ecosystem scenarios: sustainability science helping Hawaii landowners

yang and yamazaki environment and energy building at stanford

Pam Matson showed Stanford alums some fascinating ecosystem scenarios that are emerging from the Natural Capital project here in Hawaii.

Speaking at a Waialae luncheon yesterday, Matson evoked the promise of multi-disciplinary approaches to meeting the challenges of global warming and illustrated how Stanford's new School of Earth Sciences is (ahem...bias alert!) leading the way.

Drawing on the school's project work in Hawaii, Matson showed maps of ecosystem impacts associated with different land strategies for KSBE, from residential subdivisions, to biofuel production, to reforestation, based on the 'value' of the ecosystem services in each scenario. Fascinating stuff!

Turns out, KSBE has been evolving its own capability for assessing island ecosystems as well as integrating ecological and economic values, as noted by Neil Hannahs (another Stanford alum) at the luncheon. This provided a great opportunity for Matson’s teams to bring the latest science directly into the decision-making process, since solution-focused research is the focus of Matson’s new school.

Using their inVEST decision-making tool to depict alternative outcomes for one of the KSBE ahupuaa, Matson's team was able to model and map the delivery, distribution, and economic value of these ecosystem services well into the future.

The tool will helps KSBE visualize the impacts of potential decisions, identifying tradeoffs and compatibilities between environmental, economic, and social benefits.

Sure, we got just a glimpse of what this method is yielding and what KSBE is thinking, yet it was totally kewl watching Matson strut this stuff with Hannahs in the room.

Something's happening here that could dramatically alter how Hawaii landowners integrate ecology into their economics.

BTW, the Y2E2 (for Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy) Building shown above is one of 3 new green buildings on the Stanford campus that are also leading the way...

Published by Ken on July 13th, 2008 tagged Island Ecosystems, Sustainability Science

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