Understanding ecosystem services adoption by natural resource managers and research ecologists

Journal of Great Lakes Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

The ecosystem services (ES) paradigm has gained much traction as a natural resource management approach due to its comprehensive nature and ability to provide quantitative tools to improve decision-making. However, it is still uncertain whether and how practitioners have adopted the ES paradigm into their work and how this aligns with resource management information needs. To address this, we surveyed natural resource managers within the Great Lakes region about their use of ES information in decision-making. We complemented our manager survey with in-depth interviews of a related population—research ecologists at the U.S. Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center. In this study, managers and ecologists almost unanimously agreed that ES were appropriate to consider in resource management. We also found high congruence between managers and ecologists in the ES considered most relevant to their work, with provision of habitat, recreation and tourism, biological control, and primary production being the ES ranked highly by both groups. However, a disconnect arose when research ecologists deemed the information they provide regarding ES as adequate for management needs, but managers disagreed. Furthermore, managers reported that they would use economic information about ES if they had access to that information. We believe this data deficiency could represent a gap in scientific coverage by ecologists, but it may also simply reflect an underrepresentation of ecological economists who can translate ecological knowledge of ES providers into economic information that many managers desired.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Understanding ecosystem services adoption by natural resource managers and research ecologists
Series title Journal of Great Lakes Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2017.01.005
Volume 43
Issue 3
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 169
Last page 179