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Report highlights importance of ecosystem services

Published On: 8/8/2011

White House report calls for increased attention to ecosystem services in federal agencies

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has released a report calling for the federal government to increase its efforts to assess biodiversity and ecosystem services including their social and economic values. The report, Sustaining Environmental Capital: Protecting Society and the Economy, emphasizes two main ideas. First, the economic and environmental dimensions of a healthy society are “both indispensable, as well as tightly intertwined.” Second, the Nation’s ecosystems and the biodiversity they contain provide ‘ecosystem services’ that “underpin much economic activity, as well as public health, safety, and environmental quality.”

This report is a sequel to a PCAST report Teaming with Life: Investing in Science to Understand and Use America’s Living Capital, first released in 1998 under the Clinton Administration. This newly released second report incorporates advances in our understanding of the drivers of environmental degradation including invasive species, overexploitation of commercially valuable flora and fauna, chemical pollution, and the replacement of complex ecosystems with simpler, human-influenced systems. These changes have been “compounded and amplified by a rapidly growing degree by global climate change.” In direct response to the increased  understanding of ecosystem services, this report offers a number of solutions including predictive modeling with existing data, increased monitoring of ecosystems, and incorporation of ecosystem service aspects into federal management plans.

To view the report:

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