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The challenge of valuing ecosystem services that have no material benefits

Small, Natalie, Munday, Maxim and Durance, Isabelle 2017. The challenge of valuing ecosystem services that have no material benefits. Global Environmental Change 44 , pp. 57-67. 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.03.005

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Business (Including Economics)
Geography and Planning
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cultural services, global change, natural capital, freshwaters, ecosystem management, conservation
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0959-3780
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 March 2017
Date of Acceptance: 19 March 2017
Last Modified: 28 May 2018 21:50
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/99368

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