate change by removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.


FEBRUARY 29, 2012

Compensation and Rewards for Forest Ecosystem Services: The Indian Experience

Madhu Verma
Professor of Environment and Developmental Economics at the Indian Institute of Forest Management, India

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Visiting Fulbright-Nehru Environmental Leadership Scholar Madhu Verma will share her experience of valuing the forest resources of India to better equip policy makers with information regarding the true value of India’s forests. She will discuss a system of compensation and rewards that considers the total economic loss for forest diversion and incentivizes communities engaged in forest conservation.


MARCH 7, 2012
Urbanizing delta regions: balancing water, health and economy

Alan Yeakley (and panel)
Professor of Environmental Science, PSU and
Fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions

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Urban regions in deltas and coastal lowlands face complex problems including competing land use claims, ecosystem degradation, water related diseases, and climate change. Solving these "wicked" problems requires transdisciplinary approaches, innovative ways of reasoning, and the involvement of all stakeholder groups.

Alan Yeakley and a panel of PSU PhD students will discuss a framework for solving wicked problems in urbanizing deltas, based on work from an international think tank of students, including five PSU graduate students, as part of the Radboud Honours Academy in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

MARCH 14, 2012

Valuing Nature: Incorporating Ecosystem
Services into Decision-Making

Steve Polasky

Professor Ecological Economics,
University of Minnesota

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Steve Polansky uses recent analysis of land use choices in Oregon and Minnesota to illustrate how human actions affect the provision and value of nature’s services, and how such information can inform  better decision making for human and ecological well-being.