You are here

CLAS Lecture Series: Predicting Biodiversity for Ecosystem Services Payments

Predicting Biodiversity for Ecosystem Services Payments with Dr. Chase Mendenhall

In addition to the growing number of ecosystem services represented in portfolios of natural capital, biodiversity continues to be difficult to estimate and value across space. Here, we develop empirically based models for quantifying biodiversity across space for guiding investments in ecosystems services and safeguarding biodiversity. We use Costa Rica as a case study, because it is a country that contains a lot of biodiversity and pays landowners for ecosystem services since 1996. To make predictive biodiversity models for Costa Rica, first, we explore what characteristics of a Costa Rican landscape can be remotely sensed to predict biodiversity change? And, second, how does Costa Rican biodiversity change from protected forests to deforested habitats? We find answers to these questions in the forests and biodiversity across 934 km2 region in Southern Costa Rica made up of coffee plantations, pastures, and rainforests. We find general ecological patterns using of 908 species and 65,000 captures across a gradient of deforestation and present spatial models for estimating the amount and value of plant, non-flying mammal, bat, bird, reptile, and amphibian biodiversity.
Dr. Mendenhall is interested in studying the ecology of landscapes transformed by agriculture. Novel contributions from his research have empirically demonstrated that human-made habitats, like cropland, can support novel assemblages of wildlife. His current and future work focuses on predicting the persistence of wildlife populations in agricultural landscapes through space and time and developing approaches for designing, implementing, and testing wildlife management policies that improve outcomes for both people and nature. He relies extensively on field studies from many taxa, including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods, plants, and microbes. Dr. Mendenhall has worked in Grant Teton National Park, WY and Las Cruces Biological Station, Costa Rica. He has an undergraduate degree in Botany & Wildlife Biology from the University of Wyoming and PhD in Ecology from Stanford University.



Friday, May 20, 2016. 12:30 PM


Bolivar House, 582 Alvarado Row


Center for Latin American Studies


(650) 725-0383


Lunch Provided | Free and Open to the Public | No RSVP Necessary