The California Department of Food and Agriculture announces what is believed to be the first-ever Ecosystem Services Database. Sabrina Hill reports.
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Ecosystem Services are defined as the multiple benefits we gain from farming and ranching, including crop and livestock production. Many of these benefits extend into environmental stewardship and conservation. For example, the maintenance of wildlife habitats, biodiversity enhancements on working lands, renewable energy use and production, increased nutrient cycling and storage, soil enrichment, water conservation, and support for pollinating insects are some of the benefits.
The database contains nearly 400 farms and ranches. It is intended to easily communicate to a broad audience the multiple benefits provided by agriculture in California. The database can be queried by key word, county, crop type, and type of ecosystem service. An interactive map allows users to view where the services are taking place.
The purpose of the database is twofold. It helps the department discuss the multiple benefits provided by California agriculture, and it assists growers, ranchers, and stakeholders who want to learn more about ecosystem services.
Click here for the database.