Concurrent Session 1C
Ecosystem Services Interpretative Trails and Curriculum- Interpreting the Value of Working Landscapes to the Public and Policy Makers
Sheila Barry, UC ANR Cooperative Extension Advisor, Contra Costa, and San Mateo-San Francisco Counties
Working rangelands in private and public ownership cover millions of acres throughout California. Although many Californians are familiar with the economic values that rangelands provide, i.e., grazing opportunities for livestock, they do not realize that working rangelands provide a myriad of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are the processes by which the environment produces resources such as clean water, carbon sequestration, habitat, food and more.
For rangeland owners and managers, ecosystems services may provide opportunities to increase revenue by marketing ecosystem services of rangelands. Market-based approaches are increasingly being encouraged as tools for achieving conservation. In order for ecosystem services to be effective and viable as a conservation tool, public policies need to be developed to support the continuation of working rangelands and markets for ecosystems services. The development of public policies and markets will require public support which begins with awareness and understanding of working landscapes and associated ecosystem services.
This project seeks to educate decision makers and a large segment of the public about ecosystems services provided by working rangelands. Specifically, this project targets San Francisco Bay Area open space (park) users, managers and policy makers. Each of the ten counties in the San Francisco Bay Area has parks, which include working rangelands, except San Francisco. The parks host over 3 million visitors per year. As on privately owned rangelands, working rangelands in public parks not only provide economic return for park managers and ranchers but also produce a myriad of ecosystem services.