The Appalachian LCC is funding research that will assess and inventory ecosystem services throughout the Appalachians in order to link and fully communicate the environmental and economic values of the region’s natural assets. Knowing the complete, critical, and diverse benefits from nature will allow managers, scientists, industries, and the public to explore new policies to encourage protection of and investments in these resources.
Objectives of this research are to link the environmental and economic values of the region’s natural assets in a way that establishes a common language for resource managers, scientists, industry, local government and the public to substantively engage in landscape-level conservation planning and to explore different management strategies and examine trade-offs to support improved and informed decision-making.
This research will deliver an inventory of existing ecosystem services assessments, products, and decision-support or visualization tools conducted within the Appalachian LCC boundary. Research will also involve a regional survey and workshops within our boundary to assemble a list of high priority economic goods and services and non‐monetized values and benefits that are dependent on Appalachia’s natural assets while identifying the associated resource that support these services and benefits (such as intact forests, clean rivers, etc.).
Finally, datasets will be assembled and visualization-base maps generated that depict natural assets and identify locations of key products and issues. This information will then be used to produce a spatial interpretation of areas within Appalachia that serve critical social and environmental functions, as well as identify those that are highly vulnerable to losses associated with key ecosystem stressors.
More information can be found at: http://applcc.org/research/ecosystem-services-and-environmental-threats