The San Francisco Bay estuary's tidal marshes play an important role in its ecosystem services for human society and the local economy. Next steps in implementation of the ecosystem services concept to the marsh conservation and restoration would be to move from general pronouncements about the tremendous benefits tidal marshes provide for society to credible, quantitative estimates of ecosystem service values that can be relatively easy to obtain and interpret, and incorporating such information into decision-making, business-conducting, and consumer-behavior realities. Preferably such estimates of ecosystem service values should be presented in an ecosystem-based management approach (EBM) that explicitly accounts for the interconnectedness within and among systems, recognizing the importance of interactions among many target species or key services and nontarget species and services. One such quantitative approach is the recently developed modeling suite InVEST, which is designed to address the principles of EBM, bringing together credible, useful models based on ecological production functions and economic valuation methods, with the intention of bringing biophysical and economic information about ecosystem services to bear on conservation and natural-resource decisions at an appropriate scale.
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