Ecosystem services in agriculture: Determining suitability for provision by collective management
Agricultural ecosystems provide many ecosystem services (ES) which are essential to human health and well-being. In turn, some ES affect agricultural productivity. Managing agricultural lands to provide more ES and higher quality ES may be essential for the long-term sustainability of agricultural ecosystems. Most agricultural lands, however, are managed for the short-term production of food, fiber, and fuel, often at the expense of other ES. Proposed solutions to the underprovision of ES often involve government regulation or market incentives. A growing number of scholars, however, recognize the potential for a third approach—cooperative solutions. One important element in determining if an ES is a suitable candidate for cooperative solutions is its resource characteristics. Accordingly, this paper: 1.) provides a framework for determining an ES's suitability for collective management based on its resource characteristics, 2.) provides an in-depth analysis of three agricultural-based ES to show how the framework differentiates between ES and 3.) uses the framework to analyze fourteen agricultural-based ES for their suitability for collective management. Ten out of the fourteen ES analyzed may be well suited (e.g. pollination), suited (e.g. flood control), or moderately suited (e.g. nature recreation) for collective management under current incentive systems in agricultural ecosystems.
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