A guide to selecting ecosystem service models for decision-making Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa

 

A guide to selecting ecosystem service models for decision-making

Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa

Ecosystems are essential to human life, livelihoods and wellbeing. Many national policies and international agreements include goals to protect ecosystem services. A new guide – commissioned by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme and written by Professor James Bullock of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and Helen Ding of World Resources Institute (WRI) – helps readers to assess how ecosystem service models could support policy-making in their countries.

Ecosystem protection features in several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – particularly those on terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity, and the marine environment. Some countries’ national climate action plans, submitted under the 2015 Paris Agreement, include ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation. To date, 127 countries have joined the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an international body to strengthen collaboration between scientific experts and policy-makers on biodiversity, long-term human wellbeing, and sustainable development. 

In order to manage ecosystem services sustainably, decision-makers need to understand the extent and condition of ecosystems. They must be able to predict the impacts of alternative policies or management decisions on the environment.

Frequently, there is not enough measured data on ecosystem services. In these situations, models can provide useful information based on assumptions from similar places. Modeling is especially useful in developing countries, where measured data may be scarce.

 

The guide is particularly suited to advisors and technical managers who are supporting policy-makers. It is based on results from the 2013–16 WISER project, which assessed several ecosystem service modeling tools in sub-Saharan Africa. Policy advisors from Malawi and Uganda contributed actively to the guide’s development.

The guide includes:

-          Advice on how models can inform different types of policy and programme decisions

-          Guidance on how to consider technical capacity and resource needs, when selecting an appropriate model

-          Case studies that draw on current policy issues and modeling experience in Africa.

The ESPA programme is funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

 

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Position Title: 
Implementation Manager

Hawaiian Islands Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Synthesis

The goal of the Hawaiian Islands Climate Synthesis Project was to develop comprehensive, science-based syntheses of current and projected future climate change impacts on, and adaptation options for, terrestrial and freshwater resources within the main Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian Islands Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Synthesis presents the results of the major project components - climate impacts assessment, vulnerability assessment, and adaptation planning - and provides an inter-island analysis of the findings. More detailed information is available in the individual vulnerability assessment syntheses and adaptation summaries, and should be referred to for decision support, which can be found at http://bit.ly/HawaiiClimate.

Securing the Future of Cultural Heritage by Identifying Barriers to and Strategizing Solutions for Preservation under Changing Climate Conditions

Climate change challenges cultural heritage management and preservation. Understanding the barriers that can impede preservation is of paramount importance, as is developing solutions that facilitate the planning and management of vulnerable cultural resources. Using online survey research, we elicited the opinions of diverse experts across southeastern United States, a region with cultural resources that are particularly vulnerable to flooding and erosion from storms and sea level rise. We asked experts to identify the greatest challenges facing cultural heritage policy and practice from coastal climate change threats, and to identify strategies and information needs to overcome those challenges. Using content analysis, we identified institutional, technical and financial barriers and needs. Findings revealed that the most salient barriers included the lack of processes and preservation guidelines for planning and implementing climate adaptation actions, as well as inadequate funding and limited knowledge about the intersection of climate change and cultural heritage. Experts perceived that principal needs to overcome identified barriers included increased research on climate adaptation strategies and impacts to cultural heritage characteristics from adaptation, as well as collaboration among diverse multi-level actors. This study can be used to set cultural heritage policy and research agendas at local, state, regional and national scales.

The Monaco Ocean Acidification Plan

This Action Plan was developed by the Ocean Acidification international Reference User Group (OAiRUG), with representatives from both the scientific and research users communities. The Plan aims to share progress and set priorities for developments in science and policy to keep pace with impacts we are starting to see in ecosystems and economic sectors most vulnerable to ocean acidification. This plan is as much for governments, policy advisers and decision makers, as it is for new stakeholders and the existing ocean acidification experts who form the current ‘ocean acidi cation community’. Whilst this plan is not comprehensive, it highlights major achievements and is intended to take stock of scientific and political activities, whilst also fostering a broader debate on priorities for action in the coming decade. 

Identifying and Reducing Climate Risks to Water Resources in an Eastern Virginia Water Utility

Location

VA
United States
37° 5' 54.8088" N, 76° 29' 2.652" W
Virginia US
Summary: 

Newport News Waterworks is a water provider for several cities and counties in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain of Eastern Virginia near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Climate change is projected to cause issues for local water supply and quality. The utility has worked on a number of impacts studies, capital improvement projects, and water conservation outreach efforts to help improve its activities in light of a changing climate.

Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership (Sierra CAMP)

Location

Sierra Nevada
United States
37° 5' 1.2912" N, 119° 7' 1.5924" W
US
Organization: 
Sierra Business Council, Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation
Summary: 

Sierra CAMP is a public-private, cross-sector partnership working to promote climate adaptation and mitigation strategies across the Sierra Nevada region.

Position Title: 
Innovative Services Manager
Organization: 

A measurement framework to increase transparency in historic preservation decision-making under changing climate conditions

Today, cultural heritage planning and decision-making operate under considerable climate, political, and financial uncertainties and constraints. Consequently, decision-makers are often left making value-laden judgments of what to preserve, restore, and maintain in their best judgments, which can leave them open to criticism for not protecting the cultural resources most important to various and diverse stakeholder groups. Thus, a transparent and robust process to optimally maintain cultural heritage values for present and future generations is needed. We address this knowledge gap by developing a novel, transparent, and value-based measurement framework for assessing relative “historical significance” and “use potential” of diverse historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places (United States). Measures of historical significance include: the association of a building with the purpose of a NPS site's foundation, the current physical condition of a building, the building's historic character, and National Register listing criteria. Specific measures of use potential consider the importance of historic building's operational, third party, visitor, interpretative, and scientific uses. The application of the framework is presented using a subset of buildings located within two separately listed historic districts at Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina. The framework focuses on the current status of the cultural resource's significance and use potential while acknowledging that corresponding attributes, metrics and weights can change over time and should be regularly updated. It is hoped that the historical significance and use potential framework can assist the decision-makers and stakeholders, and better inform both the cultural heritage management and allocation prioritization for climate adaptation planning when it is applied in tandem with climate change vulnerability assessments.