Climate change's impact on key ecosystem services and the human well-being they support in the US

Erik J. Nelson, Peter Kareiva, Mary Ruckelshaus, Katie Arkema, Gary Geller, Evan Girvetz, Dave Goodrich, Virginia Matzek, Malin Pinsky, Walt Reid, Martin Saunders, Darius Semmens, Heather Tallis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Climate change alters the functions of ecological systems. As a result, the provision of ecosystem services and the well-being of people that rely on these services are being modified. Climate models portend continued warming and more frequent extreme weather events across the US. Such weather-related disturbances will place a premium on the ecosystem services that people rely on. We discuss some of the observed and anticipated impacts of climate change on ecosystem service provision and livelihoods in the US. We also highlight promising adaptive measures. The challenge will be choosing which adaptive strategies to implement, given limited resources and time. We suggest using dynamic balance sheets or accounts of natural capital and natural assets to prioritize and evaluate national and regional adaptation strategies that involve ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-493
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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