Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that is not answered in the help menus or the below FAQs please contact us.

Who can become a member of the Ecosystem Commons? 

Anyone can become a member.  Membership is intended for those interested in ecosystem services, science, and policy.  Your free membership is effective immediately.  You can start contributing as soon as you sign up.  Go to the Home page to join.

Is Ecosystem Commons free or is credit card payment necessary? 

Membership is free for everyone and there are no credit card memberships.  Your free membership is effective immediately. We do appreciate donations on your credit card from visitors and members. We gladly accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and Amex. We have a secure credit card payment donation page provided by Clarity USA. Please consider making a donation today!

Where can I find a list of Ecosystem Commons Members?

You can find a list of members and access profile information by selecting “Members” under the “Community” menu.  Once there you can click on an individual member to view their profile information.  Anytime you see a member’s profile picture you can click on it to view their profile information.

I’m a public employee, can I use this website?

Yes. The terms of usage for this website state “Unless otherwise noted… content and comments provided by individuals do not necessarily represent the views or positions of the individual’s employer(s) or any organizations with which an individual is affiliated”.  For more information view the Terms of Use or check with your employer. 

How does the Commons relate to the National Ecosystem Services Partnership or NESP?

NESP is closely linked partner of the Commons; the NESP director sits on the Commons Steering Group. 

How is the Commons different than Ecosystem Marketplace?

Ecosystem Marketplace is a leading source of news, data, and analytics on markets and payments for ecosystem services, sort of the Bloomberg of ecosystem markets. The Commons is different in two important ways. First, the Commons focuses on facilitating communication and collaboration while providing a limited source of news and information.  Second, while the Commons does have content and discussions on market-based approaches, the focus is beyond markets and includes research, education, communication and the rest of broad ecosystem services community.

Can I contact other members of the Commons directly?

Yes.  You can contact other members by clicking their name to view their profile.  Once you are viewing their profile click the "contact" tab for a contact form that will send the member an email.  Note that some members may choose to turn this function off and therefore cannot be contacted through the Commons. 

Why do I keep getting emails from admin?

The Commons has an automated notification system.  You receive emails to notify you of activity on posts to which you subscribe or groups of which you are a member.  The Commons default is to send a digest of notifications in a single email once a day.  You have the option to change your notification settings by selecting “My profile” under the “My stuff” menu.  Then click on the “Notification” tab to update your settings.  

Which organizations provided the funding for Ecosystem Commons?

The website development was made possible by support from the USDA Forest Service, USDA Office of Environmental Markets, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Why would I want to enter my project or program into the ES Catalog?

Information entered into the catalog will be available to the public.  Enter information about your ecosystem services work to encourage your colleagues to learn about your work and identify potential collaborations.

Does the Commons have a document archive?

No, but all documents loaded by administrators and members are accessible.  The Commons does provide links to a limited number of resources including reference documents, external online tools, and databases of ecosystem services projects and research.  As a member you can load documents for discussion, create wikis to collaboratively create a document, or post documents into a group for use by group members. Any document loaded can be found through the serach function in the upper right of the screen. 

What is the Soapbox?

The Soapbox is an opinion-based series of short articles, hosted on the Commons, intended to promote discourse and highlight successes, challenges, and barriers related to advancing the science of ecosystem services and the use of ecosystem services in natural resource decision making.  Each article is announced to our email list and prominently featured on  Members of the Commons are encouraged to engage in the discussion.  Read more

How can I contribute to the Soapbox?

Members can always comment on discussions, but if you'd like to take a turn on the Soapbox, read our Author Guidelines.

How do I search and what does it mean when I see "Filter"?

You can search the entire website by filling in your search term or terms in the search box at the upper right corner of the website.  When you see "Filter" just under the header of webpages within the commons it means you have the opportunity to search the information of the page you are currently using. For example if you are looking at members of the Commons by selecting "Members" under the "Community" menu you can filter the results.  To do so, just click on Filter and enter your search or filtering terms in the corresponding box. 

Does the Commons contain a clearinghouse of ecosystem services information and documents?

No.  The Commons is primarily a communication and collaboration platform.  We host a small curated collection of key reference documents, links to online ecosystem services tools and databases.  Different than a library or database, the Commons seeks to measure the pulse of the ecosystem services community of practice and provide syntheses and archives of conversations so the community can focus energy on moving science and practice forward and avoid unecessarily revisiting outdated conversations. 

What are Tags and how do I use them?

When you create a profile, document, event, or other content on the commons you will be presented with a list of keywords or tags.  The Commons keywords are preset to simplify seraching.  For most content you will have the option to assign keywords related to ecosystem type (e.g. grasslands, forests), effort type (e.g. reserach, restoration, tool development); and ecosystem services (e.g. air quality, water quantity, pollination).

What if I found a bug or would like to request new features?

The Commons is an evolving effort.  Its growth depends on your feedback.  Please contact us if you think the website is not functioning properly.  If there is a feature that would improve your experience let us know.  We are currently planning to add:

  • announcment board for jobs and other things you want to share with the community
  • joint search capabilities with the Conservations Registry “Marketplace for Nature” Portal;
  • a more formal process for conducting peer review; and
  • a collaborative glossary of ecosystem services tools.