Edited by Joan Martínez-Alier and Roldan Muradian
Chapter 10: The contributions of the ecosystem services paradigm to sustainability science, policy and practice
The current state of knowledge about the contribution of ecosystem processes and biodiversity to human welfare, and how human actions impact welfare through environmental change, has improved considerably with the introduction of the ecosystem services paradigm in the 1980s by Ehrlich and others (for example, Ehrlich and Mooney, 1983), and several important publications in the 1990s (for example, Costanza et al., 1997; Daily, 1997). The release of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005) and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB, 2010) helped foster use of the concept of ecosystem services by policy-makers and the business community. Progress in its practical application in land use planning and decision-making has, however, been slow (for example, Daily et al., 2009; Naidoo et al., 2008), and even the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) responded in a very low-key manner until the Conference of Parties (COP) in Nagoya, in 2010, where governments renewed their pledge to take effective action to halt the loss of biodiversity. This pledge aims to ensure that by 2020 ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services such as clean drinking water, crop pollination and recreational amenity. The COP 10 was considered highly successful because it resulted in a package deal including a new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, a Resource Mobilization Strategy, and a Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. Subsequently, the UN has declared the years spanning 2011–20 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity.
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