New Challenges for Poverty Reduction
Edited by M. A. Mohamed Salih
Chapter 2: An Ecosystems Services Approach: Income, Inequality and Poverty
Kerry Turner and Brendan Fisher The concept of ecosystems services was developed to strengthen the link between well functioning ecosystems and the flow of economic benefits that they generate on a long term basis (Daily 1997; Turner and Daily 2008; Fisher et al. 2008). Although the term and concept of ecosystems services has received a great deal of attention in contemporary academic literature, an operational decision support system for better ecosystem conservation and environmental change management has been slow to emerge. Any approach adopted should demonstrate the role that healthy ecosystems can play in the sustainable provision of economic development, poverty alleviation and enhanced human well being. The human welfare benefits derived from ecosystem goods and services (for example, recreation and amenity, climate stabilization, water supplies, crop pollination, to name a few) represent both private and public goods. This supply spans a range of temporal and spatial scales and is enabled or hindered by property rights and other institutional arrangements. The resource space can represent common property, be privately owned, publicly owned by a community or nation or be subject to international treaties and agreements. The gainers and losers in any environmental change situation will therefore vary according to the type and scale of the ecosystem service conserved or threatened. They will also depend on the mix of stakeholders involved, the socioeconomic characteristics and the sociocultural context. This complexity ensures that equity, justice and legitimacy concerns will be significant in the political economy of ecosystems conservation (Adger et al. 2001;...
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