Interregional flows of ecosystem services: Concepts, typology and four cases Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-21 Matthias Schröter, Thomas Koellner, Rob Alkemade, Sebastian Arnhold, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Karl-Heinz Erb, Karin Frank, Thomas Kastner, Meidad Kissinger, Jianguo Liu, Laura López-Hoffman, Joachim Maes, Alexandra Marques, Berta Martín-López, Carsten Meyer, Catharina J.E. Schulp, Jule Thober, Sarah Wolff, Aletta Bonn
Conserving and managing global natural capital requires an understanding of the complexity of flows of ecosystem services across geographic boundaries. Failing to understand and to incorporate these flows into national and international ecosystem assessments leads to incomplete and potentially skewed conclusions, impairing society’s ability to identify sustainable management and policy choices. In this paper, we synthesise existing knowledge and develop a conceptual framework for analysing interregional ecosystem service flows. We synthesise the types of such flows, the characteristics of sending and receiving socio-ecological systems, and the impacts of ecosystem service flows on interregional sustainability. Using four cases (trade of certified coffee, migration of northern pintails, flood protection in the Danube watershed, and information on giant pandas), we test the conceptual framework and show how an enhanced understanding of interregional telecouplings in socio-ecological systems can inform ecosystem service-based decision making and governance with respect to sustainability goals.
Synergies between industry and nature – An emergy evaluation of a biodiesel production system integrated with ecological systems Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-19 Fabrizio Saladini, Varsha Gopalakrishnan, Simone Bastianoni, Bhavik R. Bakshi
Techno-ecological synergy (TES) is a framework that encourages integration of technological and ecological systems. Specifically, it incorporates the role of natural capital in engineering assessment and design by quantifying both demand and supply of ecosystem services. Emergy can provide valuable support to improve and interpret TES evaluation, as it is a methodology particularly useful for evaluating systems at the biosphere–technosphere interface. The present study evaluates how the TES framework based on emergy can shed new light by comparing conventional technological alternatives and ecological alternatives for meeting a particular ecosystem service demand. Both the demand and supply of ecosystem services are quantified in consistent units of emergy to obtain aggregated TES metrics. Specifically it was found that additional equipment to treat air pollutants have a higher emergy investment as compared to the forest ecosystem, while the technological unit to treat wastewater requires less emergy as compared to the horizontal subsurface flow wetland, its ecological counterpart. This new approach is tested by application to a biodiesel production plant and by calculating emergy metrics. This work shows that emergy can provide a fundamental improvement to the current TES framework, as it provides an aggregated metric for multiple ecosystem services.
Marine recreational ecosystem service value estimation: A meta-analysis with cultural considerations Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-16 Stephen Hynes, Andrea Ghermandi, Daniel Norton, Heidi Williams
Marine and coastal ecosystems provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities that are highly valued by society. For the purposes of conducting a meta-analysis we build an extensive global dataset of marine recreational ecosystem service values from the literature. Using this database we developed a number of meta-regression specifications with the objective of evaluating the study specific effects of location, ecosystem, valuation methodology and statistical estimation methods on the reported value estimates. Furthermore, the paper investigates if cultural differences between studies are an important determinant that should be considered in international (meta-analytical) value transfer. This was achieved by including a number of cultural parameters from previous societal studies and surveys into our meta-regression models. We found that accounting for differences in cultural dimensions across recreation valuation studies had a significant influence on value estimates. While a multi-level modelling approach that controls for study effects, proved to be a better fit than a standard one level specification, we found that the absolute in-sample transfer errors associated with the standard OLS model were slightly less on average based on the differences between the actual and predicted values in our meta-database.
Exploring ecosystem services assessment through Ecological Footprint accounting Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-10 Maria Serena Mancini, Alessandro Galli, Luca Coscieme, Valentina Niccolucci, David Lin, Federico Maria Pulselli, Simone Bastianoni, Nadia Marchettini
Ecosystem services are the benefits that humans derive from Nature. In the last decades, research efforts have been made to better understand the connections between the natural sphere and the human sphere as well as to propose novel approaches to measure the value of ecosystem services. While economic valuation has so far been the most commonly used approach – expressing ecosystem services’ value in monetary units – recent efforts have focused on alternative qualitative or biophysical accounting approaches to express the value of ecosystem service in physical units. The role of Ecological Footprint accounting as a biophysical approach for measuring the value of ecosystem services through a surface-equivalent unit is here investigated. This accounting tool allows keeping track of both the human demand on, and the Nature’s supply of, a precise sub-set of ecosystem services thus being able to make an ecological balance at the country level. A comparison between Ecological Footprint and economic valuation analyses is finally performed, for the forest ecosystem type, to highlight complementarities and correlations of these different approaches.
Recreational ecosystem services in European cities: Sociocultural and geographical contexts matter for park use Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-10 L.K. Fischer, J. Honold, A. Botzat, D. Brinkmeyer, R. Cvejić, T. Delshammar, B. Elands, D. Haase, N. Kabisch, S.J. Karle, R. Lafortezza, M. Nastran, A.B. Nielsen, A.P. van der Jagt, K. Vierikko, I. Kowarik
The role of urban parks in delivering cultural ecosystem services related to outdoor recreation is widely acknowledged. Yet, the question remains as to whether the recreational opportunities of parks meet the demands of increasingly multicultural societies and whether recreational patterns vary at spatial scales. In a pan-European survey, we assessed how people use urban parks (in five cities, N = 3814) and how recreational patterns relate to respondents’ sociocultural and geographical contexts (using 19 explanatory variables). Our results show that across Europe (i) respondents share a general pattern in their recreational activities with a prevalence for the physical uses of parks, especially taking a walk; (ii) the geographic context matters, demonstrating a high variety of uses across the cities; and that (iii) the sociocultural context is also important; e.g., the occupation and biodiversity valuations of respondents are significantly associated with the uses performed. The sociocultural context matters particularly for physical park uses and is associated to a lesser extent with nature-related uses. Given that our results attest to a high variety of park uses between sociocultural groups and the geographical context, we conclude that it is important to consider the specific backgrounds of people to enhance recreational ecosystem services in greenspace development.
An integrated biophysical and ecosystem approach as a base for ecosystem services analysis across regions Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-09 Dor Fridman, Meidad Kissinger
In an interconnected world, the ‘food system’ sustainability of any given region is increasingly dependent on ecosystem services originated from supporting regions in different parts of the world. However, commonly used research approaches, such as place based ecosystem service assessments and interregional biophysical accounting, have limited capacity to capture the complex interactions across regions. This research addresses this gap by integrating a global biophysical accounting of food crops with its related local ecosystem dis-services. It combines agricultural and ecosystem indicators to describe different classes of biophysical pressures and potential dis-services from growing 4 key agricultural staples exported to Israel from different agricultural areas around the world. Each class stands as a ‘functional region’ in which either a trade-off or a synergy exists between agricultural efficiency and environmental impact. The research finds that over half of Israel’s crops supply was produced in areas with high soil loss potential, and almost 15% of it originates from areas with high water scarcity. It implies that changes to Israel’s supply sources have the potential to reduce consumption related impacts on ecosystem services. The functional regions typology may be used as a global road map mediating interregional flows assessments with place-based ecosystem service assessments.
Reprint of: Environmental justice and ecosystem services: A disaggregated analysis of community access to forest benefits in Nepal ☆ Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-02 Sunita Chaudhary, Andrew McGregor, Donna Houston, Nakul Chettri
The concept of ecosystem services is influencing how environmental stakeholders pursue dual conservation and community development goals. While rapidly growing in popularity, the ecosystem services approach has been criticized for adopting a homogenous approach to communities and failing to consider social diversity and associated power structures influencing access to benefits. In this paper, we adopt an environmental justice lens to analyse access to ecosystem services in a case study of community forestry in Nepal. Using mixed methods, our disaggregated analysis shows that access to ecosystem services is differentiated by social characteristics such as caste, income and gender with uneven distributive outcomes and participation. High-income groups were able to disproportionately access the benefits despite the social equity provisions built into policy and institutional structures. Our study shows that some of the protections oriented at assisting disadvantaged groups were experienced as onerous and should be amended if they are to have beneficial outcomes. In highlighting entrenched inequities, we argue that the ecosystem services approach needs to make environmental justice more central to avoid further marginalising the marginalized, and have far and just outcomes. The current emphasis on aggregated analysis may contribute little to practically implementing programs that will contribute to sustainable socio-ecological wellbeing.
Assessing contributions of volunteer tourism to ecosystem research and conservation in southern Africa Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-02-01 Kim G. Roques, Susan K. Jacobson, Robert A. McCleery
Highlights • We provide data on 2,085 volunteer tourists that visited southern Africa. • We present 8 years of conservation outputs from Mozambique and Swaziland projects. • Our results validate a previously developed conservation evaluation framework. • Volunteer tourism can deliver conservation benefits but these need evaluating.
Getting into the water with the Ecosystem Services Approach: The DESSIN ESS evaluation framework Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-01-17 Gerardo Anzaldua, Nadine V. Gerner, Manuel Lago, Katrina Abhold, Mandy Hinzmann, Sarah Beyer, Caroline Winking, Niels Riegels, Jørgen Krogsgaard Jensen, Montserrat Termes, Jaume Amorós, Kristina Wencki, Clemens Strehl, Rita Ugarelli, Marius Hasenheit, Issa Nafo, Marta Hernandez, Ester Vilanova, Sigrid Damman, Stijn Brouwer, Josselin Rouillard, David Schwesig, Sebastian Birk
Driven by Europe’s pressing need to overcome its water quality and water scarcity challenges, the speed of innovation in the water sector is outpacing that of science. The methodologies available to assess the impact of innovative solutions to water-related challenges remain limited and highly theoretical, which sets boundaries on their application and usefulness to water practitioners. This hampers the uptake of new technologies and innovative management practices, thus foregoing potential gains in resource efficiency and nature protection, as well as wider benefits to society and the economy. To address this gap, the DESSIN project developed a framework to evaluate the changes in ecosystem services (ESS) associated with technical or management solutions implemented at the water body, sub-catchment or catchment level. The framework was developed with a specific focus on freshwater ecosystems to allow for a more detailed exploration of practical implementation issues. Its development, testing and validation was carried out by conducting ESS evaluations in three different urban case study settings. The framework builds upon existing classification systems for ESS (CICES and FEGS-CS) and incorporates the DPSIR adaptive management scheme as its main structural element. This enables compatibility with other international initiatives on ESS assessments and establishes a direct link to the EU Water Framework Directive, respectively. This work furthers research on practical implementation of the Ecosystem Services Approach, while pushing the discussion on how to promote more informed decision-making and support innovation uptake to address Europe’s current water-related challenges.
Assessing and valuing the recreational ecosystem services of Germany’s national parks using travel cost models Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-01-09 Marius Mayer, Manuel Woltering
This paper estimates the recreational ecosystem services (RES) of 15 German national parks (NLP) in one of the most comprehensive RES valuations of NLP systems performed to date. The RES were evaluated using zonal travel cost models (TCM) based on 24,548 representative interviews conducted with a uniform methodology between 2004 and 2015. Reaction functions were estimated for each park as double-log regression models. The lower-limit consumer surplus of recreation in German NLP totals EUR 385.3–621.8 million (including only visitors whose trip decisions were influenced by the parks’ protected status), while an upper-limit value reached EUR 1.690–2.751 billion (including all visitors). Thus, NLP generate enormous non-monetary values for German society. The standardized approach applied could be used to harmonize assessments and valuations of RES in protected areas. Finally, the article advances the theory of RES assessment, valuation and mapping by highlighting the importance of on-site visitation data. RES do not exist a priori, but emerge as co-products of ecosystems and visitors’ perceptions and valuations. For this reason, we discourage the use of context-specific RES results in benefit transfer approaches.
Quantifying ecosystem service flows at multiple scales across the range of a long-distance migratory species Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-01-05 Darius J. Semmens, Jay E. Diffendorfer, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Ruscena Wiederholt, Karen Oberhauser, Leslie Ries, Brice X. Semmens, Joshua Goldstein, John Loomis, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Brady J. Mattsson, Laura López-Hoffman
Migratory species provide ecosystem goods and services throughout their annual cycles, often over long distances. Designing effective conservation solutions for migratory species requires knowledge of both species ecology and the socioeconomic context of their migrations. We present a framework built around the concept that migratory species act as carriers, delivering benefit flows to people throughout their annual cycle that are supported by the network of ecosystems upon which the species depend. We apply this framework to the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) migration of eastern North America by calculating their spatial subsidies. Spatial subsidies are the net ecosystem service flows throughout a species’ range and a quantitative measure of the spatial mismatch between the locations where people receive most benefits and the locations of habitats that most support the species. Results indicate cultural benefits provided by monarchs in the U.S. and Canada are subsidized by migration and overwintering habitat in Mexico. At a finer scale, throughout the monarch range, habitat in rural landscapes subsidizes urban residents. Understanding the spatial distribution of benefits derived from and ecological support provided to monarchs and other migratory species offers a promising means of understanding the costs and benefits associated with conservation across jurisdictional borders.
Increasing the credibility of expert-based models with preference surveys – Mapping recreation in the riverine zone Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2018-01-04 Sven-Erik Rabe, Remo Gantenbein, Kai-Florian Richter, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey
Integrating social media analysis and revealed preference methods to value the recreation services of ecologically engineered wetlands Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-28 Andrea Ghermandi
Social media provide a wealth of behavioral data that can be used to investigate the provision of environmental services. In this study, the preferences revealed by photo-sharing social media users are analyzed through travel cost modeling to infer the monetary value of recreation in 115 man-made wetland ecosystems. Photographs’ metadata and other publicly available information are used to determine the frequency of recreational trips and the home location of visitors. The mean willingness to pay for access to 115 wetlands is found to range between $5.3 and $374 (2015 international $). The comparison of estimated recreational benefits with the capital, operation and maintenance costs of 74 wetlands reveals that such benefits are considerable and should be taken into account in the design and management of these systems. The approach demonstrates the potential for ecosystem service valuation techniques to incorporate the large amounts of behavioral data available from online resources.
Developing an indicator for the physical health benefits of recreation in woodlands Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-23 Darren Moseley, Thomas Connolly, Louise Sing, Kevin Watts
Woodlands provide a range of ecosystem services (ES), yet indicators largely focus on the more tangible and quantifiable ‘goods’ such as timber rather than the benefits from cultural ES such as recreation. Physical health ‘benefits’ from recreation can improve life chances and reduce the burden on public health budgets. Whilst woodland managers recognise that these types of cultural ES are important, they often need quantitative measures to demonstrate their value and justify resource allocation. We develop a quantitative indicator of the benefits from physical recreation in woodlands using on-site visitor survey data. For each woodland sampled, we calculate the energy expenditure realised from recreational activities undertaken by each individual visitor. These values are converted to Quality Adjusted Life Years (a measure of the health benefits that combine duration and quality of life) and economically assessed. We demonstrate that annual recreation values vary considerably between woodlands due to the range of facilities provided, activities undertaken, frequency of visits and proximity of population. Monetary estimates ranged from £6 to £8542 per person to £2581 to £70,832 per woodland. This new indicator has the potential to inform future woodland management and enable managers to consider a wider portfolio of ES.
Predation by small mammalian carnivores in rural agro-ecosystems: An undervalued ecosystem service? Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-21 Samual T. Williams, Naudene Maree, Peter Taylor, Steven R. Belmain, Mark Keith, Lourens H. Swanepoel
Africa is endowed with a diverse guild of small carnivores, which could benefit stakeholders by providing ecosystem services while fostering conservation tolerance for carnivores. To investigate the potential of small carnivores for the biological control of rodents within agro-ecosystems, we assessed both the ecological and social landscapes within two rural villages in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, South Africa. We employed a camera trapping survey underpinned by an occupancy modelling framework to distinguish between ecological and observation processes affecting small carnivore occupancy. We also used questionnaires to investigate perceptions of small carnivores and their role in pest control. We found the greatest diversity of small carnivores in land used for cropping in comparison to grazing or settlements. Probability of use by small carnivores was influenced negatively by the relative abundance of domestic dogs and positively by the relative abundance of livestock. Greater carnivore diversity and probability of use could be mediated through habitat heterogeneity, food abundance, or reduced competition from domestic carnivores. Village residents failed to appreciate the role of small carnivores in rodent control. Our results suggest that there is significant, although undervalued, potential for small carnivores to provide ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems.
(Dis) integrated valuation – Assessing the information gaps in ecosystem service appraisals for governance support Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-15 D.N. Barton, E. Kelemen, J. Dick, B. Martin-Lopez, E. Gómez-Baggethun, S. Jacobs, C.M.A. Hendriks, M. Termansen, M. García- Llorente, E. Primmer, R. Dunford, P.A. Harrison, F. Turkelboom, H. Saarikoski, J. van Dijk, G.M. Rusch, I. Palomo, V.J. Yli-Pelkonen, L. Carvalho, F. Baró, J. Langemeyer, J. Tjalling van der Wal, P. Mederly, J.A. Priess, S. Luque, P. Berry, R. Santos, D. Odee, G. Martines Pastur, G. García Blanco, S-R. Saarela, D. Silaghi, G. Pataki, F. Masi, A. Vădineanu, R. Mukhopadhyay, D.M. Lapola
The operational challenges of integrated ecosystem service (ES) appraisals are determined by study purpose, system complexity and uncertainty, decision-makers’ requirements for reliability and accuracy of methods, and approaches to stakeholder–science interaction in different decision contexts. To explore these factors we defined an information gap hypothesis, based on a theory of cumulative uncertainty in ES appraisals. When decision context requirements for accuracy and reliability increase, and the expected uncertainty of the ES appraisal methods also increases, the likelihood of methods being used is expected to drop, creating a potential information gap in governance. In order to test this information gap hypothesis, we evaluate 26 case studies and 80 ecosystem services appraisals in a large integrated EU research project. We find some support for a decreasing likelihood of ES appraisal methods coinciding with increasing accuracy and reliability requirements of the decision-support context, and with increasing uncertainty. We do not find that information costs are the explanation for this information gap, but rather that the research project interacted mostly with stakeholders outside the most decision-relevant contexts. The paper discusses how alternative definitions of integrated valuation can lead to different interpretations of decision-support information, and different governance approaches to dealing with uncertainty.
Economic value of bat predation services – A review and new estimates from macadamia orchards Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-13 Peter John Taylor, Ingo Grass, Andries J. Alberts, Elsje Joubert, Teja Tscharntke
The economic value of natural regulation of agricultural pests by bats has been estimated both by avoided cost models and by experimental predator-exclusion approaches. We review published studies globally from both complementary approaches. We further present an economic model for the avoided cost of bat predation on stinkbugs, the major economic pest of macadamias in South Africa, currently the world’s largest macadamia producer. We calculated both the direct (reduced stinkbug damage due to bat predation) and indirect (reduced pesticide use) avoided costs. We estimated the density of bats in a macadamia-growing region of South Africa to be 7.5–22.5 bats/ha, based on opportunistic data from the Merlin DeTEct (Inc.) avian-avoidance radar system. Current economic parameters for macadamia production, stinkbug injury coefficients and life history were obtained from the literature and from the Southern African Macadamia Association (SAMAC).We estimated the level of bat predation on pest stinkbugs in macadamia orchards from published dietary studies combined with both high and low published values for insect consumption rates relative to bat body mass. We found that the protected yield due to bat predation of stink bugs amounted to 0.53% (low consumption rates) to 1.29% (high consumption rates) of annual macadamia production in South Africa for 2015. Based on current macadamia prices, the approximate avoided cost values of these combined direct and indirect bat predation services varied between 9% and 23% of the current annual estimated cost of damage caused by stinkbugs to South African macadamia orchards (US$613/ha). Losing bats to disease epidemics, wind farms, human persecution or excessive or highly toxic pesticide applications could therefore significantly increase annual losses to the macadamia industry in South Africa caused by stinkbugs.
Revealing spatial and temporal patterns of outdoor recreation in the European Alps and their surroundings Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-09 Uta Schirpke, Claude Meisch, Thomas Marsoner, Ulrike Tappeiner
Handling a messy world: Lessons learned when trying to make the ecosystem services concept operational Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-09 Kurt Jax, Eeva Furman, Heli Saarikoski, David N. Barton, Ben Delbaere, Jan Dick, Guy Duke, Christoph Görg, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Paula A. Harrison, Joachim Maes, Marta Pérez-Soba, Sanna-Riikka Saarela, Francis Turkelboom, Jiska van Dijk, Allan D. Watt
The concept of ecosystem services is widely used in the scientific literature and increasingly also in policy and practice. Nevertheless, operationalising the concept, i.e. putting it into practice, is still a challenge. We describe the approach of the EU-project OpenNESS (Operationalisation of Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital), which was created in response to this challenge to critically evaluate the concept when applied to real world problems at different scales and in different policy sectors. General requirements for operationalization, the relevance of conceptual frameworks and lessons learnt from 27 case study applications are synthesized in a set of guiding principles. We also briefly describe some integrative tools as developed in OpenNESS which support the implementation of the principles. The guiding principles are grouped under three major headlines: “Defining the problem and opening up the problem space”, “Considering ethical issues” and “Assessing alternative methods, tools and actions”. Real world problems are often “wicked” problems, which at first are seldom clear-cut and well-defined, but often rather complex and subject to differing interpretations and interests. We take account of that complexity and emphasise that there is not one simple and straightforward way to approach real world problems involving ecosystem services. The principles and tools presented are meant to provide some guidance for tackling this complexity by means of a transdisciplinary methodology that facilitates the operationalisation of the ecosystem services concept.
Optimising recreation services from protected areas – Understanding the role of natural values, built infrastructure and contextual factors Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-12-08 E.C. Heagney, J.M. Rose, A. Ardeshiri, M. Kovač
Effective management of recreation within protected areas requires a comprehensive understanding of the drivers of site visitation. To date, large multi-site studies that compare recreation demand for protected areas in response to underlying site attributes are rare, and have generally been restricted to high-profile, high-visitation sites. Our study, undertaken in south-eastern Australia, is the first to use random utility travel cost methods to explore recreational preferences across all sites within a large protected area network. We applied a novel zero-inflation statistical correction to identify the value of recreation demand arising in response to a broad range of site attributes, including protected area size, remoteness, natural values and built infrastructure. We find a strong influence of built infrastructure on recreation demand, but only a subset of the 9 infrastructure types modelled consistently generated recreation demand across the protected areas network. Other infrastructure contributed positively or negatively to tourism demand depending on contextual factors like site remoteness and the availability of recreation substitutes. We discuss the implications for protected area management at both the site- and network- scales, and as well as implications for designing more effective travel cost studies that allow the robust transfer of study findings to other protected area sites.
The choice of forest site for recreation: A revealed preference analysis using spatial data Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-28 Fitalew Agimass, Thomas Lundhede, Toke Emil Panduro, Jette Bredahl Jacobsen
In this paper, we investigate the factors that can influence the site choice of forest recreation. Relevant attributes are identified by using spatial data analysis from a questionnaire asking people to indicate their most recent forest visits by pinpointing on a map. The main objectives of the study are (1) to examine the preferences of visitors for different forest attributes using data from actual visits and (2) to illustrate how many alternative sites need to be considered for estimation in case of a large number of potential recreational sites. Estimation is performed using a conditional logit as well as a random parameter logit model. The variables that are found to affect the choice of forest site to a visit for recreation include: forest area, tree species composition, forest density, availability of historical sites, terrain difference, state ownership, and distance. Regarding the second research objective, we empirically show the possibility of getting consistent parameter estimates through random selection of alternatives. We find that increasing the number of alternatives increases consistency of parameter estimates.
Ecosystem services and Antarctica: The time has come? Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-28 Jane Verbitsky
Antarctica's status as a unparalleled place of international scientific collaboration was entrenched in the Antarctic Treaty 1959, and its designation as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” formally referenced in the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (PEPAT) 1991 (PEPAT 1991, Article 2). The continent's importance for maintenance of the global ecosphere has more recently been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Anisimov et al., 2007). However, the expanded scale and scope of commercial tourism in Antarctica over the last quarter century raises issues about whether the laissez-faire approach to tourism management that has been taken under the auspices of Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) governance is sufficient to protect the Antarctic environment and its “wilderness” values from the negative impacts of tourism (PEPAT, Article 3(1)). This is an subject that has occupied a number of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCPs), who form the decision-making group within the ATS, and resulted in a recent question by The Netherlands to fellow ATCPs as to whether “a system of obligatory or voluntary payments by individual tourists or tourist organizations (as a payment for ‘ecosystem services’)?” should be established within the ATS (The Netherlands, ATCM XI, 2012). This paper considers the Dutch question about payment for ecosystem services in Antarctica as a potential tourism regulatory tool. It also examines the legal and related political issues that a proposal for introduction of ecosystem services would generate in an area of the earth which, de facto, is treated as an international commons, but is also the site of continuing contestation and challenge over abeyant claims to sovereignty by seven states within the ATCP group. Issues canvassed in this context include: the different political-philosophical approaches to tourism and the environment evinced by the ATCPs; the limited number of states signatory to the Treaty and the increase in non-state actor activity in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, and concomitant difficulties of monitoring and compliance in a geographically expansive and remote area of the earth; and the potential of ecosystem services in Antarctica to help realise some of the United Nations’ post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
When we cannot have it all: Ecosystem services trade-offs in the context of spatial planning Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-27 Francis Turkelboom, Michael Leone, Sander Jacobs, Eszter Kelemen, Marina García-Llorente, Francesc Baró, Mette Termansen, David N. Barton, Pam Berry, Erik Stange, Marijke Thoonen, Ágnes Kalóczkai, Angheluta Vadineanu, Antonio J. Castro, Bálint Czúcz, Christine Röckmann, Daniel Wurbs, David Odee, Elena Preda, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Graciela M. Rusch, Guillermo Martínez Pastur, Ignacio Palomo, Jan Dick, Jim Casaer, Jiska van Dijk, Joerg A. Priess, Johannes Langemeyer, Jyri Mustajoki, Leena Kopperoinen, Martin J. Baptist, Pablo Luis Peri, Raktima Mukhopadhyay, Réka Aszalós, S.B. Roy, Sandra Luque, Verónica Rusch
Spatial planning has to deal with trade-offs between various stakeholders’ wishes and needs as part of planning and management of landscapes, natural resources and/or biodiversity. To make ecosystem services (ES) trade-off research more relevant for spatial planning, we propose an analytical framework, which puts stakeholders, their land-use/management choices, their impact on ES and responses at the centre. Based on 24 cases from around the world, we used this framing to analyse the appearance and diversity of real-world ES trade-offs. They cover a wide range of trade-offs related to ecosystem use, including: land-use change, management regimes, technical versus nature-based solutions, natural resource use, and management of species. The ES trade-offs studied featured a complexity that was far greater than what is often described in the ES literature. Influential users and context setters are at the core of the trade-off decision-making, but most of the impact is felt by non-influential users. Provisioning and cultural ES were the most targeted in the studied trade-offs, but regulating ES were the most impacted. Stakeholders’ characteristics, such as influence, impact faced, and concerns can partially explain their position and response in relation to trade-offs. Based on the research findings, we formulate recommendations for spatial planning.
Maximising the value of research on ecosystem services: Knowledge integration and guidance tools mediating the science, policy and practice interfaces Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-24 Marta Pérez-Soba, Peter Verweij, Heli Saarikoski, Paula A. Harrison, David N. Barton, Eeva Furman
Progress towards sustainable development ultimately depends on policy makers’ and practitioners’ capacities to protect Natural Capital (NC) stocks so that they are not exploited beyond Earth’s capability to renew them. This involves a sound understanding of the benefits and values derived by society from NC and ecosystem services (ES). Scientific evidence to support this understanding is growing rapidly, but access to the data, methods, tools and expertise that underpins this evidence base is fragmented, particularly at the science – policy – practice interfaces. Two large EU research projects have therefore developed a joint knowledge platform – called Oppla – aimed at providing access to a wide range of resources on NC and ES. This new approach in the EU Research Area aims not only at integrating knowledge into one single platform, but also at making this knowledge operational amongst communities of science, policy and practice. Furthermore, it fosters the more efficient use of research funds by providing an open and freely available platform in which existing and new NC and ES projects can integrate their outcomes. This paper focuses on the knowledge integration and some guidance tools within Oppla to help users to find research outcomes.
An integrated framework to assess impacts on ecosystem services in LCA demonstrated by a case study of mining in Chile Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-21 Carlos Felipe Blanco, Alexandra Marques, Peter M. van Bodegom
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool to quantitatively assess the environmental impacts associated to a product’s life cycle. Since its conception, LCA has improved considerably in sophistication and scope. Yet efforts to incorporate ecosystem services (ES) are still at an early stage. We present a novel framework for assessing ES in LCA that integrates models from adjacent fields and partitions the required modeling steps into different phases of LCA. Physical models are first used to determine how physical units of ecosystems are transformed by industrial processes; ES models are then used to determine the losses or gains of ES per ecosystem unit, and economic valuation is used to normalize and weigh the total ES losses/gains. We demonstrate the framework for a case study on water extraction by the mining industry in Chile and compare ES losses that result from the transformation of wetland and coastal ecosystems respectively. The proposed framework advances current efforts to assess ES beyond land use impacts in LCA by presenting a coherent approach to deal with spatial and temporal variability of ES production and by incorporating socioeconomic aspects of ES use. It also facilitates the coupling of LCA with other ES databases currently being developed
Operationalising ecosystem service assessment in Bayesian Belief Networks: Experiences within the OpenNESS project Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Ron I. Smith, David N. Barton, Jan Dick, Roy Haines-Young, Anders L. Madsen, Graciela M. Rusch, Mette Termansen, Helen Woods, Laurence Carvalho, Relu Constantin Giucă, Sandra Luque, David Odee, Verónica Rusch, Heli Saarikoski, Cristian Mihai Adamescu, Rob Dunford, John Ochieng, Julen Gonzalez-Redin, Suvi Vikström
Nine Bayesian Belief Networks (BBNs) were developed within the OpenNESS project specifically for modelling ecosystem services for case study applications. The novelty of the method, its ability to explore problems, to address uncertainty, and to facilitate stakeholder interaction in the process were all reasons for choosing BBNs. Most case studies had some local expertise on BBNs to assist them, and all used expert opinion as well as data to help develop the dependences in the BBNs. In terms of the decision scope of the work, all case studies were moving from explorative and informative uses towards decisive, but none were yet being used for decision-making. Three applications incorporated BBNs with GIS where the spatial component of the management was critical, but several concerns about estimating uncertainty with spatial modelling approaches are discussed. The tool proved to be very flexible and, particularly with its web interface, was an asset when working with stakeholders to facilitate exploration of outcomes, knowledge elicitation and social learning. BBNs were rated as very useful and widely applicable by the case studies that used them, but further improvements in software and more training were also deemed necessary.
Legal aspects of ecosystem services: An introduction and an overview Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Volker Mauerhofer
This introductory contribution to a Special Issue (SI) titled “Legal Aspects of Ecosystem Services” intends to provide both a short introduction on the SI-topic as well as a brief overview on the content of each paper therein. The introduction aims to provide an overall entry point into the topic from a legal as well as an interdisciplinary perspective. It first offers initial insights into the relationship between the rule of law as one socially constructed normative framework and ecosystem services. Furthermore, it also points out interrelations among rule-focused, economic-focused and information-focused incentives, all with the potential to influence human behaviour with regard to ecosystem services. The overview delivers as a sort of short-cut a table of authors, levels of the geopolitical scale addressed, types of analysis implemented and themes focused upon within the Special Issue. It further provides an overview of the main direction of each contribution to this SI. The conclusions strive to provide a brief summary of the “why”, the “when”, the “where”, the “how” and the “what” of current and future research on legal aspect of ecosystem services.
Large mammal diversity matters for wildlife tourism in Southern African Protected Areas: Insights for management Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Ugo Arbieu, Claudia Grünewald, Berta Martín-López, Matthias Schleuning, Katrin Böhning-Gaese
Relationships between biodiversity and cultural ecosystem services have been little studied compared to other ecosystem services, although fundamental for environmental management. Recreational ecosystem services like wildlife tourism are specific cultural ecosystem services that often involve relationships between the supply of opportunities to interact with biodiversity and the demand of wildlife tourists. Here, we first investigated whether different biodiversity measures based on three metrics applied to four components of large mammal diversity influenced the distribution of visitors within four Protected Areas (PAs) in Southern Africa. Second, we explored whether these effects were context-specific across the four PAs. We counted large mammals and visitor numbers along 196 road transects to test these relationships. All species-mammal diversity metrics related positively to visitor numbers. Subsets of mammal diversity were also positively associated with the distribution of visitors in all PAs. Relationships between supply and demand for the recreational service of wildlife tourism were mainly context-specific: the relationships between biodiversity measures and visitor numbers differed among PAs. Our results could help managers to optimize the use of recreational services within PAs, by diversifying viewing opportunities while reducing disturbance to wildlife. The supply-demand approach presented here offers promising avenues for further assessments of recreational ecosystem services.
Practical application of spatial ecosystem service models to aid decision support Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-16 Grazia Zulian, Erik Stange, Helen Woods, Laurence Carvalho, Jan Dick, Christopher Andrews, Francesc Baró, Pilar Vizcaino, David N. Barton, Megan Nowel, Graciela M. Rusch, Paula Autunes, João Fernandes, Diogo Ferraz, Rui Ferreira dos Santos, Réka Aszalós, Ildikó Arany, Bálint Czúcz, Arto Viinikka
Ecosystem service (ES) spatial modelling is a key component of the integrated assessments designed to support policies and management practices aiming at environmental sustainability. ESTIMAP (“Ecosystem Service Mapping Tool”) is a collection of spatially explicit models, originally developed to support policies at a European scale. We based our analysis on 10 case studies, and 3 ES models. Each case study applied at least one model at a local scale. We analyzed the applications with respect to: the adaptation process; the “precision differential” which we define as the variation generated in the model between the degree of spatial variation within the spatial distribution of ES and what the model captures; the stakeholders’ opinions on the usefulness of models. We propose a protocol for adapting ESTIMAP to the local conditions. We present the precision differential as a means of assessing how the type of model and level of model adaptation generate variation among model outputs. We then present the opinion of stakeholders; that in general considered the approach useful for stimulating discussion and supporting communication. Major constraints identified were the lack of spatial data with sufficient level of detail, and the level of expertise needed to set up and compute the models.
Integrating methods for ecosystem service assessment: Experiences from real world situations Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-15 Rob Dunford, Paula Harrison, Alison Smith, Jan Dick, David N. Barton, Berta Martin-Lopez, Ezsther Kelemen, Sander Jacobs, Heli Saarikoski, Francis Turkelboom, Wim Verheyden, Jennifer Hauck, Paula Antunes, Réka Aszalós, Ovidu Badea, Francesc Baró, Pam Berry, Laurence Carvalho, Vesa Yli-Pelkonen
The Ecosystem Services (ES) concept highlights the varied contributions the environment provides to humans and there are a wide range of methods/tools available to assess ES. However, in real-world decision contexts a single tool is rarely sufficient and methods must be combined to meet practitioner needs. Here, results from the OpenNESS project are presented to illustrate the methods selected to meet the needs of 24 real-world case studies and better understand why and how methods are combined to meet practical needs. Results showed that within the cases methods were combined to: i) address a range of ES; ii) assess both supply and demand of ES; iii) assess a range of value types; iv) reach different stakeholder groups v) cover weaknesses in other methods used and vi) to meet specific decision context needs. Methods were linked in a variety of ways: i) as input–output chains of methods; ii) through learning; iii) through method development and iv) through comparison/triangulation of results. The paper synthesises these case study-based experiences to provide insight to others working in practical contexts as to where, and in what contexts, different methods can be combined and how this can add value to case study analyses.
Socio-geographic indicators to evaluate landscape Cultural Ecosystem Services: A case of Mekong Delta, Vietnam Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-11 Loc Ho Huu, Thomas J. Ballatore, Kim N. Irvine, Thi Hong Diep Nguyen, Thi Cam Tien Truong, Shimizu Yoshihisa
Too often, taxonomies treat cultural aspects of Ecosystem Services (ES) as a broadly labeled, residual category after accounting for other utilitarian benefits. Such an approach overlooks several important inter-relationships among the largely different integrated components of cultural ES, i.e. recreational, spiritual, education concerns, etc. In this paper, the need of more explicit typologies is underscored via a case study, where the authors represented the discrepancies between two tiers of Cultural ES: those associated with Spiritual Values and Recreational Opportunities using a socio-georaphically-based tri-indicator analytical framework. More specifically, two survey-based (Richness and Quality of ES), and one GIS-based (Willingness to Travel (WTT)) indices were proposed to evaluate a full range of cultural benefits derived from seven popular tourism sites of Ha Tien Town, Kien Giang, Vietnam. These numerical indicators pointed out the significant differences between ritual values and recreational based benefits, underlining the crucial need of fuller taxonomies of cultural services within the ES analytical framework. With respect to the study area, the measurements of Quality and Richness detected major synergies and tradeoffs among the evaluated benefits, supporting the need to balance management between developing tourism activities and preserving cultural identity of the landscapes. The last indicator, WTT utilizes map data from OpenStreetMap to produce an objective metric in evaluating landscape quality, taking into account the frequency and the potential costs in traveling to respective sites. This indicator constitutes a reliable and equitable method to represent relevant Cultural ES of landscapes besides the popular yet controversial money-based indices, e.g. Willingness to Pay or Willingness to Accept.
The densification normative of the ecosystem services concept in Brazil: Analyses from legislation and jurisprudence Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-11-06 Alexandre Altmann, Márcia Silva Stanton
The concept of ecosystem services acquired a growing attention in Brazil in the last fifteen years. This fact was observed in the development of legal norms and court decisions throughout the country. Using the theory of densification normative by Thibierge et al. (2013), this paper analyses the theory’s seven parameters in two legal sources – legislation and jurisprudence – which identify a densification normative process over the concept of ecosystem services. This paper concludes that, under the prism of this theory, this densification normative process is being observed and it may contribute to the assignment of legal value to ecosystem services.
Knowledge needs for the operationalisation of the concept of ecosystem services Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-27 Esther Carmen, Allan Watt, Laurence Carvalho, Jan Dick, Ioan Fazey, Gemma Garcia-Blanco, Bruna Grizzetti, Jennifer Hauck, Zita Izakovicova, Leena Kopperoinen, Camino Liquete, David Odee, Eveliene Steingröver, Juliette Young
As environmental challenges and their management are increasingly recognised as complex and uncertain, the concept of ecosystem services has emerged from within scientific communities and is gaining influence within policy communities. To better understand how this concept can be turned into practice we examine knowledge needs from the perspective of the different stakeholders directly engaged with the operationalisation of ecosystem systems concept within ten socio-ecologically different case studies from different countries, levels of governance and ecosystems. We identify four different but interrelated areas of knowledge needs, namely; (i) needs related to develop a common understanding, (ii) needs related to the role of formal and informal institutions in shaping action on the ground, (iii) needs related to linking knowledge and action, and (iv) and needs related to accessible and easy to use methods and tools. These findings highlight the need to view knowledge as a process which is orientated towards action. We discuss the potential to develop transdisciplinary research approaches and the development of tools and methods explicitly as boundary objects in the ecosystem service science community to develop more collaborative practices with other stakeholders and facilitate the operationalisation of the concept of ecosystem services across contexts.
Selecting methods for ecosystem service assessment: A decision tree approach Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-21 Paula A. Harrison, Rob Dunford, David N. Barton, Eszter Kelemen, Berta Martín-López, Lisa Norton, Mette Termansen, Heli Saarikoski, Kees Hendriks, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Bálint Czúcz, Marina García-Llorente, David Howard, Sander Jacobs, Martin Karlsen, Leena Kopperoinen, Andes Madsen, Graciela Rusch, Grazia Zulian
A range of methods are available for assessing ecosystem services. Methods differ in their aims; from mapping and modelling the supply and demand of ecosystem services to appraising their economic and non-economic importance through valuation techniques. Comprehensive guidance for the selection of appropriate ecosystem service assessment methods that address the requirements of different decision-making contexts is lacking. This paper tackles this gap using the experience from 27 case studies which applied different biophysical, socio-cultural and monetary valuation methods to operationalise the ecosystem service concept towards sustainable land, water and urban management. A survey of the reasons why the case study teams selected particular methods revealed that stakeholder-oriented reasons, such as stakeholder participation, inclusion of local knowledge and ease of communication, and decision-oriented reasons, such as the purpose of the case study and the ecosystem services at stake, were key considerations in selecting a method. Pragmatic reasons such as available data, resources and expertise were also important factors. This information was used to develop a set of linked decision trees, which aim to provide guidance to researchers and practitioners in choosing ecosystem service assessment methods that are suitable for their context.
Mapping human influence intensity in the Tibetan Plateau for conservation of ecological service functions Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-21 Shicheng Li, Yili Zhang, Zhaofeng Wang, Lanhui Li
Human activities pose severe threats to ecosystems. As the Earth’s third pole, the Tibetan Plateau (TP) provides various ecosystem services for human beings, including water resources for nearly 40% of the world’s population. In this study, four categories of human pressures on the environment were analyzed firstly and then summed cumulatively to map the human influence intensity (HII) in the TP for 1990–2010 at county and 1 km scales. Subsequently, HII characteristics within valuable regions for water retention and biodiversity conservation were analyzed. The results showed that HII of the TP was low overall. The eastern and southeastern TP and the central part of the Tibet Autonomous Region saw high HII. For 1990–2010, the 1 km scale mean HII increased by 28.43%, which is much greater than the global level of 9% for 1993–2009, suggesting that the TP and the ecosystem services it provided may face with more threats. HII increase was mainly observed in the northeastern TP. Rapid increase of human activities within valuable regions for water retention and biodiversity conservation during 1990–2010 were detected, especially for the former. The obtained temporally-consistent HII datasets will be conducive to ecosystem services related decision making.
Innovative legal tools applied in land stewardship for the conservation of ecosystem services in Catalonia Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-18 Aitana De la Varga Pastor, Joan Pons Solé
In this paper we analyse how the conservation of ecosystem services (ES) is integrated in Spanish and Catalan legislation on land stewardship. Analysing their implementation in Catalonia, we demonstrate that the legal land stewardship framework has innovative tools that can be supplemented by payments for ecosystem services (PES) and tax incentives toward comprehensive ES protection. By analysing several experiences in Catalonia currently under development, we verify that implementing all of these instruments and encouraging the involvement of public administrations and civil society as a whole is crucial to conserving ES. Overall, we demonstrate the importance of incorporating into law not only ES but also measures available for protecting them and the alternative instruments used to develop them.
Stakeholders’ perspectives on the operationalisation of the ecosystem service concept: Results from 27 case studies Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-16 Jan Dick, Francis Turkelboom, Helen Woods, Irene Iniesta-Arandia, Eeva Primmer, Sanna-Riikka Saarela, Peter Bezák, Peter Mederly, Michael Leone, Wim Verheyden, Eszter Kelemen, Jennifer Hauck, Chris Andrews, Paula Antunes, Réka Aszalós, Francesc Baró, David N. Barton, Pam Berry, Grazia Zulian
The ecosystem service (ES) concept is becoming mainstream in policy and planning, but operational influence on practice is seldom reported. Here, we report the practitioners’ perspectives on the practical implementation of the ES concept in 27 case studies. A standardised anonymous survey (n = 246), was used, focusing on the science-practice interaction process, perceived impact and expected use of the case study assessments. Operationalisation of the concept was shown to achieve a gradual change in practices: 13% of the case studies reported a change in action (e.g. management or policy change), and a further 40% anticipated that a change would result from the work. To a large extent the impact was attributed to a well conducted science-practice interaction process (>70%). The main reported advantages of the concept included: increased concept awareness and communication; enhanced participation and collaboration; production of comprehensive science-based knowledge; and production of spatially referenced knowledge for input to planning (91% indicated they had acquired new knowledge). The limitations were mostly case-specific and centred on methodology, data, and challenges with result implementation. The survey highlighted the crucial role of communication, participation and collaboration across different stakeholders, to implement the ES concept and enhance the democratisation of nature and landscape planning.
Human-nature nexuses in Brazil: Monitoring production of economic and ecosystem services in historical series Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-16 Biagio F. Giannetti, Luciana Faria, Cecília M.V.B. Almeida, Feni Agostinho, Luca Coscieme, Gengyuan Liu
Human-Nature nexuses are evident when we evaluate the different contributions of economic systems and ecosystems to human well-being. In this paper, the amount of services for well-being and the effectiveness in producing them has been assessed for the national economy and national ecosystem mosaic of Brazil, in historical series (1981–2011). The emergy methodology has been used as a tool able to evaluate different contributions to well-being on the same basis, thus allowing rightful comparisons. Results show that the monetary value of Nature’s contributions to national welfare is higher than contributions from the economy. Furthermore, ecosystems provide services in a more effective and sustainable way, relying on a lower amount of total resources and using exclusively renewable resources. In addition, Nature’s contributions are almost constant throughout the historical series considered, where services from the economy oscillate, representing a less stable source of well-being. This study confirms results already highlighted at the global and national scales by previous studies, adding a time-series perspective to that. These results inspire a re-consideration of the interactions among the biosphere and the technosphere in order to better address trade-offs between different forms of services.
Attached to or bound to a place? The impact of green space availability on residential duration: The environmental justice perspective Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-10-14 Edyta Łaszkiewicz, Jakub Kronenberg, Szymon Marcińczak
Socioeconomic inequalities in residential duration may be a reflection of uneven opportunities to develop place attachment thanks to green space availability. This article evaluates the impact of urban green space availability on residential duration, and shows that this impact varies among socioeconomic groups. We used an econometric model to study relationships between geolocalized residential quality survey data and the objective measure of spatial availability of urban green spaces in Lodz, Poland. The results indicate that the length of residential duration of the wealthier residents is not affected by the availability of nearby green space, while the length of residential duration of the less socioeconomically privileged residents is affected negatively by the availability of nearby green space. The abovementioned findings may be a signal of unequal opportunities to develop a relationship with the residents’ place of living thanks to the availability of green spaces. Interestingly, inequalities related to residential duration, and their linkages with the strength of place attachment are less explored in the literature, compared to uneven access to other environmental benefits. This study supplements the traditional perspective of environmental justice with the context of residential duration and place attachment.
Developing an integrated land use planning system on reclaimed wetlands of the Hungarian Plain using economic valuation of ecosystem services Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-09-30 Zsolt Pinke, Márton Kiss, Gábor L. Lövei
The establishment of a sustainable land use system is crucial in Hungary (SE Europe) where 30% of croplands lie on former floodplains, and 40–45% of arable lands are drought-prone. We calculated and compared the monetary value of the main wetland ecosystem services, the profitability of land use and the additional costs of grain producer system on land at risk from groundwater inundation on the Hungarian Plain. We show that orchards and forestry generate a much higher profitability in former wetlands than cropland farming. Using the replacement cost method, we prove that the reservoir capacity of restored wetlands with an ecologically optimal 0.5 m water depth could replace 2150 €ha−1 flood protection investment cost. The calculated costs of protecting land under the two highest groundwater risk categories between 1999–2005 was 37.2 €ha−1 y−1 and 14.9 €ha−1 y−1, respectively. Although the flood protection benefits of former wetlands may provide an appropriate value base for restoration per se, combined with the potential advantages of land use change from cropland to forest in former wetlands and the carbon sequestration benefit provide ‘win-win’ solutions for land users and institutional actors interested in flood prevention, environmental protection and climate mitigation.
Using image recognition to automate assessment of cultural ecosystem services from social media photographs Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-09-18 Daniel R. Richards, Bige Tunçer
Quantifying and mapping cultural ecosystem services is complex because of their intangibility. Data from social media, such as geo-tagged photographs, have been proposed for mapping cultural use or appreciation of ecosystems. However, manual content analysis and classification of large numbers of photographs is time consuming. This study develops a novel method for automating content analysis of social media photographs for ecosystem services assessment. The approach applies an online machine learning algorithm – Google Cloud Vision – to analyse over 20,000 photographs from Singapore, and uses hierarchical clustering to group these photographs. The accuracy of the classification was assessed by comparison with manual classification. Over 20% of photographs were taken of nature, being of animals or plants. The distribution of nature photographs was concentrated around particular natural attractions, and nature photographs were more likely to occur in parks and areas of high vegetation cover. The approach developed for clustering photographs was accurate and saved approximately 170 h of manual work. The method provides an indicator of cultural ecosystem services that can be applied rapidly over large areas. Automated assessment and mapping of cultural ecosystem services could be used to inform urban planning.
A bird’s eye view over ecosystem services in Natura 2000 sites across Europe Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-09-15 Guy Ziv, Christopher Hassall, Bartosz Bartkowski, Anna F. Cord, Andrea Kaim, Michelle Kalamandeen, Patricia Landaverde-González, Joana L.B. Melo, Ralf Seppelt, Caitriona Shannon, Tomáš Václavík, Brenda Maria Zoderer, Michael Beckmann
Recent ‘New Conservation’ approaches called for more ecosystem services (ES) emphasis in conservation. We analysed data from 3757 Natura 2000 special protection areas (SPAs) and translated positive and negative impacts listed by conservation managers into indicators of the use of nine provisioning, regulating and cultural ES. Overall, the use of ES is considered by SPA managers to affect conservation goals more negatively than positively. ES associated with livestock keeping and fodder production are recorded as having the highest fraction of positive impacts on SPAs, ranging from 88% and 78% in the Boreal biogeographic region to 20% and 6% in the Mediterranean. The use of ES varied according to dominant habitat class, highlighting the dependence of specific ES on associated ecosystem functions. For instance, fibre production was the predominant ES throughout forest habitats while crop, fodder and livestock exhibit similar patterns of dominance across agricultural landscapes. In contrast, the use of wild food and recreation activities are seen as causing mainly negative effects across all habitats. Our analysis suggests that most uses of ES result in negative effects on conservation goals. These outcomes should be considered when implementing future conservation strategies.
Spatially explicit life cycle impact assessment for soil erosion from global crop production Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-09-12 Rosalie van Zelm, Marijn van der Velde, Juraj Balkovic, Mirza Čengić, Pieter M.F. Elshout, Thomas Koellner, Montserrat Núñez, Michael Obersteiner, Erwin Schmid, Mark A.J. Huijbregts
We derived spatially explicit erosion rates in kg of soil lost per kg of crop as a function of crop choice and management practice on a global scale. These so-called characterization factors (CFs) can be used in product life cycle assessment studies to determine the impact of crop cultivation on soil erosion. We used the biophysical crop model EPIC to determine yields and erosion rates for cassava, corn, rapeseed, soybean, sugarcane, sunflower, and wheat under subsistence, rainfed with fertilizer, and high input (irrigation and fertilizer) farming. Yields varied considerably and contributed to variation in CFs to the same extent as erosion rates. Variation in CFs was mainly attributable to geographic location. Crop type and management scenario still lead to variation in CFs of 2 orders of magnitude, and a factor of 6, respectively. Lowest CFs were predicted for sugarcane worldwide, while largest impacts were seen for rapeseed. Largest median CFs were predicted for subsistence farming, while smallest CFs were obtained for high input systems. Median estimated damage in 2014 erosion costs ranged from 0.5 $/t sugarcane to 526 $/t rapeseed. Farmers can minimize erosion by carefully selecting management strategies, while purchasers can carefully select source locations to help reduce erosion related environmental damage.
Institutional challenges in putting ecosystem service knowledge in practice Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-09-11 Heli Saarikoski, Eeva Primmer, Sanna-Riikka Saarela, Paula Antunes, Réka Aszalós, Francesc Baró, Pam Berry, Gemma Garcia Blanko, Erik Goméz-Baggethun, Laurence Carvalho, Jan Dick, Robert Dunford, Mihail Hanzu, Paula A. Harrison, Zita Izakovicova, Miklós Kertész, Leena Kopperoinen, Berit Köhler, Juliette Young
The promise that ecosystem service assessments will contribute to better decision-making is not yet proven. We analyse how knowledge on ecosystem services is actually used to inform land and water management in 22 case studies covering different social-ecological systems in European and Latin American countries. None of the case studies reported instrumental use of knowledge in a sense that ecosystem service knowledge would have served as an impartial arbiter between policy options. Yet, in most cases, there was some evidence of conceptual learning as a result of close interaction between researchers, practitioners and stakeholders. We observed several factors that constrained knowledge uptake, including competing interests and political agendas, scientific disputes, professional norms and competencies, and lack of vertical and horizontal integration. Ecosystem knowledge played a small role particularly in those planning and policy-making situations where it challenged established interests and the current distribution of benefits from ecosystems. The factors that facilitated knowledge use included application of transparent participatory methods, social capital, policy champions and clear synergies between ecosystem services and human well-being. The results are aligned with previous studies which have emphasized the importance of building local capacity, ownership and trust for the long-term success of ecosystem service research.
New EU-scale environmental scenarios until 2050 – Scenario process and initial scenario applications Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-08-24 Joerg A. Priess, Jennifer Hauck, Roy Haines-Young, Rob Alkemade, Maryia Mandryk, Clara Veerkamp, Bela Gyorgyi, Rob Dunford, Pam Berry, Paula Harrison, Jan Dick, Hans Keune, Marcel Kok, Leena Kopperoinen, Tanya Lazarova, Joachim Maes, György Pataki, Elena Preda, Grazia Zulian
Understanding uncertainties and risks can be considered to be the main motivation behind environmental scenario studies to assess potential economic, environmental, social or technical developments and their expected consequences for society and environment. The scenario study presented in this paper was designed to contribute to the question of how natural capital and ecosystem services may evolve in Europe under different socio-environmental conditions. The study was conducted as part of OpenNESS, an on-going EU FP7 research project. We present the iterative participatory scenario process, the storylines and drivers, examples for regional applications, as well as initial feedback from stakeholders. In a participatory iterative approach four scenarios were developed for the period to 2050, involving regional and EU-level users and stakeholders. Subsequently, scenarios were successfully contextualised and applied in regional place-based studies under widely differing socio-environmental conditions. Regional teams used different approaches to adapt storylines and drivers to the regional contexts. In an internal evaluation process among regional stakeholders some participants expressed concerns about the scenario method. Suggestions are made how to overcome these limitations. However, most participants approved the scenario method, especially in terms of provoking discussions, and confirmed the usefulness and applicability of the approach.
How do ecosystem services perform in enforceable law? Potentials and pitfalls within regional and national integration Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-08-12 V. Mauerhofer, I. Laza
Ecosystem services have constituted a highly discussed topic especially since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. This is in particular valid for the literature in environmental sciences and related economic sciences. The topic has gained less attention in other social sciences and up until now legal scholars have hardly taken up the issue for an in-depth analysis. Moreover in the legal practice the term has not played any substantial role apart from its inclusion in soft law documents that lack concrete and effective implementation including enforcement mechanisms. This paper addresses the issue of inclusion of the term ecosystem services in legislative documents with such mechanisms. Starting from a neutral position, it discusses the potentials and pitfalls of such an inclusion in the light of the ongoing contradictory discourse about the concept of ecosystem services. This is done by an in-depth review of existing academic literature as well as by empirical quantitative research on EU-law, and by a case study. This case study concerns the on-going assessment of the inclusion of the term ecosystem services into a binding legal act of regional integration on the example of the Regulation of the European Union (EU) on Invasive Alien species. The analysis also covers primary data derived from questionnaires and interviews completed by a wide range of stakeholders from two member states of the EU. The results provide an overview of opportunities and challenges of the inclusion of the term ecosystem services in this particular context of binding and enforceable regional integration law based also on a practical example. The ongoing implementation of this EU-Regulation can provide a blueprint for similar situations of coordinated legislative procedures between different levels of law-making and its implementation including enforcement. These situations can occur beyond a nation's borders or within. Similar research has not been implemented yet according to the knowledge of the authors. Therefore, the results of this contribution provide innovative insights into an ongoing legislative procedure with binding rules on ecosystem services and useful hinds for similar other prospective attempts worldwide.
Legal framing for achieving ‘good ecological status’ for Malaysian rivers: Are there lessons to be learned from the EU Water Framework Directive? Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-08-07 Rasyikah Md Khalid, Mazlin Bin Mokhtar, Faridah Jalil, Suhaimi Ab Rahman, Christopher Spray
River degradation and loss of ecosystem services due to pollution and deforestation poses a great challenge for a holistic and sustainable river basin management. In Malaysia, about two third of its rivers are categorized as slightly polluted or polluted and this has led to the loss of ecosystem services in many of its river basins, notably in the rapidly developed Langat River Basin. The general historic legal responses to pollution control like water quality standards and gazettal of protected areas seems to rectify the problem as it occurs but is unsustainable. In other parts of the world, there has been a rise in alternative framings of river basin management like the Ecosystem Services Approach (ESA), integrated river basin management (IRBM), catchment based and stakeholder led river management; and these are seen as one way forward for sustainable basin management. The aim of this paper is to explore whether such framings can be implemented in Malaysia based on the current legal and federalism framework. It identifies the major causes and drivers of the polluted and poor state of Langat River and its tributaries and how might an alternative approach improve the situation. Towards this end, a comparative analysis is made with the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and its implementation in the Tweed UNESCO HELP basin. Particularly, it explores the application of the subsidiarity principle that allows decision making to be made by agencies closest to the problem within the basin. It concludes that redefining the role of levels of government in IRBM and stakeholder engagement can speed up the process of reframing the Langat IRBM to reduce river pollution and enhance the ecosystem services of the basin.
The means determine the end – Pursuing integrated valuation in practice Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-08-04 Sander Jacobs, Berta Martín-López, David N. Barton, Robert Dunford, Paula A. Harrison, Eszter Kelemen, Heli Saarikoski, Mette Termansen, Marina García-Llorente, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Leena Kopperoinen, Sandra Luque, Ignacio Palomo, Joerg A. Priess, Graciela M. Rusch, Patrizia Tenerelli, Francis Turkelboom, Rolinde Demeyer, Ron Smith
In environmental valuation, although it is well recognised that the choice of method heavily affects the outcome, little is known on how existing valuation methods actually elicit the different values. Through the assessment of real-life applications of valuation of nature, this study tracks down the suitability of 21 valuation methods for 11 value types and assesses the methodological requirements for their operationalization. We found that different valuation methods have different suitabilities to elicit diverse value-types. Some methods are more specialized than others, but every method has blind spots, which implies risks of biased decision-making. We summarized different value-types according to three value dimensions: non-anthropocentric, relational and instrumental. No single valuation method is able to capture this full spectrum of values of nature. Covering all value dimensions requires careful selection of complementary valuation methods. This study also demonstrates that performing such an integrated valuation does not necessarily entail more resources, as for every value dimension, methods with low to medium operational requirements are available. With this study, we aim to provide guidance for selecting a complementary set of valuation methods in order to develop integrated valuation in practice that includes values of all stakeholders into environmental decision-making.
Comparing costs and supply of supporting and regulating services provided by urban parks at different spatial scales Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-07-21 C.M.V.B. Almeida, M.V. Mariano, F. Agostinho, G.Y. Liu, Z.F. Yang, L. Coscieme, B.F. Giannetti
Researchers all over the world have been involved for some time in valuing and measuring ecosystem services. However, methods to value both costs and supply and to match them on the same scale are still under discussion. This study assesses costs and supply of a subset of supporting and regulating ecosystem service in urban parks and discusses the role and the value of these services under an environmental/economic point of view using emergy synthesis. A total of 73 parks in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, are used as a case study. Results show that green areas in urban parks provide valuable services to the city’s community through transformation processes of natural renewable inputs that would be otherwise wasted. The method can be applied in different locations and contexts to provide useful information to public managers and urban planners.
Managing the risks of ecosystem services markets Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-06-28 Paul V. Martin
Environmental governance is undergoing innovation in the use of market instruments, including payments for environmental services. As it is in nature, in society change (such as commercial or policy innovation) brings the risk of failure or of unanticipated consequences. Good governance requires intelligent precautions against what can go wrong. In investment markets governance safeguards such as competition and market regulation manage the risk that private gains accrue to the ruthless at the cost of the innocent, or that inexperience or incompetence lead to high public and private costs. For environmental markets risk safeguards are under developed. This paper explores the risk dimension of payments for environmental services, and suggests that systematic risk governance could make it more likely that these innovations will serve the public interest.
Understanding the role of conceptual frameworks: Reading the ecosystem service cascade Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-06-16 M. Potschin-Young, R. Haines-Young, C. Görg, U. Heink, K. Jax, C. Schleyer
The aim of this paper is to identify the role of conceptual frameworks in operationalising and mainstreaming the idea of ecosystem services. It builds on some initial discussions from IPBES, which suggested that conceptual frameworks could be used to: ‘simplify thinking’, ‘structure work’, ‘clarify issues’, and ‘provide a common reference point’. The analysis uses the cascade model as a focus and looks at the way it has been used in recent published material and across a set of case studies from the EU-funded OpenNESS Project as a device for conceptual framing. It found that there are examples in the literature that show the cascade model indeed being used as an ‘organising framework’, a tool for ‘re-framing’ perspectives, an ‘analytical template’, and as an ‘application framework’. Although the published materials on the cascade are rich, these accounts lack insights into the process by which the different versions of the model were created, and so we turned to the set of OpenNESS case studies to examine how they read the cascade. We found that the cascade was able to provide a common reference for a diverse set of studies, and that it was sufficiently flexible for it to be developed and elaborated in ways that were meaningful for the different place-based studies. The case studies showed that generalised models like the cascade can have an important ‘awareness-raising’ role. However, we found that using models of this kind it was more difficult for case studies to link their work to broader societal issues such as human well-being, sustainable ecosystem management, governance, and competitiveness, than to their own concerns. We therefore conclude that to be used effectively, conceptual models like the cascade may need to be supported by other materials that help users read it in different, outward looking ways. We also need to find mechanisms for capturing this experience so that it can be shared with others.
The law, ecosystem services and ecosystem functions: An in-depth overview of coverage and interrelation Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-06-16 V. Mauerhofer
Ecosystem services have been particularly since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005 a broadly analysed issue. This discussion has been widely led by scholars from environmental and related economic sciences, while social scientists have paid less attention and legal scholars have hardly entered a deeper controversy about the topic. This paper addresses the following questions 1. in how far law in general already currently covers – perhaps not explicitly - ecosystem services, 2. in how far law goes beyond the pure coverage of these ‘services’ and additionally covers functions of ecosystems which usually are not already considered ‘services’, 3. which consequences arise from this differentiated coverage by law, and 4. which services/functions of ecosystems the law and even governance in the widest sense are not able to cover at all or in particular situations. The whole analysis is implemented by an in-depth review of existing academic literature as well as by means of theoretical and practical cases which support the arguments brought forward. First, it is shown by examples that law covers since millennia the essence of all the main different ecosystem services but not necessarily by using the term ecosystem services. Secondly, several cases describe how law addresses functions of ecosystems which often are not considered (anymore) by humans as ecosystem services, such as river floods, springtides and volcano eruptions. Thirdly, among the consequences found are conflicting interests between more ecocentric related functions and more anthropocentric related services of ecosystems. Law has played in the past a pivotal role in fostering these ecosystem services. With regard to ecosystem functions the role of law has during the past been a less enabling, but rather a restricting one. However, some recent changes of this situation, e.g. in flood protection or wilderness conservation are shown. Fourthly, the paper indicates e.g. natural genetic modifications and fertilizing through volcano eruption as services/functions of ecosystems which the law and even governance in the widest sense is not able to cover at all in the sense of enabling, but only – if at all - can cover in a reactive way. The results of this contribution provide a basic assessment of the relationship between law and the functions as well as the services of ecosystems. In this way, the findings critically reflect potentials and pitfalls to be globally considered when intending to apply law on these features.
Revealed social preference for ecosystem services using the eco-price Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-05-11 Elliott T. Campbell
Ecosystem services have predominately been valued from the perspective of individual preference, where the willingness to pay of an individual is measured either directly or indirectly. However, when one observes where money is spent on increasing ecosystem services, preserving them, compensating for their loss, or replacing lost services it is almost always through collective action of governments, corporations, or non-governmental organizations. This work suggests that revealed social preference is the most appropriate economic perspective for institutions to use in analyzing the value of ecosystem services, particularly when the scale of inference is large, the decisions to be made are multiple, or the final use of the ecosystem service is uncertain. The eco-price collates instances where society has paid for an increase in ecosystem services, to avoid their loss or restore damages, in the form of $ paid per biophysical unit of ecosystem service. Eco-prices are categorized by type of biophysical work done (i.e. water, carbon, nutrients, soil, and biodiversity). Applying the categorical eco-prices to biophysical ecosystem services flows for average forest and freshwater wetland conditions in Maryland yields an estimate of the annual ecosystem service benefit of $5,767 per hectare of forest and $9,693 per hectare of freshwater wetlands.
Examining the coherence of legal frameworks for ecosystem services toward sustainable mineral development in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-04-21 Rene Abcede, Weena Gera
Within the context of growing economic integration in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), recent questions have been raised with regard to how member states employ law as a means of regional integration to promote sustainable development. Taking into account the primacy of ecosystem services for sustainability, this study examines the coherence of legal frameworks for ecosystem services among ASEAN member states toward a unified regional legal agenda for sustainable mineral development. Analyzed along three aspects of the Ecosystem Services Approach, the paper reviews the different mining related legislations and implementing regulations of member states, and examines whether there is convergence in their legal provisions for ecosystem services. The study shows that all member states provide legal mechanisms for ecosystem management in their mining operations. However, the following could be noted: 1) a lack of coherent identification and targeting of ecosystem services despite ‘intermediate’ services being embedded in provisions for ecosystem conservation; 2) a lack of legal provisions for integration of ecosystem services in mining impact assessments, and for ecosystem services valuation, which render environmental impact assessments, compensation structures and royalty regimes inadequate; and 3) a density of legal differentials around how states allocate regulatory authorities for ecosystem management in mining. These represent a prevailing fragmentation among member states’ legal frameworks for ecosystem services, which does not create an enabling condition for legal integration in ASEAN’s regional mineral strategies for sustainable development.
The World Bank’s environmental strategies: Assessing the influence of a biased use of New Institutional Economics on legal issues Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-04-20 Benoît Prévost, Audrey Rivaud
The World Bank considers itself as “a leader in piloting payments for ecosystem services”. This article explores how the World Bank gradually integrated environmental and legal issues within its strategic framework with a particular focus on its economic theoretical influences. In the early 1990s, the New Institutional Economics became the main influence concerning the analysis of institutional arrangements and legal issues. We distinguish between different branches within the NIE. One remained very close to the mainstream or orthodox economics and tended to focus on private property rights as the central legal issue. We demonstrate that this branch fitted with both the market-friendly policies supported by the WB, and with the theoretical and statistical tools used by the WB's economists. It induced a very specific analysis of legal and institutional issues. It also involved a kind of theoretical path dependency, which influenced a market-oriented analysis of ecosystem services and impoverished the institutional and legal debates concerning the WB's environmental strategy. We suggest that the other branch of the NIE, as developed by the Bloomington School, offered another framework to tackle environmental issues regarding the diversity of institutional and legal arrangements. We conclude on the ambiguous use of economic theory for addressing environmental and legal issues.
The role of ecosystem services in USA natural resource liability litigation Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-03-31 Carol Adaire Jones, Lisa DiPinto
This paper examines how the United States has valued harm to public resources in natural resource liability laws and practice, an early legal application of the ecosystem-services conceptual framework. Our primary focus is on valuing harm to the difficult-to-value resources and ecological services that provide indirect or passive human uses, for which revealed preference valuation methods (based on observable behavior) are not applicable. We concentrate on the past 25 years of U.S. experience with the innovative, restoration-based framework established in regulations implementing the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. By reframing the damage claims as the cost of both “primary” restoration (to promote recovery of injured resources) and “compensatory” restoration (to account for interim losses pending recovery), the regulations deflected some of the controversy surrounding valuation methods. The restoration-based compensation framework provides two basic approaches for calculating the scale of compensatory restoration projects. A service-to-service approach, which does not require valuation, applies to projects that provide resources and ecosystem services of the same type, quality, and comparable value as those harmed. A valuation approach, intended for a broader range of applications, relies on survey-based methods. For injuries to ecological services, we found trustees have relied almost exclusively on habitat equivalency analysis (HEA), a service-to-service approach, adapting its use to applications where restoration projects make resource and/or ecosystem services substitutions. We explore how the trustees address the challenge of characterizing the equivalency between injury and restoration resources and ecosystem services through the choice of restoration projects and the choice of the ecosystem service metrics. Widely used in the U.S. and EU, the restoration-based measure of damages and the associated HEA methodology may be useful for other countries.
The Convention on Biological Diversity as a legal framework for safeguarding ecosystem services Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-03-30 Christian Prip
Biodiversity underpins ecosystem services. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has adopted an ecosystem services approach as a framework for biodiversity management at the national level. Protection of ecosystem services requires far more than traditional nature conservation measures like the designation and management of protected areas. The economic sectors that affect biodiversity and ecosystem services must be involved, to address not merely the symptoms but the root causes of the degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Achieving coherence in policies and actions across economic sectors and the changes involved in values, decision-making and practices, requires legal approaches to ensure buy-in and accountability. Ideally, such approaches should be included in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), the key instrument for translating the CBD into national action. A review of 20 revised NBSAPs shows that such measures have been introduced only to a very limited extent with many countries still in the earliest stages of preparing measures to protect ecosystem services. Thus, there is a need for further research and practical guidance regarding legal approaches to ecosystem services.
Adoption of the ecosystem services concept in EU policies Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-03-11 Irene Bouwma, Christian Schleyer, Eeva Primmer, Klara Johanna Winkler, Pam Berry, Juliette Young, Esther Carmen, Jana Špulerová, Peter Bezák, Elena Preda, Angheluta Vadineanu
The concept of ecosystem services has gained a strong political profile during the last 15 years. However, there is no specific EU policy devoted to governing ecosystem services. This article shows that the ecosystem services concept is already embedded in recent EU (environmentally-related) policies, such as the Biodiversity Strategy 2020 and the Invasive Alien Species Regulation. Our review of 12 policies shows that, overall, the coherence between existing policies and the ecosystem services concept is moderate. Policies showing very high coherence are confined to the policy arenas that address natural ecosystems, forestry, or agriculture. Given the sectoral nature of most EU policies and the limited options for revision in the near future, opportunities for improving coherence are most apparent in furthering the integration of the ecosystem services concept in the implementation of existing EU policies at national and regional levels.
Capability of the Polish legal system to introduce the ecosystem services approach into environmental management Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-03-09 Małgorzata Stępniewska, Iwona Zwierzchowska, Andrzej Mizgajski
Following the scientific progress and the European Union activity, Polish strategic papers have started to postulate the implementation of the ecosystem services (ES) approach (National Urban Policy, 2015; Program for biodiversity protection and sustainable use, 2015). The aim of this paper is to show the implementation of the ES concept into the Polish legal system and the challenges related to its implementation. The paper attempts to review the legal acts concerning the protection of ecosystems, their functions and benefits for people. Until now, the term “ecosystem services” has not been presented in Polish legal acts. However, the results of study show that current regulations allow for this approach (although not in a direct way) to be taken into consideration to a significant extent. Perceiving the ecosystems as beneficial for human beings is, in Polish regulations, clearly visible in the spatial management, nature conservation, forestry, and water management. The existing provisions incorporate both the services, which are already captured by the market mechanisms, and non-market services. The character of these regulations is preventive, maintaining, restoring and ES enhancing. We conclude that a further effort should be aimed at: harmonization of existing provisions; introducing the ES notion directly into legal acts; and implementation of ES approach in executive regulations.
Ecosystem service valuation framework applied to a legal case in the Anchicaya region of Colombia Ecosyst. Serv. (IF 4.072) Pub Date : 2017-03-08 David Toledo, Tania Briceño, German Ospina
Lack of explicit value for ecosystem services has resulted in great damage being imposed on the poor when engineering projects of wealthy corporations impose externalities on local communities. Such communities are rarely in a position to extract payment for damages from the well-healed corporations. The case study reported in this manuscript is a classic example of such social injustice. The Anchicaya region in the Colombian Pacific coast is characterized by its rich cultural and biological diversity. The primary inhabitants of this region are Afro-descendant communities who are directly dependent on the surrounding natural environment. On July 21st, 2001 there was an illegal discharge of approximately 500,000 m3 of accumulated sediment from a hydroelectric dam on the Anchicaya River, which gravely affected those inhabiting the region downstream of the dam. In 2002, the communities of the Lower Anchicaya region began a class action suit against the energy company in charge of the dam. After years of deliberations favoring the downstream communities, on April of 2012 the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled in favor of the energy company in charge of the dam, overruling 10 years of deliberations. Through Judgment T-274, the Constitutional Court of Colombia declared that direct valuation studies that had been made in 2002, shortly after the spill, were inadmissible due to lack of objectivity and rigor and ordered that the studies be repeated. In order to value damage that had happened more than 10 years before, we determined that a land cover based ecosystem service valuation would provide the best science-based approach to conduct the valuation. For this we used historical data from geographic information systems, data collected in the affected areas, surveys, and the Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit created by Earth Economics. Several valuation methodologies were used including direct valuation, replacement costs, and benefit transfer. We used the ecosystem service valuation framework to quantify the material and non-material damages recognized under the Colombian legal framework. The total value for the valuation of material damages was of COP $356,688,589,331 (approximately $100 million USD). For the non-material damages, which we classified as cultural ecosystem services, we noted that the loss was high as the victims lost something invaluable and critical for their identity and their well-being. According to the Colombian judicial system, the judge who presides over the case will determine the amount to be paid for these non-material damages. In 2015, the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled in favor of the Anchicaya community and ordered that the communities be indemnified; however a final value has not been decided to date. We provide a broad classification of valuation methodologies of ecosystem services that can, and has been, aptly used within a legal framework. It is also important to note that this study provides a valuation of services for a subsistence economy, with communities operating outside monetary markets, much like many other remote communities rich in supporting and regulating ecosystem services.
Some contents have been Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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