Citizen-scientists throughout North America perform thousands of surveys each year but, unlike their European counterparts, the data from these monitoring programs are little known and less used. A recent workshop at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) brought together all major butterfly data producers with representatives from the scientific and technology communities with the goal to develop systems to promote and support expanding public participation in and use of butterfly data and knowledge.
How can future human demand for food, fiber, energy, and water be efficiently met while minimizing negative impacts to the earth? Answering this question is key to developing scenarios that will inform natural resource management and planning, particularly those that jointly consider the effects of new policies on social and environmental systems. Understanding and accounting for potential changes to biodiversity, ecosystems, and the physical system is essential for effective, joint mitigation efforts.
Ecosystems services—the benefits that natural ecosystems provide to society—are increasingly the focus of land management decisions. Critical for these decisions is the consideration of social values; for example, how do stakeholders value ecological performance? How do they value one service relative to another? Are the ecosystem service benefits equitable?
Last week SESYNC convened a multi-disciplinary group of 15 experts including decision makers, NGO leaders, and accomplished social and natural scientists to discuss priorities and questions to be addressed by the Center. This roundtable discussion was one of a number of efforts focused on helping SESYNC understand what the community feels are the most important Themes and critical socio-environmental problems that we should address over the next 2 years.
Well-designed monitoring systems are essential if we are to better understand and track changes in the connections between people and the environment. Current monitoring systems fail to do this adequately. This Pursuit focuses on advancing ecosystem services monitoring to better reflect vital connections at several levels. The project will utilize household surveys and censuses, in-situ observations, and national indicators as data sources.