Ecosystem Vulnerability: Assessment       Approaches from EPA’s Regional       Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA)            ...
What Makes an Ecosystem “Vulnerable”?• Condition     Pristine, Good, Stressed, Degraded• Sustainability     f (ecosystem s...
ReVA OverviewProblemGiven multiple stresses affecting multiple endpoints simultaneously,how can limited resources be targe...
Future Scenarios:Projections of Major Drivers ofEcological Change           In the US, despite compliance with           e...
Projecting Land Use ChangeSuite of methods:• Economics• Planned roads, developments• Rural and urban change               ...
Resource Extraction and Special AreasLow                                          Globally-unique area in                 ...
Current and Future (2020) Projections for the Mid-Atlantic Region Drivers of Ecological Change                            ...
Where will valuedresources be subjected toadditional stress?                 Use by EPA                 Regional Offices t...
Charlotte MSA         Demonstrating Trade-offs                                         North Carolina                     ...
Choices:                  Development AlternativesGrowth as Usual                     Centers of                          ...
Alternative Scenarios of                  DevelopmentMedium Density Development          Compact Centers Development•   Fe...
Low Density   High Density                             Net Changes, all                             metrics combined      ...
Change drivers of interest for                  Midwestern place-based studyEnergy Independence and Security Actmandates i...
Projection of 2022 landscape changes due                to biofuel targets: Parcel change from                corn/soybean...
Implications of Forecast Change:                                     Increase in nitrogen fertilizationIncrease in corn pr...
Combining spatial data to improvecommunity exposure estimates     Atrazine application + individual     surface water use ...
Exposure: Service value is related to the ability tomitigate or reduce risk                                  Combined inde...
Integration of Spatial Data: the Method Used Matters!All of these maps were produced using thesame set of data; only the i...
EnviroAtlas                                                   National, coast-to-coast ,                                  ...
Potential for Tree Cover  to Buffer Airborne Pollutants from Busy  Roadways (estimated threshold is > 25% cover within    ...
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Keynote presentation from Elizabeth Smith. Ecosystem Vulnerability: Assessment Approaches from EPA’s Regional Vulnerabilit...
Keynote presentation from Elizabeth Smith. Ecosystem Vulnerability: Assessment Approaches from EPA’s Regional Vulnerabilit...
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Keynote presentation from Elizabeth Smith. Ecosystem Vulnerability: Assessment Approaches from EPA’s Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) Program

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Elizabeth Smith, ssociate National Program Director, Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program, US EPA was the keynote speaker at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation's Joint Public Advisory Committee meeting in December 2012 in Merida, Mexico.

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  • ReVA, like EMAP is being piloted in the mid-Atlantic region and thus contributes to the Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment (MAIA) (worth noting that ReVA will also be followed by a third ORD ecological research effort piloted in the MA, headed by NRMRL: EcoRiM (ecological risk management)). This publication is MAIA’s most recent publication and it considers what EMAP has shown in the MA region. The bottom line is that despite the fact that there is very good compliance with environmental regulations throughout the region, biological populations across the board are in decline. EMAP implicates several possible causes for these declines. REVA is undertaking reseach to develop models in each of these areas so that we can estimate current exposures as well as possible future scenarios, allowing proactive decision-making.
  • Most land use change modeling efforts have focused on fine-scale, urban focus, but we know that the process of land use change across regional scales and in rural areas does not follow the same process. So we are looking at a suite of methods to better capture land use change across a regional, recognizing the influence of urban change on rural areas. We are working with a regional economics-based land use change model, that is based on projected population and changes in demographics. We have also contacted all the state DOTs and planning agencies to obtain information on where future roads/highways are planned, where road improvements are planned, as well as where new development/industrial centers are planned. Along with the data on planned developments we have captured the estimated numbers of people expected to be employed there.
  • The model of risk of timber removals considers both economics and available transportation routes. The map on the left shows current patterns of forest fragmentation, with the darker blue (much of it in WV) as areas of low fragmentation. Worth noting that a recent analysis of global fragmentation patterns by members of the ReVA team identified the highland areas as globally significant in the amount of intact deciduous temperate forests. The same area is also targeted as having high risk of timber removals in future. This will implications for forest fragmentation, increases in sediment loading, and other issues.
  • Also includes the s state governments, and over 100 local jusridictions. It is a true partnership in putting together the future scenarios (the region is designing), the data (led by UNC-Charlotte), modeling the transportation patterns (Charlotte DOT), modeling the air quality (state of NC), developing the toolkit and indicators (ReVA team).
  • Partners listed are those that ReVA is partnering with and may not include all that other SEQL partners are working with Graphic is a screen shot from the prototype EDT that we have developed for demonstration purposes – futures shown are ficticious, just for illustration Demonstration future scenarios include a low density scenario where projected residential population is distributed at 1 household per acre, beginning at city boundary; and a high density scenario – projected population is distributed first by infilling urban boundary, then distributing at 4.5 households per acre. Maps depict estimates of phosphorus in surface water; phosphorus is region’s biggest NPS problem. Difference map at bottom shows watersheds in gold that have higher estimates of phosphorus entering system under the low density scenario. (LHS is left-hand side, RHS is right-hand side)
  • We have focused on two primary drivers of change. Biofuels policies are driving large and rapid shifts in agricultural land use, and implicit trade-offs among services. Agricultural conservation practices are a major area of public investment, and federal agencies are working to better quantify how the public benefits from these practices—specifically, the ecosystem services they provide. Within the agricultural community, interest is growing in potential markets for these services.
  • Here is a comparison of our 2001 Base Year with our 2022 Biofuel Targets landscape, in which many areas of corn-soybean rotation are projected to change to continuous corn.
  • Change in corn yield due to increased planting of monoculture corn, starting with most productive soils within each state. Decrease due only to loss of farmland as a result of urban growth (ICLUS). So can’t see unless zoom into closer view.
  • Example from ESRP Future Midwestern Landscapes study showing how we can combine different metrics to estimate vulnerabilities from exposure to atrazine in surface water.
  • Chicago Wilderness
  • Keynote presentation from Elizabeth Smith. Ecosystem Vulnerability: Assessment Approaches from EPA’s Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) Program

    1. 1. Ecosystem Vulnerability: Assessment Approaches from EPA’s Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) Program • Betsy Smith, Ph.D. • Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program • CEC JPAC WorkshopOffice of Research and Development • Merida, Yucatan, MexicoSustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program Dec. 13, 2012
    2. 2. What Makes an Ecosystem “Vulnerable”?• Condition Pristine, Good, Stressed, Degraded• Sustainability f (ecosystem sensitivity, resiliency; stressors affecting)• Value to Society Aesthetics, Economic Opportunities, Goods and ServicesWhat Drives Risk Management Decisions?• Feasibility, Clear Options, Economics What works where?, Range of method applicability
    3. 3. ReVA OverviewProblemGiven multiple stresses affecting multiple endpoints simultaneously,how can limited resources be targeted to maximize benefits andminimize problems?How do we incorporate various perspectives to balance amongcompeting priorities?Clients EPA Regional Offices (enforce regulations) EPA Program Offices (set regulations) State and Local Decision-makers (manage compliance with regulations) ....Anyone faced with this and no tools at hand to do it well...
    4. 4. Future Scenarios:Projections of Major Drivers ofEcological Change In the US, despite compliance with environmental regulations, biological populations are continuing to decline. Major drivers of change include: Land use change Resource extractions Pollution and pollutants Exotic invasive species Climate change
    5. 5. Projecting Land Use ChangeSuite of methods:• Economics• Planned roads, developments• Rural and urban change Input into decisions affecting  Conservation of native biodiversity  Increased risk of flooding  Nonpoint source pollution  Urban sprawl/quality of life  Drinking water quality and supply  Pests and pathogens in forests  Economic opportunities
    6. 6. Resource Extraction and Special AreasLow Globally-unique area in terms of intact, deciduous,High temperate forest Among the most biodiverse areasProjected Change in Hardwood Removals Habitat for large migratory speciesin the Mid-Atlantic Region through 2020 Highest unemployment in regionCurrent patterns of forest Targeted by Mountain-top removal miningfragmentation Expansion of chip mills from SE Potential Impacts on Native biodiversity Water quality Quality of life
    7. 7. Current and Future (2020) Projections for the Mid-Atlantic Region Drivers of Ecological Change Giant SalviniaLand use/land cover Modeled using GARP Modeled using SLEUTH Modeled using CMAQ
    8. 8. Where will valuedresources be subjected toadditional stress? Use by EPA Regional Offices to prioritize management options Watersheds in blue are candidates for use of Region 3’s discretionary funds for water monitoring, continuing existing projects, initiating new projects, partnerships with local communities for responsible development…..
    9. 9. Charlotte MSA Demonstrating Trade-offs North Carolina Mecklenburg County Adjacent Counties South CarolinaSustainableEnvironment forQuality of Life• Promotes integrated planning to protect the environment and quality of life while promoting economic win-wins• Landmark regional partnership for integrated planning• One of the first of its kind in the nation• 15-county region, encompassing approximately 10,000 square miles• Federal, State, and Local Governments in partnership
    10. 10. Choices: Development AlternativesGrowth as Usual Centers of Development OR Resulting patterns of land consumption
    11. 11. Alternative Scenarios of DevelopmentMedium Density Development Compact Centers Development• Fewer Houses per Acre • More Houses per Acre• More Land Consumption • Less Land Consumption• Decentralized Employment • Centralized Employment• Growth Less Linked to Transit • Growth Linked to Transit
    12. 12. Low Density High Density Net Changes, all metrics combined Watersheds in yellow showed better overall conditions resulting from high density development over low density (sprawl)
    13. 13. Change drivers of interest for Midwestern place-based studyEnergy Independence and Security Actmandates increased production and use ofbiofuels • Biofuels – Potential for rapid, large-scale changes in land use or land Locations of ethanol biorefineries and FML boundary management Conservation Reserve Program Participation – Implicit trade-offs among ecosystem ($/acre) services • Agricultural conservation practices – Existing area of large investment, uncertain benefit – Increasing interest in ecosystem service-based incentives and markets
    14. 14. Projection of 2022 landscape changes due to biofuel targets: Parcel change from corn/soybean to continuous corn Detail for Corn Belt area in Illinois In the Corn Belt, corn/soybean rotation will change to continuous corn, requiring greater chemical inputs and depleting soil productivityBase Year (2001) Biofuel Targets (2022) Corn/soybean Continuous rotation corn
    15. 15. Implications of Forecast Change: Increase in nitrogen fertilizationIncrease in corn production Corn production change (bushels per 30-m raster) Increase in atrazine application
    16. 16. Combining spatial data to improvecommunity exposure estimates Atrazine application + individual surface water use + population density
    17. 17. Exposure: Service value is related to the ability tomitigate or reduce risk Combined index: AtrazineEstimated Atrazine application application and population for Base Year landscape using surface water supplies Potential risk only – Risk + Exposure – incomplete endpoint a better endpoint 18
    18. 18. Integration of Spatial Data: the Method Used Matters!All of these maps were produced using thesame set of data; only the integrationmethod differsShould ask:Is the method robust given the data being synthesized?Is the method addressing the right question?For more info on see www.epa.gov/reva :Guidelines to Assessing Regional Vulnerability
    19. 19. EnviroAtlas National, coast-to-coast , scalable coverage of metrics for: • ecosystem services • built environment • demographics • drivers of change (e.g. pollution, population growth, development) Analytical tools to: • screen • compare • assess • evaluate scenariosHi-resolution classification and analysis for250 urban areas across country• linking ecosystem services to human health andwell-being• allowing queries on subpopulations of concern•20identifying actions to mitigate pollution andreduce energy costs
    20. 20. Potential for Tree Cover to Buffer Airborne Pollutants from Busy Roadways (estimated threshold is > 25% cover within 26m of road edge)Greater Durham, NC (Chapel Hill detail)
    21. 21. 23
    22. 22. Questions?

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