The people of Maryland benefit from the natural environment in many different ways. Forests clean the air, wetlands clean the water and the Bay provides fish and crabs. These benefits people gain from the environment can be collectively referred to as Ecosystem Services. Though ecosystem services can be categorized in different ways, they are commonly divided into four major categories: provisioning services (e.g. timber, firewood, food), regulating services (e.g. water purification, wildlife habitat), supporting services (e.g. nutrient cycling, soil formation) and cultural services (e.g. recreation, spiritual benefits. Maryland’s natural areas, from its mountains and streams to coastal wetlands and the Chesapeake Bay, play a fundamental role in supporting the economy and quality of life in Maryland.
We are working to provide information on the economic value of ecosystem services and map those values across the state. So far we have focused on non-market ecosystem services because those benefits are not typically considered in decision making and realizing these values will make the largest impact. For example, we understand that a forest will take up nutrients and reduce stormwater runoff, but we don’t immediately know the amount of nutrients or stormwater and its economic value. Our work allows these benefits and others to be quantified.
Seven different ecosystem services (carbon sequestration, nitrogen removal, stormwater mitigation and flood prevention, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, air pollutant removal, groundwater recharge, and surface water protection) have been quantified and mapped for the state. This information can be found on the Maryland GreenPrint web viewer and will shortly be available for viewing and download from Maryland iMap. The Maryland Ecosystem Service report below details the approach we have taken in assessing the value of ecosystem services in the state.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be using this information to help prioritize and justify our land acquisitions, restoration activities and inform the public on the benefits everyone receives from natural lands. We hope our partners in local government, the business community, non-profits and the public will utilize this information as well.
Center for Economic and Social Science
Chesapeake & Coastal Service
Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis MD 21401
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401