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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Range Management Research

Title: Valuing and rewarding ecosystem services from rangelands

item Macleod, Neil
item Brown, Joel

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/6/2014
Publication Date: 4/14/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: MacLeod, N.D., Brown, J.R. 2014. Valuing and rewarding ecosystem services from rangelands. Rangelands. 36(2):12-19.

Interpretive Summary: Valuing and Rewarding Ecosystem Services from Rangelands. 2014. Neil D. MacLeod and Joel R. Brown. Rangeland ecosystems provide a wide variety of ecosystem services. Some are relatively well quantified and have highly structured markets, while others are poorly defined and lack even rudimentary market opportunities. The highly variable nature of rangelands require a systematic approach to quantifying ecosystem services and assuring both public and private sector markets that prescribe changes in management do indeed result in enhanced outputs of goods and services. We propose the use of Ecological Site Descriptions and State and Transition Models to link ecosystem services to changes in management as a basis for a more transparent markets.

Technical Abstract: Ecosystem services are the wide array of benefits that people gain from natural ecosystems but many are not paid for nor is their future supply guaranteed. Many attempts are being made to define, measure, and value these natural services in order to secure their future—many of these methods are theoretical. Finding practical ways to reward land managers for providing elevated levels of services and protecting the capacity of range resources to provide those services is a challenge—theory well precedes practice. Range landscapes typically encompass heterogeneous ecological units dominated by native vegetation and have the capacity to provide different levels of ecosystem services depending on both site features and local management. Ecological Site Descriptions are potentially valuable for organizing information related to management options to achieve ecosystem service objectives and provide benchmarks for stewardship rewards or compliance expectations.

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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