Provision of ecosystem services is determined by human agency, not ecosystem functions. Four case studies

Tác giả: Joachim H. Spangenberg, Christoph Görg, Dao Thanh Truong, Vera Tekken, Jesus Victor Bustamante& Josef Settele

International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2014

Abstract: Ecosystem services (ESS) are frequently described as nature’s free gift to humankind. However, the first step of ESS and benefit generation is recognising the usability of structures, processes and outputs of ecosystems. This use-value attribution transforms the ecosystem functions (ESF) into ecosystem service potentials (ESP). By investing physical resources, energy and labour, and frequently money as a means to provide them, agents mobilise (part of) the potentials. Cultural, economic and legal constraints limit the mobilisation. The resulting ESS are appropriated to be directly consumed, exploited to provide other goods and services, or marketed, resulting in monetary income. Changing use-value attribution leads to change service potentials, to different mobilisation and appropriation patterns, and different benefits. Human agency, not ESF determine the services provided. This is illustrated by comparing traditional and current services generated from the same ecosystem in four countries undergoing socio-economic transitions: Kenya, Mongolia, the Philippines and Vietnam. All four cases show that changing habits, preferences and modes of regulation lead to specific services provided. Institutions such as tradition, belief systems, markets or state planning are the key to understand which ESS are generated from any ESF. Value attribution, mobilisation and appropriation are key processes.

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