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Temporal Dynamics of Ecosystem Services

Anna-Lena Rau, Henrik von Wehrden and David J. Abson

Ecological Economics, 2018, vol. 151, issue C, 122-130

Abstract: The ecosystem services concept evolved over the last 30 years from a general heuristic model highlighting importance of nature for human well-being to a framework for studying how the appropriation of specific ecological structures or processes influences that well-being. As the ecosystem service concept increasingly becomes an operational tool there is a need to account for the complexity of the relations between production and appropriation of ecosystem services. To date there has been a considerable focus on the spatial patterns of ecosystem services provision and appropriation. We propose a new way of categorizing them according to their temporal dynamics. We differentiate between linear and non-linear dynamics in both the provision and appropriation of ecosystem services. Based on our classification we suggest how temporal dynamics can be better integrated into ecosystem services research in four steps. These include setting the appropriate temporal boundaries of the system, identifying key types of dynamics of the ecosystem, assessing the spatial scale on which the dynamics play out in the system and developing measures for assessing these dynamics. Considering temporal dynamics of ecosystem services by following these steps has the potential to enable better planning of ecosystem services management and therefore, to enhance human well-being.

Keywords: Linear; Periodic; Event; Food production; Carbon sequestration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:151:y:2018:i:c:p:122-130