Date of this Version
Published in Ecological Applications, 21(3) Supplement, 2011, pp. S128–S134.
Most government agencies involved in land management are seeking consistent approaches to evaluate the effects of specific management actions on ecological processes and concurrent changes on ecosystem services. This is especially true within the context of anthropogenic influences, such as land use and climate change. The Conservation Effects Assessment Project—Wetlands National Component (CEAP–Wetlands) was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to evaluate effects of conservation practices on ecosystem services including carbon sequestration for climate stability, groundwater recharge, runoff and flood attenuation, water storage, nutrient and contaminant retention, and wildlife habitat. A primary purpose of CEAP–Wetlands is to provide science-based information in an adaptive monitoring framework for use by the USDA to facilitate policy and management decisions, and to document effects of conservation programs and practices to the federal Office of Management and Budget. Herein, we propose a modeling framework to allow estimation of conservation practice and program effects on various ecosystem services at different temporal and spatial scales. This modeling approach provides the broad view needed by decision-makers to avoid unintended negative environmental outcomes, and to communicate to society the positive effects of conservation actions on a broad suite of ecosystem services.