WRI, EPA to heighten awareness of ecosystem services

The World Resources Institute (WRI) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced a collaboration to deliver improved science and practical tools to help companies and governments protect ecosystems and address climate change...

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 29, 2008 -- The World Resources Institute (WRI) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have announced a collaboration to deliver improved science and practical tools to help companies and governments protect ecosystems and address climate change.

"This is an important collaboration in bringing research on ecosystem services into the mainstream of science, business and public policy," said Rick Linthurst, national program director of the EPA's Ecological Research Program.

Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems. A forest, for example, not only provides wood for timber and paper but also controls erosion, purifies water, stores carbon dioxide, and offers recreation.

The partnership will bring a greater recognition and understanding of the importance of ecosystems to economic development and human well-being. It will also help planners better determine development options that allow affected natural resources to continue to produce services that meet the needs of current and future generations.

Craig Hanson, acting director of WRI's People and Ecosystems Program, added, "This collaboration will link EPA's quality scientific research on ecosystem services with WRI's work to help private- and public-sector leaders make the connection between healthy ecosystems and the attainment of their economic goals. This partnership will make our Corporate Ecosystem Services Review, mapping of ecosystem services, and economic valuation efforts even more powerful."

Businesses, local and state governments, researchers, and international organizations -- which are increasingly retooling their environmental-management systems to address ecosystem services -- will benefit from the partnership.

As part of the collaboration, Dr. Suzanne Marcy, lead for outreach and education in the Ecological Research Program of the EPA's Office of Research and Development, will be based at WRI's headquarters. She will focus on linking emerging scientific data about the health and economic value of ecosystem services with WRI's various projects on water quality, biofuels, coral reefs, and business sustainability, among others.

In addition, WRI's research will inform the EPA Ecological Research Program's initiatives in the Coastal Carolinas, the Willamette Valley in Oregon, Tampa Bay, the upper-Midwest, and the Southwest.

###

More in Green Infrastructure