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SEMINAR: Valuing ecosystem services in chaparral-dominated watersheds in Southern California
Seminar by Hugh D. Safford (US Forest Service and University of California-Davis) and Emma Underwood (UC-Davis):
"Valuing ecosystem services in chaparral-dominated watersheds in Southern California"
The US Forest Service, the University of California-Davis, and Michigan State University are leading a 3-year project to assess ecosystem services in chaparral landscapes in Southern California. The main goal of the project, which focuses on the watershed of the Santa Clara River as a pilot project, is to create a useful and transparent framework for assessing changes in ecosystem services caused by fires, management actions, and climate change.
Targeted ecosystem services include carbon storage, water quantity (runoff and recharge), flood protection, regulation of erosion and sedimentation, biodiversity, and recreation. Measurement is by a combination of geographic data, remote sensing, and modified regional spatial models. Economic valuation includes willingness-to-pay and benefits transfer studies, recreation is being evaluated through primary surveys.
Now that we have completed baseline data collection, we are embarking on three tasks: (1) measure the impact of fire on the quantity and value of ecosystem services; (2) assess the impact of climate change on services; and (3) develop a tool that can inform management decisions by facilitating the estimation of the costs and impacts of selected management actions on ecosystem services.
Products will include publications; maps and spatial data with quantitative valuation of the services and their values pre - and post-fire, after management actions, and under future climates; an interactive online tool that permits evaluation of the measured services; and a web site to host spatial and economic data related to ecosystem services across Southern California. After finishing the project pilot in the Santa Clara watershed, we will apply the methodology to other chaparral-dominated landscapes in California.