A Developing Country Perspective
Edited by Pushpam Kumar and Ibrahim Thiaw
Chapter 3: Valuing ecosystem services: benefits, values, space and time
A growing body of evidence suggests that we will continue to face a number of pressing and interrelated problems such as large-scale conversion of ecosystems and the subsequent loss of biodiversity (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005), increasing poverty and water scarcity (Rosegrant et al. 2003), potentially dangerous alteration in the climate system (Schneider 2001; Mastrandrea and Schneider 2004) and global fisheries collapse (Myers and Worm 2003). These problems are occurring on an unprecedented scale and are inherently connected to growing societal demands. The mitigation of these problems requires a deeper comprehension of the environmental infrastructure upon which human existence and welfare depends (Schröter et al. 2005; Sachs and Reid 2006).The concepts of ecosystem services and ‘natural capital’ have recently been developed to make explicit this connection between human welfare and ecological sustainability for policy, development and conservation initiatives (Daily 1997; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005). Recent efforts have shown that incorporating ecosystem services into land-use decisions typically favours conservation activities or sustainable management over the conversion of intact ecosystems (Balmford et al. 2002; Turner et al. 2003).
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