Environmental Economics

Ecological Benefits Assessment Strategic Plan

The ecological benefits of environmental policies depend on the effects of those policies on the activities of individuals, households, and firms, and other public and private groups. These in turn affect ecosystem functions and services, such as drinking water supply, commercial and game fish, food and fiber, timber, natural pollination and pest control, outdoor recreation, energy and nutrient cycling, pollutant filtration, and protection of property from weather extremes. In principle, economic valuation methods can estimate the net benefits—benefits minus costs—of any environmental policy in monetary terms. This facilitates comparisons among policy alternatives to support decisionmaking. In practice, however, ecological benefits, which are the contributions to social welfare derived from ecosystems, are notoriously difficult to evaluate. Several factors contribute to this challenge, including a limited understanding of the linkages between ecological and economic systems. The overall goal of this Ecological Benefits Assessment Strategic Plan (EBASP or “Plan”) is to help improve Agency decisionmaking by enhancing EPA’s ability to identify, quantify, and value the ecological benefits of existing and proposed policies. The Plan’s intended primary audience includes managers and analysts in EPA Program Offices, and natural and social scientists across the Agency. It focuses primarily on opportunities to improve ecological benefits assessments conducted at a national level. The Plan also communicates priority research needs to EPA’s principal natural and social science organizations, ORD and OPEI. The specific objectives of the Plan are to:

    :• Identify the major technical and institutional advancements that would facilitate performance of rigorous and comprehensive ecological benefits assessments on a routine basis;
    • Describe a road map of specific actions that the Agency can take to promote those advancements; and
    Describe mechanisms to facilitate the adaptive implementation of the EBASP, including periodic adjustments to reflect progress in the state of knowledge.
    1. Benefits Analysis
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation
    Environmental Media:
    e. Ecosystems
    EPA Project Officer/ Manager:
    Ise-Lovell, Sabrina
    Geographic Area:
    Study Purpose:
    Methodology Development & Evaluation, Methodology Guidelines
    Report Series:
    Ecological Benefits Assessment Strategic Plan
    Inventory Record #: EE-0485
    List of all reports in the Series:
  • Participating Organizations

    Research Organization:

    Environmental Protection Agency, Ecological Benefits Assessment WorkgroupAddress:
    City: State: ZIP:
    Phone: Fax:
  • Report Details
    Number of Pages:
  • How to Obtain Report

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    Date Linked: 05/28/2009