Research on Landowners and Ecosystem Services - The Project and Results

Posted by Renee Magyar on April 26, 2013

Innovative ways that landowners are prospering from protecting or enhancing ecosystem services on their land.


Sustainable Northwest, Oregon State University, and the Ecosystem Workforce Program at the University of Oregon teamed up to identify the factors that affect how ranchers and family forest landowners may benefit by providing ecosystem services through sustainable land management practices.

The Project

In 2010, the research team began work to 1) identify factors affecting landowners' adoption of economic diversification strategies based on the provision of ecosystem services, 2) better understand how groups that work with landowners connect them to these opportunities (e.g. government agencies, community based organizations, etc.), and 3) develop recommendations to improve current and emerging payments for ecosystem services policies and programs. The team focused on four case study areas in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The team completed over 130 in-person interviews with 122 intermediary groups and a survey of more than 800 landowners.


We found that the Interior Northwest is home to an impressive array of innovative landowners, organizations and agencies engaged in payments for ecosystem services programs, or trying to figure out how to access them. In this fact sheet series, we profile examples from our research - real people, real programs - and highlight their challenges, opportunities and future prospects.

Read the Fact Sheet series:

Fact Sheet 1: Prospering from Nature: Helping Landowners Protect and Enhance Ecosystem Services

Fact Sheet 2: Coordinated Salmon Habitat Restoration on Private Lands

Fact Sheet 3: Paying the Water Bill: Community Support for Agriculture and River Restoration in Central Oregon

Fact Sheet 4: Certification Rewards Stewardship and Assures Future Markets for Montana Timber

Fact Sheet 5:  Ranch Combines Programs for Long-term Sustainability

Fact Sheet 6: Enhancing the Effectiveness of Conservation Easements

Fact Sheet 7: Beer, Fish, and Watershed Restoration Certificates

Fact Sheet 8:  Bad Goat, Good Business: Byproducts Bring Big Gains for Watershed Restoration

Fact Sheet 9: Farm Bill Evolution to Increase Landowner and Ecosystem Service Benefits

Fact Sheet 10: Ecosystem Services Online: An Overview of Web-based Resources

Fact Sheet 11: Matchmakers, Evaluators, Libraries, and Networks: Online Resources for Landowners and Practitioners

Additional online resources: 

Payments for Ecosystem Services: Catalog of Online Tools and Resources

Read the Briefing Paper series:

Briefing Paper 49: Barriers and Preferences for Landowner Participation in Conservation Programs in the Interior West

Briefing Paper 50: The Money Doesn?t Deliver Itself: The Importance of Intermediaries in Ecosystem Service Programs

Briefing Paper 51: From Postage Stamp to Puzzle Piece: Conservation Easement Strategy in the Interior West

Briefing Paper 52: Eco-Labels on the Range and in the Forests of the Interior West

Research papers coming soon:

(We are currently developing papers to share our key findings. Completed papers will be posted here.) 

Looking ahead

To grow understanding about ecosystem services and provide information about pilot projects and payments for ecosystem services programs around the West, Sustainable Northwest is coordinating the Ecosystem Services Learning Action Network. Visit the ESLAN page to learn more.

For more information contact the project partners:

Hannah Gosnell, Oregon State University,

Lauren Gwin, Oregon State University Extension,

Cassandra Moseley, University of Oregon,

Max Nielsen-Pincus, University of Oregon,