Topic 3c Ecosystem Services


Next Conference: Track 3c

Please look for more information on the track at the 2019 Nanjing Conference coming soon


Past Conference

Messina, Italy 2018

  • Ecosystem services (definition, measurement, multi-criteria valuation)
  • Joachim Spangenberg
  • Benedetto Rugani

The session investigated some conceptual challenges related to the field of ecosystem services (ESS) and how society and individuals can put their valuation into practice.

Three presentations were carried out. The first presentation focused on the dynamics of the value change in the industrialization process, with the goal to harmonize the objectives of an ESS valuation with those of specific actors involved in their management and exploitation.

The second presentation focused on the different definitions actors from various disciplines can have about ESS and their valuation approach. Value differences clearly on discipline-dependent entry points and the type of actors, which take place along the so-called ESS cascade.

The third and last presentation was about “offsets” and the difficulties to realize the no net loss principle when ESS are considered in the reconfiguration of the land use. A main conclusion was that the different values involved are not commensurable and it is quite challenging to separate the no net loss principle from the necessary presence of tradeoffs (e.g. if one take both social and ecological accounts, not always both benefit but one sphere is suffering).

A number of key-messages can thus be retrieved from this session:

  1. 1. Different stakeholders have different value systems regarding ecosystem services, and this value diversity must be taken into account in decision-making;
  2. 2. In a situation where no common denominator exists, it is not possible to find an optimal solution, and therefore one have to look for the legitimate compromise;
  3. 3. There is a need for clear and transparent articulation and evaluation of definitions and values regarding nature, ecosystems and their services, e.g. if we want to achieve a common understanding of how to use the cascade model among different actors and discipline, we need to agree on a common taxonomy.


Bogotá 2017 Conference track: 2a Biodiversity, ecosystem and ecosystem service challenges

Selected key results
• Ecosystem services (ESS) are a bridge concept linking natural, social and cultural sciences with decision makers from different walks of life.

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Knowledge Sources

State of the Art:

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Recommended Resources:

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The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative provides a overview of current knowledge and useful training modules.

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Dr. Joachim Spangenberg 

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