Ecosystem Services


The Ecosystem Services Primer: A Primer for Problem-solving Using Ecosystem Services
(Incorporating ecosystem services into infrastructure and policy decisions in the Greater Houston Region)

Natural landscapes and organisms serve our well-being in a great variety of ways: water purification, flood protection, recreation, recharging of aquifers, protection from damage by hurricanes and tropical storms, pollution reduction, carbon sequestration and more. The Greater Houston region, which encompasses a huge and diverse assemblage of forests, prairies, bottomlands, wetlands and bays receives a tremendous amount of benefits (ecosystem services) from the ecological functions of the natural world. 

Based on a Policy Paper by Houston Wilderness Entitled: Looking Beyond Ecosystem Functions to the Value of Ecosystem Services, this Primer extends  research on ecosystem services and details various structured valuation methods for the Greater Houston Region. It is useful to policymakers and stakeholders engaged in designing large-scale infrastructure, conservation, or land-use solutions. The Primer also offers a means of accounting by which business leaders and other private stakeholders may value their natural capital and its potential for improvement. This Primer assesses the importance of integrating the value and benefits of ecosystem services into mainstream policy decision-making, providing policy makers with more tools to make mutually beneficial decisions regarding the region's most pressing economic and environmental issues and recommend ways to accomplish these goals.

Click here to download the Houston Wilderness Ecosystem Services Primer

 Click here to download the Houston Wilderness Presentation on Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services Value Chart

Houston Wilderness compiled information from studies on ecosystem services pertaining to the forests, wetlands, and prairies in our region and elsewhere. Houston Wilderness' Ecosystem Services Reference Chart contains information on both the values and benefits provided by different ecosystem services.  Hover over a cell on the Reference Chart to bring up an annotation detailing the reference for the value, the location of the study, and the value type. Cells highlighted in yellow come from the Houston Region. The Ecosystem Services Reference Sheet contains the same information as the Chart in document form. 

Click on the links below to download: 

HW Ecosystem Services Reference Chart

HW Ecosystem Services Reference Sheet