Edited by Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, Pushpam Kumar and Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Chapter 13: Ecosystem service valuation and the allocation of land
Readers of this volume will probably not need to be informed of current interest in 'ecosystem services'. Natural ecosystems provide services such as pollination, flood protection and water purification. Conservationists hope that such systems will prove to be of greater value providing these services than if converted to other uses. Peter Kareiva and Susan Ruffo (2009, p. 3) write that: 'The idea of "ecosystem services" . . . gives us a framework to measure nature's contribution to human well-being, and to understand the cost of its loss . . . This is why, now more than ever, we need to embrace ecosystem services as a basis for conservation' (see also Tallis and Kareiva, 2005; Turner et al., 2007; Daily and Matson, 2008; Turner and Daily, 2008). Arguments for conservation grounded in ecosystem services are problematic on several levels, however. First, some of the services provided by natural ecosystems are global public goods, such as carbon sequestration and the protection of biodiversity. It is certainly desirable to maintain such services, but the conservation community has been trying for decades to motivate international transfers to conserve natural ecosystems (see, for example, Pearce and Moran, 1994). It is not clear that an appeal to the value of ecosystem services for providing global public goods is adding much of anything new - and such appeals have often fallen on deaf ears in the past (Pearce, 2007).
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