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Overview: Nature provides vital contributions to economic and social well-being that are often not traded in markets or fully considered in decisions. This memorandum provides direction to agencies on incorporating ecosystem services into Federal planning and decision making. (Broadly defined, ecosystem services are the benefits that flow from nature to people, e.g., nature’s contributions to the production of food and timber; life-support processes, such as water purification and coastal protection; and life-fulfilling benefits, such as places to recreate.)

Specifically, this memorandum:

  • (1) Directs agencies to develop and institutionalize policies to promote consideration of ecosystem services, where appropriate and practicable, in planning, .investments, and regulatory contexts. (Consideration of ecosystem services may be accomplished through a range of qualitative and quantitative methods to identify and characterize ecosystem services, affected communities’ needs for those services, metrics for changes to those services and, where appropriate, monetary or nonmonetary values for those services.)
  • (2) Sets forth the process for development of implementation guidance and directs agencies to implement aforementioned policies and integrate assessments of ecosystem services, at the appropriate scale, into relevant programs and projects, in accordance with their statutory authority.

Download the Memorandum here: White House Memorandum for Executive Departments and Agencies