The concept of ecosystem services – or the benefits that nature provides – has gained tremendous attention over the past decade. It is a common-sense approach to management that recognizes and makes the most of nature’s contributions to human communities. Solutions based on ecosystem services generally avoid the up-front costs and expensive maintenance of highly engineered alternatives.
Defenders of Wildlife has been a leader in addressing ecosystem services and market-based programs, and is one of the first nonprofit organizations to explore policies guiding these programs. This whitepaper examines the process for addressing ecosystem services in decision-making, in hopes that these concepts encourage policy-makers to balance the interests of nature and society.