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Session 5 – 10.11.2010 The environmental services that flow from natural capital (Speaker: Steve Carpenter)

This session addresses the variety and inter-relationships of services derived from natural capital, and examines the structure, processes, and dynamics that control the provision of these services.

Speaker Bio: Stephen Carpenter
Stephen R. Carpenter is an ecosystem ecologist known for his leadership of large-scale experiments and adaptive ecosystem management. His work has addressed trophic cascades and their effects on production and nutrient cycling, contaminant cycles, freshwater fisheries, eutrophication, nonpoint pollution, ecological economics of freshwater, and resilience of social-ecological systems. Carpenter serves as the Director of the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is the Stephen Alfred Forbes Professor of Zoology. He is co-Editor in Chief of Ecosystems, and a member of governing boards for the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Resilience Alliance, and South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies. Carpenter is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He has received many awards for distinguished research. Among these are a Pew Fellowship in Conservation and Environment, the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Medal of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, the Robert H. MacArthur Award from the Ecological Society of America, the Excellence in Ecology Prize for Limnetic Ecology, the Naumann-Thienemann medal of the International Society for Limnology, many honors from the U.W.-Madison campus, and election to the Ralf Yorque Society. Carpenter is a former President of the Ecological Society of America. From 2000-2005 he served as co-chair of the Scenarios Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. He led the North Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research program at U.W.-Madison from 1999-2009. Carpenter has published 5 books and about 300 scientific papers, book chapters, reviewed reports and commentaries. He received a B.A. from Amherst College (1974), M.S. from University of Wisconsin-Madison (1976), and Ph.D. from U.W. Madison (1979). From 1979-1989 he served as Assistant and then Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame. He joined the U.W.-Madison faculty in 1989. A full biographical sketch and publication list may be viewed on the Internet at See
Required reading from the Sustainability Science book
Chapter 2.3 Natural capital, services and human wellbeing
Supplemental readings from the Reader
1) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Summary for decision makers. In Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis, 1-24. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. 2) Alcamo, J., D. van Vuuren, C. Ringler, W. Cramer, T. Masui, J. Alder, and K. Schulze. 2005. Changes in nature’s balance sheet: Model-based estimates of future worldwide ecosystem services. Ecology and Society 10(2):19.
Supplemental readings from moderator/discussant Patricia Balvanera, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
A series of readings are provided to cover a variety of challenges associated with ecosystem services science and management. The priority reading is the Carpenter et al. 2009 that presents the research agenda that emerged from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Supplemental readings from Univ of Minnesota students
Read the Daily et al 2000 paper first for a short introduction/overview into valuation of ecosystem services. Next priority is the Tallis et al 2008 paper, which puts natural capital and ecosystem services in the context of sustainable development. Read the other two papers if time allows.
Presentations by the speakers
Presentations by Speaker Steve Carpenter and commentary from Moderator Patty Balvanera and from the University of Minnesota student group
Video Recording: The environmental services that flow from natural capital
Session 5 Summary from UMN Students