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Europe’s ecosystem research network

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Paper on stakeholder perceptives of the ecosystem services concept published

A recent paper from members of the PEER network, looking at the benefits and limitations of the ecosystem services concept in environmental policy and decision making has been published.

The paper was published recently in the journal Environmental Science & Policy. It is based on work within the PEER network's PRESS project (PEER Research on EcoSystem Services). Five of PEER's member organisations are also ALTER-Net partners. The details of the paper are:

Hauck, Jennifer; Gorg, Christoph;  Varjopuro, Riku;  Ratamäki Outi and Jax Kurt (2013). Benefits and limitations of the ecosystem services concept in environmental policy and decision making: Some stakeholder perspectives. Environmental Science & Policy 25, 13-21.

Abstract

The concept of ecosystem services (ES) is increasingly being used in environmental policy and decision making. We report here on the empirical results which emerged from stakeholder discussions within the PRESS (PEER Research on EcoSystem Services) project on certain unresolved challenges related to the use of the ES concept in decision making. The results show that the occurrence of synergies and trade-offs between different ES and their relevance for decision making depends significantly on the scale involved (in particular regarding the levels of policy formulation and policy implementation respectively) and on the specific ways in which ecosystems are managed (e.g. different practices in forestry and agriculture). We conclude that using the concept of ecosystem services, would enable a comprehensive evaluation of policy impacts. Such an evaluation would contribute to an increased congruence between policies by uncovering and discussing trade-offs and realize synergies. Crucial to this, however, is a sound assessment that incorporates the diversity of stakeholder perceptions, knowledge and preferences at the different scales.

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