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Ecosystem services and ethics

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Author Info

  • Jax, Kurt
  • Barton, David N.
  • Chan, Kai M.A.
  • de Groot, Rudolf
  • Doyle, Ulrike
  • Eser, Uta
  • Görg, Christoph
  • Gómez-Baggethun, Erik
  • Griewald, Yuliana
  • Haber, Wolfgang
  • Haines-Young, Roy
  • Heink, Ulrich
  • Jahn, Thomas
  • Joosten, Hans
  • Kerschbaumer, Lilin
  • Korn, Horst
  • Luck, Gary W.
  • Matzdorf, Bettina
  • Muraca, Barbara
  • Neßhöver, Carsten
  • Norton, Bryan
  • Ott, Konrad
  • Potschin, Marion
  • Rauschmayer, Felix
  • von Haaren, Christina
  • Wichmann, Sabine
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    A major strength of the ecosystem services (ESS) concept is that it allows a succinct description of how human well-being depends on nature, showing that the neglect of such dependencies has negative consequences on human well-being and the economy. As ESS refer to human needs and interests, values are to be considered when dealing with the concept in practice. As a result we argue that in using the concept there is a need to be clear about what different dimensions of value are involved, and be aware of ethical issues that might be associated with the concept. A systematic analysis of the ethical implications associated to the ESS concept is still lacking. We address this deficiency by scrutinising value dimensions associated with the concept, and use this to explore the associated ethical implications. We then highlight how improved transparency in the use of the ESS concept can contribute to using its strengths without succumbing to possible drawbacks arising from ethical problems. These problems concern the dangers that some uses of the concept have in obscuring certain types of value, and in masking unevenness in the distribution of costs and benefits that can arise in the management of ESS.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 93 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 260-268

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:93:y:2013:i:c:p:260-268

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Ecosystem services; Ethics; Values; Nature conservation; Biodiversity; Environmental policies;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Gómez-Baggethun, Erik & de Groot, Rudolf & Lomas, Pedro L. & Montes, Carlos, 2010. "The history of ecosystem services in economic theory and practice: From early notions to markets and payment schemes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1209-1218, April.
    2. Boyd, James & Banzhaf, Spencer, 2007. "What are ecosystem services? The need for standardized environmental accounting units," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 616-626, August.
    3. Bentham, Jeremy, 1781. "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number bentham1781.
    4. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
    5. Barbara Muraca, 2011. "The Map of Moral Significance: A New Axiological Matrix for Environmental Ethics," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 20(3), pages 375-396, August.
    6. Chan, Kai M.A. & Satterfield, Terre & Goldstein, Joshua, 2012. "Rethinking ecosystem services to better address and navigate cultural values," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 8-18.
    7. Hein, Lars & van Koppen, Kris & de Groot, Rudolf S. & van Ierland, Ekko C., 2006. "Spatial scales, stakeholders and the valuation of ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 209-228, May.
    8. Martinez-Alier, Joan & Munda, Giuseppe & O'Neill, John, 1998. "Weak comparability of values as a foundation for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 277-286, September.
    9. Kosoy, Nicolás & Corbera, Esteve, 2010. "Payments for ecosystem services as commodity fetishism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1228-1236, April.
    10. Spash, Clive L., 2000. "Ecosystems, contingent valuation and ethics: the case of wetland re-creation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 195-215, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Davidson, Marc D., 2013. "On the relation between ecosystem services, intrinsic value, existence value and economic valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 171-177.

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