Post-Workshop Tasks


1. CCE List of Critical Ecosystem Services


Charge from Terry Chapin: Based on the discussion at the workshop, please send me a revised list of the 6 most critical ecosystem services at your site (critical in the sense that people most rely on or value, or that potentially underpin other important ecosystem services; that may be vulnerable because the trend in the service has been towards degradation; lack of technological substitutes; and/or may be unique to a particular site, or only delivered locally (no off-site substitutes).

For each of these services please provide a brief description (phrase) explaining why you think it is critical at your site. Please do not include any supporting services in your list of critical services; we will assume that all supporting services are subsumed and essential for the services directly used by people (provisioning, regulating, cultural).


Climate Regulation – The California Current flows along the coast southward, carrying cold water with it.  These cold water masses cool the air over the ocean to temperature unusually cool for these latitudes.  These air masses in turn move onshore and have a major effect on the climate of Southern California.

Food – The Southern California nearshore and coastal Zone supports various fisheries, both commercial and recreational, ranging from sea urchins collected by divers, live fish from the rocky benthic to trawling for pelagic fish.

Natural hazard abatement and generation – The coastline of Southern California consists primarily of sandstone of varying hardness. This sandstone is easily eroded during storm events.  Sand accumulating at beaches is readily transported by along-shore currents to other locations.  This erosion threatens structures in close proximity to the beach.

Water purification – The ocean off Southern California is used as a receptacle for 1. the processed sewage generated by millions of people, 2. diffuse-source runoff that enters the ocean untreated from storm drains, and occasionally for untreated sewage via ‘accidental’ spills.  Communities and cities in Southern California are spending $ billions each year to reduce the negative impact of this sewage on other ES.

Recreation – The coastline and ocean off Southern California is used for various types of recreation year round by reesidents and tourists (several million visits each year); e.g. visits to the beach, swimming, surfing in the surfzone, fishing and diving in the nearshore zone and boating in the coastal zone.

Pest regulation and generation – Harmful algal blooms occur off Southern California with increasing frequency.  Toxins generated by the blooms accumulate in the food chain, eventually leading to the death of marine mammals and birds, endangering humans and the closure of fisheries.


2. CCE List of Interacting Ecosystem Services


Charge from Terry Chapin:   Please send me one or more (up to 3) clusters, each consisting of three interacting critical services at your site that will help us identify key synergies, tradeoffs, and interactions. Please explain briefly how the three services within each cluster interact at your site.

Water purification – recreation – pest regulation & generation: Tradeoffs are made between the amount of treated and untreated sewage allowed into the ocean and impacts of this on recreation via beach closures and degradation of the environment.  It is possible that the increasing trend of harmful algal blooms along the Southern California coast is driven by nutrient loading or pollution derived from sewage flows into the ocean.


Natural Hazard abatement & generation – cultural identity – recreation:  To prevent erosion of the coastline homeowners increasingly demand that seawalls are build to protect buildings close to the beach. Seawalls, however, lead to a degradation of the beaches which negatively impacts use of the beaches by locals and tourists.