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Darius Semmens

This report details the findings of the Bureau of Land Management–U.S. Geological Survey Ecosystem Services Valuation Pilot Study. This project evaluated alternative methods and tools that quantify and value ecosystem services, and it assessed the tools’ readiness for use in the Bureau of Land Management decisionmaking process. We tested these tools on the San Pedro River watershed in northern Sonora, Mexico, and southeast Arizona. The study area includes the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (managed by the Bureau of Land Management), which has been a focal point for conservation activities and scientific research in recent decades. We applied past site-specific primary valuation studies, value transfer,...
Natural resource planning at all scales demands methods for assessing the impacts of resource development and use, and in particular it requires standardized methods that yield robust and unbiased results. Building from existing probabilistic methods for assessing the volumes of energy and mineral resources, we provide an algorithm for consistent, reproducible, quantitative assessment of resource development impacts. The approach combines probabilistic input data with Monte Carlo statistical methods to determine probabilistic outputs that convey the uncertainties inherent in the data. For example, one can utilize our algorithm to combine data from a natural gas resource assessment with maps of sage grouse leks and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Natural Resources Research
The annual migration of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) has high cultural value and recent surveys indicate monarch populations are declining. Protecting migratory species is complex because they cross international borders and depend on multiple regions. Understanding how much, and where, humans place value on migratory species can facilitate market-based conservation approaches. We performed a contingent valuation study of monarchs to understand the potential for such approaches to fund monarch conservation. The survey asked U.S. respondents about the money they would spend, or have spent, growing monarch-friendly plants, and the amount they would donate to monarch conservation organizations. Combining...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Conservation Letters
A consortium of federal, academic, and nongovernment organization (NGO) partners have established a collaborative research enterprise in the San Pedro River Basin to develop methods, standards, and tools to assess and value ecosystem goods and services. The central premise of ecosystem services research is that human condition is intrinsically linked to the environment. Human health and well-being (including economic prosperity) depend on important supporting, regulating, provisioning, and cultural services that we derive from our surrounding ecosystems. The AGAVES project is intended as a demonstration study for incorporating ecosystem services information into resource management policy and decisionmaking. Accordingly,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fact Sheet
To enter widespread use, ecosystem service assessments need to be quantifiable, replicable, credible, flexible, and affordable. With recent growth in the field of ecosystem services, a variety of decision-support tools has emerged to support more systematic ecosystem services assessment. Despite the growing complexity of the tool landscape, thorough reviews of tools for identifying, assessing, modeling and in some cases monetarily valuing ecosystem services have generally been lacking. In this study, we describe 17 ecosystem services tools and rate their performance against eight evaluative criteria that gauge their readiness for widespread application in public- and private-sector decision making. We describe each...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosystem Services
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