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Session D3: Net Ecosystem Services Analysis as a Floodplain Restoration and Management Tool

Abstract: Established ecological fundamentals typically determine design, success and efficiency of restoration and management of floodplain and aquatic resources. Some of the more common criticisms center around the facts that commonly used methods: 1) do not have a quantitative basis for the estimates, 2) are not transparent to allow thorough review and stakeholder input, and 3) do not demonstrate direct and indirect benefits to the affected public. Integrating ecosystem services concepts and approaches and their evaluation for planning and performing ecological restoration is a practical alternative to the traditional restoration approach and can improve the restoration product, provide stakeholder support and ultimate value to the local public. Increased human influence and potential global influences (e.g. climate change) will directly affect floodplains and aquatic resources in the future with potential for substantial changes in physical effects (e.g. flooding and storm events), chemical changes (water quality), biological (changes in habitat and species distribution), and ultimately how humans use the services provided by these ecosystems. This will have substantial financial and human use implications in floodplain areas and general ecosystem health that provide these services to humans. Recent scientific thinking is increasingly focused on an ecosystems services approach. The concept, advanced by the United Nation’ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), brings a fresh approach to identifying and managing environmental risks within the limited financial and infrastructural resources available to most entities. This presentation will focus on the use of Net Ecosystem Services Analysis (NESA) for maximizing benefit and prioritizing future expenditures. The key to this is the quantification and rigorous analysis of the services provided by ecosystems that are important to people. NESA case studies will be used to demonstrate quantification tools and approaches used in similar assessments to manage floodplain ecosystem services.
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