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Ecosystem Benefits and Risks

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Ecosystem Services Conservation Atlas

Explore Appalachian landscapes through a collection of maps and data layers showing the “lay of the land” from an ecosystem services perspective.

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Conservation Design

Access maps and data through the Appalachian LCC’s spatial data portal, with a map viewer and download capability.

Ecosystem services are the benefits people receive from nature. These are abundant in the Appalachians, from clean drinking water and sustainably harvested forest products to nature-based tourism. They also include the sense of home that communities find in rural landscapes and the values that Americans place on conserving biodiversity.

These essential services and the natural resources they depend on are extremely valuable to society, but are placed at risk by processes driving landscape change in the Appalachians such as urbanization and climate change. Some processes, such as energy development, produce both risks and benefits to society. Our challenge is to find a balance that sustains all of the benefits that people value.

To meet this need, the Appalachian LCC has collaborated with the US Forest Service to provide information and tools that fully integrate society’s value of ecosystems with future threats to better inform natural resource planning and management. Through links on this page, users can access information, maps, data, and additional resources brought together through this collaboration.

Benefits

Explore the multitude of benefits that people within and beyond the Appalachian region derive from its diverse ecosystems.

The Human Landscape

Explore social dimensions of Appalachian landscapes including demographic, economic, and land use patterns that influence how people value, use, and impact ecosystem services.

Framework

New assessment research supported by the Appalachian LCC builds on existing knowledge to better understand how ecosystem services change with urbanization, energy development, and other ongoing processes.

Risks

Explore ways in which ecological benefits to people change with societal and environmental change, often associated with drivers like climate change, urbanization, and other factors.

Assessments

Explore findings from a wide range of efforts to assess the use and sustainability of natural resources and ecological benefits across the Appalachians and beyond.

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