(Washington, DC – October 29, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is collaborating with the National Geographic Society and the World Resources Institute to develop tools that will help to fully account for the value of ecosystem services.
Ecosystem services are the goods and services people obtain from natural systems. These benefits include clean air and water, erosion and flood control, soil enrichment, food, and fiber.
EPA's Ecological Research Program in the Office of Research and Development will collaborate with the National Geographic Society to develop better ways to map ecosystem services and communicate these maps to the public. Researchers will create maps displaying those services to help decision makers in communities, states, regions, and tribes understand the total costs and benefits of proposed land uses.
EPA will also team with the World Resources Institute to gain a better understanding of the ways in which decision makers in the private and public sectors use tools and information on ecosystem services. As part of the partnership, EPA scientists will share scientific tools to help businesses quantify ecosystem services and develop economic and environmental solutions.
"These partnerships will help transform the way we respond to environmental issues by illuminating the links between our own actions and the impacts on nature's services," said George Gray, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development. "With this improved understanding, decision makers can better plan for a healthy, sustainable future."
EPA relies on quality science as the basis for sound policy and decision-making. EPA's laboratories and research centers, and EPA's research grantees, are building the scientific foundation needed to support the Agency's mission to safeguard human health and the environment.