This guidebook is a collaborative effort and as a whole does not reflect the official position or views of any federal agency. It was created to fulfill the expressed need of federal agencies for common, credible approaches to incorporate ecosystem services concepts into natural resource management, planning, and decision making.
On May 8, 2012, the National Ecosystem Services Partnership (NESP), in partnership with A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES), coordinated a meeting of federal agencies wanting to integrate ecosystem services concepts into management and planning and to engage resource managers and planners in this process. The participants identified multiple challenges:
- Lack of capacity and tools to identify and assess ecosystem services and incorporate them into planning and management processes;
- Institutional resistance to a new idea with still-developing methods;
- Institutional limits to cross-agency sharing and coordinated use of these methods and tools; and
- Concern about the credibility and defensibility of methods within the context of the planning process and agencies’ legal authorities.
To move forward, agency representatives asked for guidance on developing an ecosystem services assessment and accounting framework and assessment and accounting methods. They also requested information about relevant tools and a mechanism to share best practices, thereby eliminating unnecessary duplications of agency efforts.
In response, the National Ecosystem Services Partnership (NESP) launched the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services (FRMES) project to develop credible approaches for incorporating ecosystem services into natural resource planning and management. This effort culminated in this guidebook, which describes how these approaches can be useful for federal resource planners and managers, provides a framework and methodology to enhance the consistency of the approaches, and examines how federal agencies are exploring or applying them.
The guidebook includes
More than 150 individuals from agencies, universities, NGOs, and think tanks participated in the FRMES project. More than 80 people contributed directly to the guidebook’s contents.
In July 2015, NESP released a companion paper, “Best Practices for Integrating Ecosystem Services into Federal Decision Making,” to build on the methods reviewed in the FRMES Guidebook. Content from this paper will be incorporated into the next round of guidebook updates.
This guidebook is primarily written for federal resource agencies that undertake land and waters planning and management. However, its framework, methods, and examples can be applied broadly—for example, to inform rulemaking and permitting decisions or large-scale restoration efforts as well as to inform natural resource management decisions by entities other than federal natural resource agencies.
How to Cite the Guidebook
National Ecosystem Services Partnership. 2016. Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook. 2nd ed. Durham: National Ecosystem Services Partnership, Duke University, https://nespguidebook.com.
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