Our goal is to develop a system to assess and map ecosystem services across Alberta to better understand how planning and management decisions affect the landscape and increase benefits to Albertans.
“Ecosystem services” are the benefits provided by natural systems that contribute to our well-being and health. They support our basic needs like clean water, food, and raw materials for building, or they can be more intangible benefits like recreational opportunities and aesthetic value. Some ecosystem services have a clear, well-known economic value, but the value of most services is harder to calculate. Given the essential role that ecosystem services play in our lives, it is important to map, measure, and value these services. Powered with this information, Albertans can make the best possible decisions about how to manage our landscape.
Eric Butterworth, Principal of BEWC Ltd, builds partnerships and provides strategic advice to apply ecosystem service assessment. He has extensive research and consulting experience working for conservation organizations, public/private partnerships, universities and industry. Eric specializes in transitional projects, organizational assessments and partnership development to solve environmental issues.
Jahan Kariyeva manages the ABMI’s newly minted Geospatial Centre. Jahan is an an environmental geographer whose work has taken her to diverse ecosystems across the globe including the deserts and steppes of Central Asia, mountains and drylands of the southwestern United States, and the Canadian prairie and boreal ecosystems. Jahan brings her knowledge and experience of the interaction of human activity and ecosystem processes to the ABMI Geospatial Centre, the mandate of which is to better understand the effect of complex and tightly integrated anthropogenic and natural systems on ecological processes at various spatial and temporal scales.
Tom Habib is a lead researcher in developing integrated spatially-explicit models of ecosystem service provision and value for Alberta. His research also includes alternative strategies for biodiversity offsets in Alberta, and assessing priority areas for land and bird conservation in western Canada. He has over 7 years of ecology, wildlife, and land-use planning research, and he has a strong background in GIS and spatial analysis. Tom also is experienced with spatial conservation optimization for balancing environmental and economic objectives using MARXAN software.
Monica Kohler is a graduate student at the University of Alberta studying wild bees in Alberta’s canola fields. She has over 5 years of experience conducting biological monitoring in agricultural and boreal landscapes, from both an agronomic perspective and as part of the ABMI’s provincial monitoring program. She has experience building relationships with individual land managers and stakeholders to support a range of monitoring activities.
Carrie Selin facilitates discussions with partners and stakeholders to create opportunities for ecosystem services and shares information to support the ES Assessment Project. She has over 15 years of experience with the agriculture industry and government supporting environmental policy and enabling industry development programs. Carrie’s expertise includes facilitating engagement processes and building capacity through awareness and education programs.
Lindsay is the Northern Communications Advisor with the ABMI and brings experience with the federal government in strategic communications, capacity building, and community relations, particularly with First Nation communities. She will support the development and delivery of project communications and extension activities.
Majid Iravani is involved with further developing the rangeland and forage carbon model. He brings experience in research and education in wildlife ecology, conservation and management. Majid has been trained in geo-spatial analysis and GIS process-based modeling for components of biodiversity monitoring, habitat and ecosystem protection, integrated landscape management, ecological impact assessment and land use and climate change.
Marcus Becker is an environmental economist with experience in the non-market valuation of ecosystem services and the economics of agricultural land management. His past research involves the assessment of trade-offs between the environmental benefits of alternative agricultural practices and the economic impacts of adoption for producers. Marcus will support the development of spatially explicit ecosystem services assessment platforms, bringing expertise on valuation and mapping ES demand.