Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast

Recommendation 3.1 Identify the indicators of resilience (e.g., for whom, by whom, for what, over what time period) at various scales and for various stakeholders across the U.S. Northeast.

 For Cooperative Extension: Working closely with working lands managers and producers, develop resilience strategies at the household and farm scales that address the multiple, intersecting dimensions of resilience, especially economic, ecological, social, and climatic resilience. [Note: these efforts can be linked with the development of sustainability plans as discussed in recommendation 1.2]  For Agricultural Experiment Stations: Research how different forms of resilience (e.g. social, economic, ecological, climatic) relate across scale (e.g. household, farm, community, region, watershed) to better understand what kinds of ecosystem service provisioning programs might be most effective and at what scale. To really begin to grapple with resilience for a diversity of stakeholders at the community scale, critical questions need to be asked about exactly what and/or who is being made resilient and in what way are they being made resilient (Cutter 2016; Meerow & Newell 2019). Put another way, if the goal is to make working landscapes more resilient, one set of practices or programs might be necessary, but if the goal is to make communities resilient, that might entail an entirely different set of practices and policies. Also inherent in this question are important issues of scale: at what scale can a community be made resilient? How does the resilience of one community relate to the resilience of another or the resilience of urban areas relate to the resilience of rural areas? How does the resilience of a community relate to the resilience of states, regions, or even of the U.S. Northeast as a whole? Addressing these questions from a scholarly perspective is a potentially important and ambitious research agenda for the coming decades. From a practical perspective, these ideas can begin to be put into practice by increasing the emphasis on and funding of resilience considerations in ecosystem service programs and policies. To accomplish this, it is necessary to identify and evaluate the indicators of resilience at various scales and for various stakeholders. Echoing some of the concerns from the previous sections, this would also oblige these programs and policies to engage with issues of equity among different stakeholders as well as issues of scalability, from individual landowners to communities to working landscapes.

Recommendation 3.2 Evaluate the effect of regional consortia and the role of existing governance and institutional structures, especially conservation districts and higher education.

 For Cooperative Extension: Increase programmatic engagement between working lands managers/producers and local organizations interested in ecosystem service provisioning, especially higher education (land grant universities), Cooperative Extension, and county conservation districts. Explore the potential for cross-collaboration within this more localized institutional space.  For Agricultural Experiment Stations: Explore possibilities for increased engagement with local communities through citizen science, volunteering, and environmental monitoring to improve local knowledge production. Consider pairing this community work with direct incentives, such as in-cash payments, to offset time and labor investments of and appeal to participating individuals. Building community resilience in urban and rural areas is not only a programmatic and policy challenge, but an institutional one, as well. Just as the programs reviewed tend to focus on a single ecosystem service, private and public institutions tend to focus on one specific scale of intervention. Improving ecosystem service provisioning across landscapes requires new kinds of thinking and institutional arrangements that encourage multiscalar thinking and cross-boundary collective action among landowners, resource managers, and policy makers (Rickenbach et al. 2011). We detail a number of institutional arrangements and potential institutional partners that are well suited to pursuing such multiscalar thinking and cross-boundary action below.

The first type of arrangement is public-private partnership, which typically entails a consortium of public and private stakeholders organized around shared interests. This assessment showed that these partnership

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