Knowing which ecosystem services are provided and who benefits from these services will allow resource managers, scientists, industries, and the public to explore new institutional, market, and policies to encourage protection of and investments in these resources. Objectives of this project are to 1) 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 2) to explore different development or management strategies and examine trade-offs to support improved and informed decision-making. A first step in determining the cumulative effects of stressors on Appalachian ecosystem integrity, functionality, and endemic or trust species, is having access to and appreciation of existing knowledge and data. A comprehensive status assessment will be conducted of pre-existing or ongoing work that could contribute to better understanding of individual or cumulative impacts, and further design of a landscape-scale assessment of environmental threats for the Appalachian LCC-defined landscape. The assessment will: (1) summarize existing threat assessment efforts of major stressors—including measures of ecosystems integrity, function, or sustainability, and identification of endemic species or trust species, (2) identify knowledge gaps and/or limitations to existing tools, methodology, and approaches, and (3) through a critical analysis and consultation based on expert-opinion, identify a framework and propose a process to facilitate the AppLCC systematically moving forward on a comprehensive threats assessment.
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