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Review of decision support tools to operationalize the ecosystem services concept

Grêt-Regamey, Adrienne, Elina Sirén, Sibyl Hanna Brunner and Bettina Weibel

Ecosystem Services, 2017, vol. 26, issue PB, 306-315

Abstract: The ecosystem services concept provides a valuable framework for analyzing and acting on the linkages between people and their environment. By making the values of nature explicit, it allows discussions about trade-offs between services and thus a prioritization of management options. The integration of the ecosystem services concept into decision making remains however challenging. Based on a thorough literature review of 68 tools for integrating ecosystem services into decision making, we analyze the current state, gaps and trends in the operationalization of the ecosystem services concept. We evaluate how well various policy sectors are covered with the tools and highlight gaps where more development is needed. While for some policy sectors such as agriculture or forestry several tools have been developed to support the integration of nature's benefits into concrete decisions, tools are missing where the link between policies and ecosystem services is less evident for example regarding cultural services related to land use policies as well as services supported by soils. Furthermore, the successful implementation of tools requires a good understanding of decision-making processes to bridge gaps in the science-policy interface. Based on the analysis of the application of tools in case studies, we evaluate the establishment of tools over time in different policy sectors and the frequency of their application.

Keywords: Decision making; Environmental policy; Land management; Trade-off analysis; Sustainability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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