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Pamela McElwee

The concept of ecosystem services (ES) has rapidly become the dominant approach to understanding and prioritizing the natural world for conservation and development decisions. Major international assessments like the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

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Valuing and Evaluating Marine Ecosystem Services

Putting the Right Price on Marine Environments?

Julian Clifton, Leanne C. Cullen-Unsworth, and Richard K. F. Unsworth

The flow of ecosystem services from coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests sustains the livelihoods of billions of people worldwide. Faced with the global degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems, policy makers are increasingly focusing on ecosystem service valuation techniques to encourage conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. Here we provide a review and synthesis of the available information on economic valuation techniques as applied to tropical marine habitats. Our study demonstrates the high variability and lack of consistency in outcomes from these studies. We conclude that, if the concept of ecosystem goods and services is to make a positive contribution towards managing the impacts of humans on the environment, then economic valuation approaches must reflect the inherent limitations of economic theory whilst emphasizing the complexity and heterogeneity of the natural environment and human decision making.

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Patrick Point

*Full article is in French

English abstract: The preservation of wetland ecosystem services has become a real issue for public policies. This article considers the question from the point of view of the provisioning and maintenance of a public good. It examines the production conditions and welfare savings involved when the value of ecosystem services is taken into account. The analysis shows that doing so can enable losers to be compensated and a net social surplus to be obtained. The study applies this approach to the estuarine wetland of Gironde, France, by studying the Associations Syndicales de Propriétaires (ASPs), the production units of ecosystem services. The article first describes the emergence of this type of organization, and then it uses a sample of them (20 out of 53), to analyze their investments and maintenance costs. It shows the likely presence of economies of scale and the very interesting results of ASPs in terms of low costs.

Spanish abstract: La conservación de servicios ecosistémicos derivados de las zonas húmedas (humedales), se ha convertido en un tema relevante para las políticas públicas. Este artículo considera esta cuestión desde el punto de vista del abastecimiento y del mantenimiento de un bien colectivo. El autor examina las condiciones de la producción y las ganancias en bienestar implicadas cuando el valor de los servicios ecosistémicos se toma en cuenta. En el texto se muestra que la consideración de estos valores permite compensar las pérdidas y asegurar una ganancia neta. El autor aplica este enfoque a los humedales del estuario de la Gironde, Francia, a traves del estudio de las unidades de producción de servicios ecosistémicos también conocidas como Asociaciones Sindicales de Propietarios (ASP). Este trabajo describe en primer lugar la emergencia de este tipo de organización, y después selecciona una muestra de ellos (20 de 53 ASP), para analizar sus costos de inversiones y mantenimiento. El artículo muestra la probable presencia de economías de escala y el interesante desempeño de las ASP en función de bajos costos.

French abstract: La préservation des services écosystémiques délivrés par les zones humides mobilise les politiques publiques. Nous considérons la question sous l'angle de la fourniture et de la maintenance d'un bien collectif. Nous examinons les conditions de la production et les gains en bien-être associés à la prise en compte de la valeur de ces services d'origine écosystémique. On montre notamment que cette prise en considération conduit à des situations qui permettent de compenser les perdants et d'assurer un gain net. Dans le cas des marais estuariens de la Gironde, nous nous attachons à l'étude des unités de production de ces services que sont les Associations syndicales de propriétaires (ASP). Nous rendons compte de l'émergence de cette forme d'organisation et analysons à partir d'un échantillon de 20 ASP - sur les 53 recensées dans la zone d'étude - les coûts de maintenance et d'investissement. Nous montrons la probable présence d'économies d'échelle et les intéressantes performances en termes de coût des ASP.

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Jozef Keulartz

Over the past decade a shift can be noticed from ecological restoration to ecological design, where ecological design stands for a technocratic approach that courts hubris and mastery rather than humility and self-restraint. Following Eric Higgs, this shift can be seen as a “hyperactive and heedless response“ to global environmental change, especially climate change. The new technocratic approach may be best characterized as enlightened (or prudential) anthropocentrism, where nature is only allowed that degree of agency which is required to deliver the services that are essential for human well-being. It is not only questionable if we have the scientific and technical abilities to purposeful design ecosystems that will serve our needs, but also if the new approach will be sufficient to protect biodiversity in the long run.

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Dan Brockington

than normal and be used to speak different truths to power. McElwee explores the role of measurement and calculation in making ecosystem services (ES) real and how practices of calculation form and travel through networks. Her argument is that the

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Flora Lu

The tropical rainforest houses a wealth of both ecological and cultural diversity, and the species richness, ecosystem services, genetic wealth, and repository of indigenous and local environmental knowledge stored in this endangered region represent a global commons at risk. As articulated by Donald Nonini in the introduction to this forum, ‘the commons’ refers to those assemblages and ensembles of resources that human beings hold in common or in trust on behalf of themselves, other living human beings, and past and future generations of human beings, and that are essential to their biological, cultural, and social reproduction. In the Amazon, many ecological resources lend themselves to being held in a commons because of practical reasons, such as the difficulty of dividing it into smaller pieces (e.g., due to resource unpredictability, mobility, or the loss of ecological functioning if broken into pieces), and/or the costliness of excluding potential users. But social reasons and values foster the communal management of resources as well: various commons exemplify shared identity, provide economic buffering, mitigate subsistence risk, foster cooperation and conflict resolution, and serve as a pillar in the edifice of societies supporting socialization and social reproduction.

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Water scarcity and sustainability in the arid area of North America

Insights gained from a cross-border perspective

Alejandro Yáñez-Arancibia and John W. Day

ecosystem services and human use in northwest México. Its watershed covers about 650,000 square kilometers. The discharge of the Colorado could decrease by 5 to 20 percent by 2050, and much more by the end of the 21st century ( Day et al., 2016a ). This

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Laurent Berger

production, between investors and concrete work processes, between paid work and unpaid ecosystem services. In this way, Tsing and Moore join Philippe Descola ([2005] 2013) in assimilating naturalism to the fundamental ideology of capitalist industrial

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Karen Hébert, Joshua Mullenite, Alka Sabharwal, David Kneas, Irena Leisbet Ceridwen Connon, Peter van Dommelen, Cameron Hu, Brittney Hammons, and Natasha Zaretsky

Michael L. Schoon. 2015. Principles for Building Resilience: Sustaining Ecosystem Services in Social-Ecological Systems . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 311 pp. ISBN 978-1107082656. Principles for Building Resilience stems from several years of

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Victoria C. Ramenzoni and David Yoskowitz

future climate change effects, the inclusion of ecosystem services into policy, and the adoption of socioeconomic metrics of well-being, vulnerability, and adaptive capacity in national assessments (see, e.g., the National Climate Action Plan of 2013 and