Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Integr Environ Assess Manag. 2016 Jul;12(3):522-8. doi: 10.1002/ieam.1707. Epub 2015 Dec 28.

Ecosystem services as assessment endpoints for ecological risk assessment.

Author information

1
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Narragansett, Rhode Island.
2
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Research Program, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
3
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Cincinnati, Ohio.
4
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Office of the Science Advisor, Washington, DC.
5
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Washington, DC.
6
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Office of Pesticide Programs, Washington, DC.
7
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
8
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, Clean Air and Sustainability Division, New York, New York.
9
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Gulf Breeze, Florida.
10
US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, Washington, DC.

Abstract

Ecosystem services are defined as the outputs of ecological processes that contribute to human welfare or have the potential to do so in the future. Those outputs include food and drinking water, clean air and water, and pollinated crops. The need to protect the services provided by natural systems has been recognized previously, but ecosystem services have not been formally incorporated into ecological risk assessment practice in a general way in the United States. Endpoints used conventionally in ecological risk assessment, derived directly from the state of the ecosystem (e.g., biophysical structure and processes), and endpoints based on ecosystem services serve different purposes. Conventional endpoints are ecologically important and susceptible entities and attributes that are protected under US laws and regulations. Ecosystem service endpoints are a conceptual and analytical step beyond conventional endpoints and are intended to complement conventional endpoints by linking and extending endpoints to goods and services with more obvious benefit to humans. Conventional endpoints can be related to ecosystem services even when the latter are not considered explicitly during problem formulation. To advance the use of ecosystem service endpoints in ecological risk assessment, the US Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Assessment Forum has added generic endpoints based on ecosystem services (ES-GEAE) to the original 2003 set of generic ecological assessment endpoints (GEAEs). Like conventional GEAEs, ES-GEAEs are defined by an entity and an attribute. Also like conventional GEAEs, ES-GEAEs are broadly described and will need to be made specific when applied to individual assessments. Adoption of ecosystem services as a type of assessment endpoint is intended to improve the value of risk assessment to environmental decision making, linking ecological risk to human well-being, and providing an improved means of communicating those risks. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2016;12:522-528. Published 2015 SETAC. This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the USA.

KEYWORDS:

Assessment endpoints; Ecological risk assessment; Ecosystem services; Generic ecological assessment endpoints

PMID:
26331725
DOI:
10.1002/ieam.1707
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center