Topic 3c Ecosystem Services


Recent publications

The limited capability of the economic models used by the IPCC to take biodiversity and social dynamics into account is described in Spangenberg JH, Polotzek L. 2019. Like blending chalk and cheese – the impact of standard economics in IPCC scenarios. Real-World Economics Review 87: 196-211. Open access here

An informative source is the new "Atlas of Ecosystem Services: Drivers, Risks, and Societal Responses" edited by M Schröter et al. with Springer Int Publ, Cham, Switzerland. WG members contributed to chapter 57: Settele J, Spangenberg JH, Heong KL et al. 2019. Rice Ecosystem Services in South-East Asia: The LEGATO Project, Its Approaches and Main Results with a Focus on Biocontrol Services. pp. 373-382.

Next Conference: Track 3c

Keep up to date with developments of ISDRS 2023 Track 3c here

Half-way through Agenda 2030: Assessing the 5Ps of SDGs (people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership)


Past Conference

Nanjing, China 2019

In the Nanjing session on biodiversity and ecosystem services we were lucky to have plenty of time for discussion –with one speaker failing to turn up and another booked twice into the program we had only three speakers to give presentations.

Meiling Xu et al. illustrated how different environmental factors interact in influencing biological activity, using the case how biodegradation of polystyrene plastic is affected by other chemicals and CO2 levels, with subsequent effects on soil productivity.

Natalia Nesteremko introduced something which was a terra incognita to most listeners, organic agriculture in Russia. Sher showed that although still in its infancy, it has spread from early beginnings in the European part of Russia to the Far East, being adapted to different climates and cultures.

Sebastian Thomas took us on a journey to the world of the Australian aborigines. Their world view of nature and nature-human relationships is holistic and animated, adding additional insights to Western style scientific analysis. Nonetheless the aborigines do not only take care of nature in their native reserves but are actively engaged in fire management, combing traditional knowledge and modern technology. The next – and not yet completed – step is using their insights, and some iconic species, for education and coastal management.

The discussion focussed on the complementarity of knowledge systems, an important but still difficult learning step for modern scientists.

Messina, Italy 2018

  • Ecosystem services (definition, measurement, multi-criteria valuation)

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.

Read more here

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.

Read more here

Knowledge Sources

State of the Art:

The first Global Assessment of the state of biodiversity, Nature's Contributions to People NCP (largely similar to ecosystem services, but with a broader value basis and including disservices) and Good Quality of Life as far as affected by NCP gain or loss has been adopted by the COP in Paris in May; the Summary for Policy Makers is now available  here.

However, we recommend to read the full report, in particular chapter 6 focussing on what can and should be dome, from sustainable cities and sustainable land use to sustainable economies, available at the same URL (unedited version for the time being).

Recommended Resources:

Regional and topical IPBES Reports here.

The globally agreed steps for ending biodiversity loss are enshrined in the Aichi Targets for the decade 2011-2020 (read here) and will be missed. So the work on the next phase, starting 2021, will be crucial for the living planet to be sustained. Hence the importance of the work on Post-2020 policies. The first meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will take place 27 - 30 August 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya: click here.

Important, but not always uncontroversial input is provided by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature IUCN which will hold its next four-annual meeting in Marseille, 11 - 19 JUNE 2020. The registration is opening now, and whoever wants be updated can register for the newsletter.


Routledge & Earthscans' Sustainability Hub

Find useful essays, free books and articles, case studies and more at our partner's website: 

Biodiversity and Conservation


LinkedIn Discussion

Recent discourses on the ISDRS LinkedIn discussion group:

Partner Organisations

The leading academic network in the field of ecosystem services is the Ecosystem Service Partnership ESP. It will hold its 10th anniversary global conference in Hannover, Germany from 21-25 October, 2019, close to the place ESP was started in 2008. For details and registration click here.