WASHINGTON, D.C. March 15, 2007 -- Human society remains dependent on environmental ingredients in order to produce food, fiber, and energy. These "ecosystem services" are the conditions and processes that sustain human life and provide the basis for meeting the challenges of a growing global human population. The public policy community has recognized the importance of these services and has begun to offer interdisciplinary proposals to improve the provision and quality of ecosystem services. A multi-disciplinary group of organizations will examine ecosystem services and their implications with policy at a Congressional Briefing on March 20, 2007, from 12 Noon 1:15 PM (House Rayburn 2325) and from 2:00 3:00 PM (Senate Russell 328A). Three experts will address the issues by shedding light on ecosystem services and their key role in the nation's food production enterprise and overall quality of life.
Sponsoring the Hill briefings are the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, the Soil Science Society of America (ASA/CSSA/SSSA), the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (C-FARE), and the Ecological Society of America (ESA).
"Given that the reauthorization of the Farm Bill is on the horizon, we believe that it would be very timely and helpful to provide scientific information highly relevant to agriculture in this country," said Karl Glasener, Director of Science Policy with ASA/CSSA/SSSA.
Steven Kraft, an agricultural economist and Co-Director of Environmental Resources and Policy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will provide examples of various economic goods provided through ecosystem services derived from working agricultural landscapes and rural America. Kraft's talk will also focus on the lack of formal markets in ecosystem services which frequently leads to resource degradation and other problems.