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Applying an ecosystem services approach to supplemental environmental projects

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This paper defines an ecosystem services approach to guide stakeholders through the major steps of the Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) programme of the US Environmental Protection Agency and state environmental offices. The SEP programme is focused on implementing ‘environmentally beneficial’ projects that compensate the environment and the community for adverse effects of violations of environmental regulations. A literature review reveals that the federal programme is greatly under-used by violators despite its enormous opportunities to enhance the human-environment relationship. The SEP programme shares major commonalities with ecosystem service concepts and these can be leveraged to define a structured framework, wherein ecosystem services can play a key role for formulating, evaluating, selecting, implementing and assessing SEPs. Concepts set forth in this paper represent a first step towards mainstreaming an ecosystem services approach in the SEP programme. Further research is needed to assess the applicability of the framework to different categories of SEPs.
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Keywords: ecosystem services; environmental management; supplemental environmental projects

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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