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Governing for ecosystem health and human wellbeing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Fiona Nunan, Mary Menton, Constance McDermott, Kate Schreckenberg

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEcosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation
Subtitle of host publicationTrade-Offs and Governance
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780429016295
ISBN (Print)9781138580831
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2018


King's Authors


Governance arrangements and processes influence access to and benefits from ecosystem services, and therefore the potential for ecosystem services to alleviate poverty. Governance also then influences the health of ecosystems. This chapter learns from decades of governance-related research to identify how to make ecosystem governance more effectively ‘pro-poor’. It is informed by a systematic mapping of literature related to governance of ecosystem services and renewable natural resources for improved wellbeing and poverty alleviation, expert interviews and a workshop with government and non-government actors across a range of sectors from both North and South. The chapter is organised around the concept of trade-offs, considering first ecosystem-focused approaches, then rights-based approaches and lastly, participatory approaches to governance. The chapter further addresses the relevance of scale and multiple administrative levels (multi-level governance) and the importance of informal, or socially embedded, institutions. The chapter concludes that there is no single governance approach that can definitively deliver on improved ecosystem health and human wellbeing, that trade-offs are inevitable and governance is therefore an inherently political process.

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