Ecosystem services - the Climbeco critique


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The discussion starter for the 2012 Climbeco summer meeting, Ängelholm, Sweden.

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  • The ecosbdv box isn’t fixed…
  • De Groot,Fisher and TurnerWhat, why, how?
  • Ecosystem services - the Climbeco critique

    1. 1. Ecosystem servicesThe 2012 Climbeco critiques Sarah Cornell Stockholm Resilience Centre
    2. 2. “There are increasing opportunities for the gritty but urgently-needed discussions about thepurpose, scope, tacit assumptions, shortcomings and future challenges of the ecosystem services concept. If you see one, do join in!”
    3. 3. “There are increasing opportunities for the gritty but urgently-needed discussions about thepurpose, scope, tacit assumptions, shortcomings and future challenges of the ecosystem services concept. If you see one, do join in!” I base my view that these discussions are needed on my own transdisciplinary research trajectory
    4. 4. The concept• Transdisciplinary (ecology + economics + ???)• Evolving theoretical basis
    5. 5. See my Procedia 2011 discussion Ecosystem Services: The timeline of concept uptake First proposed analysisof the economic value of „nature‟s services‟ Westman 19771980s Attention to the unsubstitutability of living resources, unlike other Ehrlich & Mooney 1983 economic resources „Natural capital‟ – a focus on „global account‟ valuations, quantification Costanza& Daly 1992 Ehrlich & Ehrlich 1992 Policy shift – „integrating ecology‟ into natural resource management Brown& Macleod 1996 Environmental economics – marginal valuations for inclusion in cost- Pearce et al. 1996 benefit analysis Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA): global picture of MA 2005 environmental degradation, biodiversity loss – risks of serious impacts to society (but not framed in economic terms) Potsdam initiative of G8+5 nations initiates major study, „The G8 Summit 2007 Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’ and commits partners Sukhdev et al. 2008 to create financial mechanisms for „ecosystem services‟ markets. ten Brink et al.2009.Now Economics – specifically, monetary valuation – has a pivotal geopolitical role in ecosystem conservation.
    6. 6. Note the differences – one is framed in terms of the environment, the other is human-centred. This tension (or split) is evident in much of the ecosystem services discourse.Definition(s)“the conditions and processes through whichnatural ecosystems, and the species that makethem up, sustain and fulfill human life” Daily, 1997 “the benefits to humans that well- functioning ecosystems provide” MA 2005
    7. 7. Ecosystem: A unit consisting of a community of organisms and their environment „Stable‟ unit with dynamic relationships within community and with surrounding environment plants animals microorganisms
    8. 8. Physical controls Ecosystem Structure analysis Processes Ecosystem functions Coastal habitat example from Thom et al. 2005
    9. 9. Making the leap – Functions  Service Provision de Groot et al.‟s (2002) typology of ecosystem functions:• 4 functions (categories used in MA 2005) • provisioning, regulating, supporting, cultural• 23 sub-functions• 37 goods and services derived The Adam & Eve paradigm: “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…”
    10. 10. Ecosystem Function Ecosystem Process and Goods and Services ComponentsRegulation functions Maintenance of essential ecological processes and life support processes Gas regulation Biogeochemical cycling UVb protection by ozone Climate regulation Influence of land-cover Maintenance of a favourable vegetation type climate Water supply Filtering, retention, and storage Provision of water for of water consumptionHabitat (supporting) Providing habitat for plant andfunctions animal species Niche availability Maintenance of biological and Refugium function genetic diversity (and hence most other functions)Production functions Provision of food and fibre Raw materials Conversion of solar energy into Fuel, structural materials edible plants and animalsInformation functions Providing opportunities for cognitive development Use of nature as motive in Cultural and artistic information books, film, and painting
    11. 11. de Groot et al. proposed this in 2002To discuss:• What is the basis of inclusion or definition of these different categories?• What are the implications of showing the correspondence of services to functions in this way?• How do these categories relate to ecology? And to economics?
    12. 12. By 2005, a major internationalsynthesis effort had produced this… First thing: note the power of an impressively complex and symmetrical image… Secondly, note the gaps and loose articulation. Third, note the strong, narrow and arguably culturally biased overarching expression of well-being. Do you agree with it? Who proposed it? Where was the debate?
    13. 13. institutions and human judgments determining management/restoration (use of) servicesEcosystems and Biodiversity feedback between value perception andBiophysical use of ecosystem Structure servicesor Process Human wellbeing (socio-cultural context) Function Service Benefit(s) (Economic)The concept is being refined – Value see the TEEB pathway (de Groot et al., 2010)
    14. 14. What is new in TEEB?“An important difference we adopt here, as compared to theMA, is the omission of Supporting Services such as nutrientcycling and food-chain dynamics, which are seen in TEEB as asubset of ecological processes.Instead, the Habitat Service has been identified as aseparate category to highlight the importance of ecosystems toprovide habitat for migratory species (eg, as nurseries) andgene-pool “protectors” (eg, natural habitats allowing naturalselection processes to maintain the vitality of the gene pool).The availability of these services is directly dependent on thestate of the habitat (habitat requirements) providing theservice.” (de Groot et al., 2010)
    15. 15. ECOSYSTEM SOCIAL SYSTEM social-ecological systemA. TEEB interlinkages and interactions Structure Function Services Benefits Process Values Production Provisioning eg: Habitat Regulation Regulating food, raw materials, Information Cultural flood prevention, underpinned by recreation Habitat servicesB. „Oxfam Doughnut‟ Social foundation: Environmental ‘ceiling’: meeting human needs recognising and respecting and avoiding critical Earth system boundaries human deprivationsC. DPSIR Pressure Driving force State of environment Impact Response
    16. 16. The content
    17. 17. What iseconomics?Economics is the study of how individuals and groups make decisions with limited resources so as to best satisfy their wants, needs, and desires (Mike Moffatt, U Western Ontario) Values, preferences (and attitudes) Production, distribution, consumption of goods and services Equity, efficiency, effectiveness (and legitimacy)
    18. 18. Key role of assumptions: Equilibrium Perfect knowledge, rationality Fixed preferences Ceteris paribus Opportunity cost How do these relate to properties of ecosystems?Sen, AK, Last AGM and Quirk R (1986) Prediction and Economic Theory [and Discussion]Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 407 3-23
    19. 19. Why is there so much unsustainability? Externalities matter – Costs (or benefits) that are external to the market eg,the price of fertilizer does not include the cost of water remediation A consequence of the fact that nobody owns the natural environment can be that it is valued at zero… (Pearce, Markandya and Barbier) … but environmental costs can be very significant
    20. 20. Why is there so much unsustainability? Market failure The economics of pollution – pollution can be understood as an externality problem and a market failure.  Identification of the ‘optimal level’ of pollution for marketable permits • The Coase theorem on trading externalities (transaction costs, property rights) – will it work in practice? •Pigouvian taxation – taxing ‘bads’The ‘tragedy of the commons’ – Nobody or everybodyowns the natural environmentExploiting these resources gives immediate benefit to anindividual exploiterThe damage to the environment is shared among all ofhumanity Hardin, Science (1968)Thus it makes sense for the individual to exploit more…
    21. 21. What are values? (Raffaelli et al. 2009)
    22. 22. What are values? attitudes beliefs feelings preferences (Raffaelli et al. 2009)
    23. 23. How do we measure values? The tools of environmental economics: • “Willingness to pay” • “Willingness to accept compensation” Stated preferences • Contingent valuation • Shadow pricing Revealed preferences • Travel costs • Hedonic pricing Surveys of individual preferences, aggregated in various ways to societal level Benefit transfer – adapting an estimate of benefits from some other context
    24. 24. See Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1992, Turner 1992 Ecocentric value? Where economics works . . . . . . . . Non-market economic value Market value
    25. 25. To discuss: • How ‘good’ is the integration of ecology and economics? • How might we recognise good assessments of ecosystem services? Weick (1999): epistemological commitments encourage „monologues that overwhelm rather than dialogues that reconcile‟Crabbypotamuschimaera © DavidOwens, via
    26. 26. The context
    27. 27. What might affect the value of Ecosystem Services?Scarcity, Substitutability… and Society itself Science is currently showing us that rather than making marginalexchanges from a very big quantity of natural capital, we are taking quite large chunks from a depleting supply.
    28. 28. Land surfaceImage from Nova
    29. 29. River water Vorosmarty and Sahagian (2000) Bioscience 50 753-765
    30. 30. Coastal change LOICZ 2002Aerosol loadings Heintzenberg et al., 2003
    31. 31. Temperature change (big dots = 1°C change) IPCC 2007 AR4: Scientific Basis
    32. 32. The global policy context embeds economic valuation CBD – the Ecosystem Approach, and moves towards PES The G8+5 nations agreed to the Potsdam Initiative
    33. 33. But does economics work for these situations?Farley J (2008) Valuing Natural Capital: The Limits of Complex Valuation in Complex Systems.
    34. 34. Who decides the values, and how?Multicriteria analysis – Participatory deliberative processes more than money
    35. 35. “Scientific education involves not simply the apprehension of certainfacts, but also the development of particular intellectual skills andvirtues, and capacities of perception.The trained ecologist… is able to see hear and even smell in a waythat a person who lacks such training cannot. …At this level,there is a relationship between a scientific training and ethicalvalues. A scientific training can issue not only in the traditionalintellectual excellencies – in the capacity to distinguish good frombad arguments and so on – but also in the capacity to perceive andfeel wonder at the natural world.For that reason, the ecologist may be able to make not merely goodjudgments about the make-up of different ecosystems, but alsogood judgments about their value.” O‟Neill, J. (1993) Ecology, policy and politics: Human well- being and the natural world. Routledge. p160
    36. 36. Spash and Vatn 2006 – values are complex things: “values are found which represent social and moral commitments of a non-consequentialist and non-utilitarian kind, and the context within which values arise is highly relevant to their expression” Banzhaf 2010 – decision-makers do not use the evidence…
    37. 37. Securing our Future - UK SD Strategy 2005
    38. 38. That’s it for now. Questions?
    39. 39. What are your thoughts about ecosystem services?Does ecosystem services have to be about money? Does it matter if we define the value of our ecosystems in money terms? What alternatives are there?