Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 451256
Title Ecosystem Services as a Contested Concept: A Synthesis of Critique and Counter-arguments
Author(s) Schröter, M.; Zanden, E.H. van der; Oudenhoven, A.P.E. van; Remme, R.P.; Serna-Chavez, H.M.; Groot, R.S. de; Opdam, P.
Source Conservation Letters 7 (2014)6. - ISSN 1755-263X - p. 514 - 523.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12091
Department(s) Environmental Systems Analysis Group
Alterra - Nature and society
Land Use Planning
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) sustainability research - saving nature - biodiversity - conservation - science - policy - benefits - classification - agriculture - valuation
Abstract We describe and reflect on seven recurring critiques of the concept of ecosystem services and respective counter-arguments. First, the concept is criticized for being anthropocentric while others argue that it goes beyond instrumental values. Second, some argue that the concept promotes an exploitative human-nature relationship, while others state that it re-connects society to ecosystems, emphasizing humanity's dependence on nature. Third, concerns exist that the concept may conflict with biodiversity conservation objectives while others emphasize complementarity. Fourth, the concept is questioned because of its supposed focus on economic valuation, while others argue that ecosystem services science includes many values. Fifth, the concept is criticized for promoting commodification of nature, while others point out that most ecosystem services are not connected to market-based instruments. Sixth, vagueness of definitions and classifications are stated to be a weakness, while others argue that vagueness enhances transdisciplinary collaboration. Seventh, some criticize the normative nature of the concept implying that all outcomes of ecosystem processes are desirable. The normative nature is indeed typical for the concept, but should not be problematic when acknowledged. By disentangling and contrasting different arguments we hope to contribute to a more structured debate between opponents and proponents of the ecosystem services concept.
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