Tag: Ecosystem Services

When is an Ecosystem Service Not an Ecosystem Service?

If no one uses an ecosystem service, is it still a service? Marine scientist Mark Spalding examines the different ways we value nature.

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Working with Farmers and Nature

Agriculture presents one of the most difficult challenges for conservation. What if we could improve our food supply by taking lessons from nature rather than continually struggling against it?

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Re-Branding Nature: From Dismal Swamp to Constructed Wetland

Swamps were once considered disease-ridden, alligator-infested places. Now they’re hailed for the ecosystem services they provide–but for that image to stick, constructed wetlands have to be based on the best-available science.

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Meet the NatureNet Fellows: Rob McDonald

Conservationists have typically viewed cities as the enemy of the environment — to embrace urban growth is akin to heresy. But that viewpoint is changing by necessity.

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The Limits of Science Communications: Why Do People Live in Floodplains?

Science can play a role in informing one’s beliefs. But can it convince someone not to live in a floodplain? Our blogger tracks down the owner of this home destroyed by a flood and asks: Is it worth it?

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Coastal Resilience 2.0: Assessing Risk and Identifying Solutions to Coastal Hazards

Is there any way to predict the severity and damage posed by storms and flooding to communities? Who is most at risk? And what can we do about it? Introducing Coastal Resilience 2.0.

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Meet the NatureNet Fellows: Joanna Nelson

Water funds work. But could they work even better? That’s the focus of NatureNet Fellow Joanna Nelson, an ecologist with Stanford’s Natural Capital Project.

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Announcing SNAP: Because Everyone’s Prosperity Depends on Nature

Science for Nature and People (SNAP) debuts at the Clinton Global Initiative, and Mark Tercek says the collaboration will help the world better understand connections between healthy nature and human well-being.

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People and Nature: Announcing Our New Social Scientists

To solve today’s conservation problems, we need multi-disciplinary scientists who can look at how nature impacts people. Enter The Nature Conservancy’s 3 new social scientists, who will be working on the front lines of conservation for the benefit of people.

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Marine Restoration Week: Restoring Blue Forests–Opportunities for Mangroves

Mangroves are tough, opportunistic weeds, says Conservancy senior marine scientist Mark Spalding. But that doesn’t just mean you can restore them anywhere — there’s a narrow line above mid-tide that works, and legalities and laziness cause many restoration projects to fail. Communicate the science of proper mangrove planting, though, and you’ve got one of the most optimistic conservation tools around.

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New Study: Marine Protection Goals Are on Target, But Still Not Enough

According to a new report led by Nature Conservancy scientists and policy experts, the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) has increased fivefold in the last 10 years and the world is actually on track to meet its goal of protecting 10% of the oceans by 2020.

Sounds like something to shout from the rooftops, right? Not quite, say the authors. Instead, they want the marine conservation community to see this as an opportunity for reassessment: A call-to-action to step up and look beyond the numbers.

“It’s certainly progress and we should celebrate that,” says Mark Spalding, a Conservancy marine scientist and lead author on the report. “But there’s a lot of nuance behind these targets. More than that, is 10% really what we should be fixated on?”

The study — developed in conjunction with the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre and published in the Ocean Yearbook — assessed the state of ocean protection efforts to date and provides recommendations for how to achieve real success for the future. The authors reviewed 10,280 MPAs, covering 8.3 million square kilometers or 2.3% of the world’s ocean area, and found:

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Parasites, Poverty and Biodiversity

Conservationists lamenting the diminished focus on biodiversity in an increasingly ecosystem service dominated field can take succour from a study by Matthew Bonds and colleagues published in PLoS Biology.

The interesting take-home, which is actually a side event in the paper, is that the loss of biodiversity (species richness of plants, mammals, and birds), increases the burden of vector-borne parasitic diseases amongst a country’s human population, which in turn increases poverty.

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Heather Tallis Becomes Lead Scientist at The Nature Conservancy

Heather Tallis, one of the world’s foremost analysts of the connections between nature and human well-being, has agreed to join The Nature Conservancy as lead scientist.

Tallis, 36, will become the first woman to serve as lead scientist in the Conservancy’s history. She joins M. Sanjayan as one of two lead scientists for the organization.

“Heather brings incredible expertise in understanding and measuring how conservation impacts people,” says Peter Kareiva, chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy. “She will be leading new efforts that conservation desperately needs — a scientific focus on how our work can both improve human well-being while also protecting biodiversity.”

Tallis comes to the Conservancy from her position as lead scientist for the Natural Capital Project, a path-breaking scientific collaboration based at Stanford University that seeks to understand and measure the economic values of nature. Measuring these ecosystem services — the benefits that nature provide people in the form of clean water, fertile soil, clean air and much more — has become increasingly important as human activity stresses natural resources and extreme weather events push communities to consider how healthy nature can buffer and protect us.

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Salmon Cam Returns

We’re pleased to return Salmon Cam, a live view of spawning Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout.

What is Cool Green Science?

noun 1. Blog where Nature Conservancy scientists, science writers and external experts discuss and debate how conservation can meet the challenges of a 9 billion + planet.

2. Blog with astonishing photos, videos and dispatches of Nature Conservancy science in the field.

3. Home of Weird Nature, The Cooler, Quick Study, Traveling Naturalist and other amazing features.

Cool Green Science is managed by Matt Miller, the Conservancy's deputy director for science communications, and edited by Bob Lalasz, its director of science communications. Email us your feedback.

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