Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast

Table i. Conclusions and recommendations of this report

Conclusion 1: Producers and land managers operate according to the "safety-first" principle and are often risk-averse. In order to be successful, practices and programs must sufficiently and sustainably offset these risks in concrete ways.

Recommendation 1.1

Balance long-term ecological considerations with short-term economic returns by avoiding tradeoffs and diversifying direct and indirect incentives.

Recommendation 1.2

Promote ecosystem service provisioning on smaller scales (e.g. the household, farm, or community) to illustrate value, ensure long-term sustainability, and maintain local stakeholder participation.

Conclusion 2: Programs are structured to incentivize either a single ecosystem service or multiple layered services. There are strengths and weaknesses to both approaches. Project design should account for those strengths and weaknesses as well as for the potential to scale practices from individual farms to multifunctional landscapes.

Recommendation 2.1

Conduct an expert panel of the strategic ecosystem services priorities for the region and compare to IPBES priorities for the Americas to assess gaps and opportunities for cross-scalar synergies.

Recommendation 2.2

Programs to provision ecosystem services are differentially accessible. Ecosystem services themselves impact communities differently. It is important to consider not only the effects of programs on ecosystem services but also their effects on equity.

Conclusion 3: Very few programs reviewed in this assessment directly address resilience, and even fewer address resilience beyond the farm scale. Programs focused on resilience, especially as it functions across scale and between urban and rural areas, should be a priority..

Recommendation 3.1

Identify the indicators of resilience (e.g. for whom, by whom, for what, over what time period) at various scales and for various stakeholders across the U.S. Northeast.

Recommendation 3.2

Evaluate the effect of regional consortia and the role of existing governance and institutional structures, especially conservation districts and higher education.

Conclusion 4: Ecosystem service provisioning programs for young and beginner farmers, while important, may not be enough to entice young people into working lands-related careers. Programs that couple ecosystem service provisioning with incentives that directly support livelihood

provisioning, such as cash-in-hand (basic income), land access/acquisition, free education/professional development, childcare and health care, may help.

Recommendation 4.1

Evaluate the regionally specific factors inhibiting youth from working-lands careers in the U.S. Northeast, with a particular eye on issues of land tenure, childcare, health care, and higher education.

Recommendation 4.2

Evaluate the role of cash-transfer and basic income programs to supplement conventional, market-based systems.


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