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Science in action to improve the sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and food systems
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Ecosystem Services

The natural world around us provides a number of functions from which we benefit at no charge.  These are commonly called “ecosystem services” and are an important element of sustainable agriculture systems.  Examples include watershed functions (intake, storage, and release of water), conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygen by natural forests, native pollinator species, and natural checks and balances that prevent organisms from becoming pests.  There are an increasing number of tools developed to try to understand and place value on these services and the impacts that our agriculture and other activities have on them, including the Measure to Manage tools, the life-cycle assessment tool from OFOOT supported by WSU, and the BioEarth Model.

Featured Publications

True Cost Accounting Resources

Anne Schwartz, CSANR Advisory Committee member. 2018. True Cost Accounting is the study in economics that addresses all of the upstream and downstream costs and benefits associated with a set of management decisions and ensuing practices, and their long-term impacts on natural resources and communities.

Organic Farming Footprints

WSU webpage for the OFoot project, working to provide a scientifically sound yet simple estimation of the carbon and nitrogen sequestration and net greenhouse gas (GHG) balance likely in a given organic cropping system scenario.

Additional Publications

Greenhouse Gases and Agriculture: Where Does Organic Farming Fit?

Agriculture can be both a source and a sink for greenhouse gases. In this webinar, the presenters discuss these roles of agriculture, how management affects them, and ways in which organic farming systems in particular may influence greenhouse gases.

Land EKG: Ecosystem Service Monitoring for Range Managers

Poster presentation – BIOAg Research Symposium 2008.

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