5 years ago

The challenge of valuing ecosystem services that have no material benefits

Since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, ecosystem service science has made much progress in framing core concepts and approaches, but there is still debate around the notion of cultural services, and a growing consensus that ecosystem use and ecosystem service use should be clearly differentiated. Part of the debate resides in the fact that the most significant sources of conflict around natural resource management arise from the multiple managements (uses) of ecosystems, rather than from the multiple uses of ecosystem services. If the ecosystem approach or the ecosystem service paradigm are to be implemented at national levels, there is an urgent need to disentangle what are often semantic issues, revise the notion of cultural services, and more broadly, practically define the less tangible ecosystem services on which we depend. This is a critical step to identifying suitable ways to manage trade-offs and promote adaptive management. Here we briefly review the problems associated with defining and quantifying cultural ecosystem services and suggest there could be merit in discarding this term for the simpler non-material ecosystem services. We also discuss the challenges in valuing the invaluable, and suggest that if we are to keep ecosystem service definition focused on the beneficiary, we need to further classify these challenging services, for example by differentiating services to individuals from services to communities. Also, we suggest that focussing on ecosystem service change rather than simply service delivery, and identifying common boundaries relevant for both people and ecosystems, would help meet some of these challenges.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0959378017303540

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.