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Release - The Valuation of Ecosystem Services Available from Farms and Forests

Report on the Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Farms and Forests Released

Washington, DC – March 22, 2017 – The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics and the USDA Office of the Chief Economist Office of Environmental Markets partnered on project to develop a conceptual framework for valuing ecosystem service benefits from U.S. farms and forests. The report chapters are linked below as well as on C-FARE’s website – cfare.org.

Synthesis Chapter - The Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Farms and Forests: Informing a systematic approach to quantifying benefits of conservation programs

Chapter 1: Assessing Pollinator Habitat Services to Optimize Conservation Programs

Chapter 2: Ecosystem Service Benefits Generated by Improved Water Quality from Conservation Practices

Chapter 3: Estimated Values of Carbon Sequestration Resulting from Forest Management Policy Scenarios

Using a conceptual value framework and the best available science, the project engaged three interdisciplinary teams with experience working on issues of water quality, forests and carbon sequestration and pollinator habitat for the purpose of developing reliable and consistent approaches for assessing monetary and non-monetary benefits of national conservation programs.

“The study found that the science available for measuring the benefits of conservation programs is improving. More types of ecosystem services can be valued with available information.” said Lisa A. Wainger, Project Co-Chair and Research Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “However, the benefits that can be captured in monetary units will always be a subset of the full suite of benefits. The values that are often missed include many intangible values generated by improving the environment, such as promoting the health and well-being of future generations.”

"We can do systematic valuation of ecosystem service benefits based on the best available science while enlarging the domain of values assessed and advancing precision. Accounting for the values of important ecosystem service benefits from USDA conservation programs is not only good science, but it can advance decision-making.", said David E. Ervin, Project Co-Chair and Professor Emeritus of Economics and Environmental Management, Senior Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University.

C-FARE will host a webinar on Thursday, March 23rd at 1:00 PM ET. The webinar will feature the project Co-Chairs, who will be available to answer questions about the synthesis paper and reports that will be released earlier in the week. Those interested in the webinar may register here. This webinar will also review the guiding principles for valuing social benefits of conservation practices and/or policies.

For more information, contact Caron Gala, executive director of C-FARE, at cgala@cfare.org.

C-FARE's Mission: The mission of the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE) is to enhance the effectiveness of the food, agricultural, resource, and related economic sectors through a stronger national presence of the agricultural and applied economics profession in the processes of identifying key economic issues; connecting the work of the profession to those in policy making and leadership, and generating greater public appreciation for research, extension/outreach, and academic programs.

The scope of C-FARE’s activities will be consistent with the broad and growing range of subject matter areas that comprise the profession. Included among the subject matter areas are the economics of food production, distribution, and consumption; international trade and development; macroeconomic issues; natural and human resources; environmental quality; rural and agribusiness management; public policy; legal-economic issues; energy; and others. The Council also will develop linkages to other rural, social, agricultural and life sciences.

The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the USDA Economic Research Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Chief Economist. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Please note, the report and its chapters are intended to demonstrate a framework approach to ecosystem service valuation. The report or any chapter there within is not to be cited for the purpose of supporting or opposing any government or private program.

Last updated: March 28, 2017