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Is managing ecosystem services necessary and sufficient to ensure sustainable development?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Sustainable Development
EditorsMichael Redclift, Delyse Springett
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Pages179-195
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780203785300
ISBN (Print)9781135040727, 9780415838429
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2015

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Abstract

Ecosystem services flow from stocks of natural capital and provide benefits to humanity, for example, the carbon sequestration of forests that regulates global atmospheric composition and thus climate; the clean, fresh water flowing from natural landscapes and provided to dams and irrigation projects downstream and the flood storage capacity of wetlands that regulates floodwaters upstream of flood-prone urban areas. These services and the natural capital stocks from which they are derived are critical to the life-support functions of the Earth and contribute to human welfare in direct and indirect ways (Costanza et al. 1997). Ecosystem services are variously classified (see Fisher et al. 2009) including by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (2005) into provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural services. Provisioning services include the provision of food, timber, textiles and water, regulating services provide regulation against hazards (such as floods and droughts). Cultural services are the non-material aesthetic, recreational, spiritual and health benefits provided by nature. Supporting services support the aforementioned through, for example, maintenance of soil fertility. Ecosystem services are considered to be fundamentally dependent upon biodiversity (Hooper et al. 2005; Balvanera et al. 2006; Tilman et al. 2006). The term ecosystem services is used for both goods (provisioning services) and services (regulating, cultural and supporting services).

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