The California Department of Food and Agriculture is pleased to announce what is believed to be the first-ever Ecosystem Services Database, which is now available at http://apps.cdfa.ca.gov/EcosystemServices
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. A more comprehensive list of ecosystem service benefits in agriculture can be found at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/EnvironmentalStewardship/EcosystemServices.html
“California’s working farms and ranches are an important part of our natural landscape,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The commitment to ecosystem services demonstrates clearly that beyond the productivity of fields and pastures, resource management decisions by farmers and ranchers provide us with wildlife and pollinator habitat, contribute to clean water and air, provide recreational and tourism connections, and much more.”
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.