EnviroAtlas offers several resources that allow users to explore the benefits people receive from nature, often referred to as ecosystem services. Key components of EnviroAtlas include the Interactive Map, with broad scale data for the lower 48 states and fine scale data for selected communities; the Eco-Health Relationship Browser, which shows linkages among ecosystems, the services they provide, and human health; and downloadable data and GIS analysis tools.
EnviroAtlas incorporates data from federal, state, community, and non-governmental organizations. The EnviroAtlas Interactive Map displays demographic and supplemental data to help users better understand the context of ecosystem services within specific populations, environmental conditions, or geographic areas. Supplemental data layers include ecological, watershed, and political boundaries; conservation areas; EPA assessed and impaired waters; and other available national data sets. Much of the data found in EnviroAtlas is downloadable.
Common Uses for EnviroAtlas
EnviroAtlas provides a screening mechanism for understanding the implications of future planning and policy decisions, and provides information to help raise awareness of the importance, capacity, and fragility of natural systems. In addition to informing planning decisions, EnviroAtlas can help guide where best to preserve or restore ecosystems. This includes the restoration of natural systems and the use of constructed ecosystems such as wetlands.
EnviroAtlas data can also inform methods for the valuation of and payment for ecosystem services, which may also inform restoration decisions and project locations. A forest’s capacity to remove particles from the air and water, provide shade and stabilize the climate, store water, and create habitat depends on its health, surrounding environment, and the stresses placed on it. EnviroAtlas can help users better understand how individuals and communities can support ecosystems and the natural processes that provide these critical benefits to society.