2006 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts
Prospects and Perils for Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Services: Application and Research in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Co-Authors: Austin Troy and Matthew Wilson
Abstract: Ecosystem Goods and Services are the benefits people obtain either directly or indirectly from functioning ecological systems. Assessment of Ecosystem Services focuses principally on three issues: measurements of ecological functions, estimates of values for specific ecological functions, and the spatially explicit transfer of valuation estimates from study sites to policy sites. An Ecosystem Service approach has been proposed as a compelling framework for natural resource management because it provides a framework for assessing diverse tradeoffs (Farber et al. 2006). In the case of urban forestry research and applications, however, important issues need to be addressed before an Ecosystem Service approach will be useful in general. In this presentation we discuss some of the perils and prospects for adopting an ecosystem service approach with examples from Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) research and Revitalizing Baltimore (RB) applications. These issues include the following questions. Do the measurements of ecological processes and valuation of those processes correspond to the resolution at which urban forestry occurs? Do our valuation estimates account for interactions among social and biophysical processes? Are existing valuation estimates related to urban forest ecosystem services similar enough in context to be transferred to Baltimore? Do our estimates of ecosystem service values depend upon linear relationships or constant variation over space? We conclude with a discussion of the challenges and limitations to value transfer approaches as well as future opportunities in making this analysis spatially and contextually specific.