Ecosystem Services

Impacts of policy incentives on ecosystem services

Research team: Stephen Polasky (UMN), Peter Kareiva (TNC), Josh Lawler, David Lewis (UWisc), Eric Lonsdorf (Lincoln Park Zoo), Andrew Plantinga (OSU), Volker Radeloff (UWisc), Evan Girvetz, John Withey, Christie Galitsky
Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services while meeting the needs of human society for food, fiber, fuel and other essentials requires integrated assessment of the biological and economic consequences of land use and land management. This project develops and applies an integrated dynamic landscape-modeling approach to predict and compare how alternative policy incentives and market forces affect land-use decisions, how resulting land-use changes affect species conservation, carbon storage and the value of commodity production, and how this in turn affects future land-use decisions. An integrated approach will be used to analyze the likely effect of alternative policies on land-use change dynamics, the consequent trajectory for species conservation, ecosystem services, and economic activities on the landscape. The integrated dynamic landscape modeling approach will be applied to landscapes at several geographic scales, from the 48 contiguous states to regional analysis applied to the Willamette Basin in Oregon and the Northern Lakes Region in Wisconsin. By thinking carefully about the pattern, extent, and intensity of human activities across the landscape through time, it may be possible to achieve important species conservation and ecosystem service objectives while also generating high economic returns over the long term.