Jump to main content.

ReVA Rationale

Basic Information

Effectively sustaining the health of ecological systems and the benefits that society receives from them requires a technology that illustrates opportunity costs and other trade-offs associated with alternative environmental policies. Achieving this goal will require integration of socioeconomic forecasting models with existing information about ecosystem function and health, along with a better understanding of the effects of multiple stresses occurring at multiple scales on the delivery of ecosystem goods and services.

The structure and function of ecological systems can be represented as a stock of natural capital that provides flows of goods (such as food, timber, forage, fibers, etc.) and services (such as soil formation, nutrient storage, erosion control, water filtration, pollution assimilation, and recreation) that are valued by society. These goods and services constitute a large share of our social and economic welfare, and are vital to the Earth's life-support system.

Presently, we have very little understanding of the links between socioeconomic forces and implementation of ecosystem management strategies. To effectively manage changes in the flow of goods and services, policies that affect human behavior (such as zoning regulations, taxes, incentives, services, and other infrastructure support) need to be identified so that decision-makers can understand their effects on environmental health.

ReVA will provide the scientific framework needed to incorporate analyses of societal preferences, demographics, and economic needs into valuations of ecosystem goods and services. This framework also will identify the moste appropriate policies for sustainable ecosystems.  After 25 years of research on the effects of individual stressors on ecological processes, along with the recent development of landscape assessment technologies, we are now poised to develop techniques for assessing future ecosystem vulnerability and transfer these techniques to the environmental decision-maker.

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.