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Exploring operational ecosystem service definitions: The case of boreal forests

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  • Saarikoski, Heli
  • Jax, Kurt
  • Harrison, Paula A.
  • Primmer, Eeva
  • Barton, David N.
  • Mononen, Laura
  • Vihervaara, Petteri
  • Furman, Eeva

Abstract

Despite the widespread use of the concept of ecosystem services, there is still much uncertainty over the precise understanding of basic terms such as ‘ecosystem services’, ‘benefits’ and ‘values’. This paper examines alternative ways of defining and classifying ecosystem services by using the specific example of boreal forests in Finland. We find the notion of final ecosystem goods and services (FEGS) operable, and suggest using it in economic valuation and other priority setting contexts, as well as in the selection of indicators. However, in the context of awareness raising it might be more effective to retain the well-established terminology of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Our analysis shows that the cascade model (Potschin and Haines-Young, 2011. Progress in Physical Geography 35(5), 575–594) is helpful in distinguishing between ecosystem structures, processes, services, benefits and values by making the sequence of links visible. Johnston and Russell’s (2011. Ecological Economics 70(12), 2243–2249) operational mechanism for determining FEGSs proves also instrumental in separating intermediate (e.g. carbon sequestration) and final ecosystem services (e.g. reduction of atmospheric carbon). However, we find their definition of importance, which is based on willingness to pay, too narrow. Furthermore, we favour the CICES approach, which defines ecosystem services as the direct contributions that ecosystems – whether natural or semi-natural – make to human well-being.

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  • Saarikoski, Heli & Jax, Kurt & Harrison, Paula A. & Primmer, Eeva & Barton, David N. & Mononen, Laura & Vihervaara, Petteri & Furman, Eeva, 2015. "Exploring operational ecosystem service definitions: The case of boreal forests," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 144-157.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:14:y:2015:i:c:p:144-157
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.03.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Bordt, Michael, 2018. "Discourses in Ecosystem Accounting: A Survey of the Expert Community," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 82-99.
    2. Mustajoki, Jyri & Saarikoski, Heli & Belton, Valerie & Hjerppe, Turo & Marttunen, Mika, 2020. "Utilizing ecosystem service classifications in multi-criteria decision analysis – Experiences of peat extraction case in Finland," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 41(C).
    3. Jax, Kurt & Furman, Eeva & Saarikoski, Heli & Barton, David N. & Delbaere, Ben & Dick, Jan & Duke, Guy & Görg, Christoph & Gómez-Baggethun, Erik & Harrison, Paula A. & Maes, Joachim & Pérez-Soba, M, 2018. "Handling a messy world: Lessons learned when trying to make the ecosystem services concept operational," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 29(PC), pages 415-427.
    4. Kulczyk, Sylwia & Woźniak, Edyta & Derek, Marta, 2018. "Landscape, facilities and visitors: An integrated model of recreational ecosystem services," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 31(PC), pages 491-501.
    5. Lagergren, Fredrik & Jönsson, Anna Maria, 2017. "Ecosystem model analysis of multi-use forestry in a changing climate," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 26(PA), pages 209-224.
    6. Edoardo Croci & Benedetta Lucchitta & Tommaso Penati, 2021. "Valuing Ecosystem Services at the Urban Level: A Critical Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(3), pages 1-16, January.
    7. Potschin-Young, Marion & Czúcz, Balint & Liquete, Camino & Maes, Joachim & Rusch, Graciela M. & Haines-Young, Roy, 2017. "Intermediate ecosystem services: An empty concept?," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 27(PA), pages 124-126.
    8. Agudelo, César Augusto Ruiz & Bustos, Sandra Liliana Hurtado & Moreno, Carmen Alicia Parrado, 2020. "Modeling interactions among multiple ecosystem services. A critical review," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 429(C).
    9. Potschin-Young, M. & Haines-Young, R. & Görg, C. & Heink, U. & Jax, K. & Schleyer, C., 2018. "Understanding the role of conceptual frameworks: Reading the ecosystem service cascade," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 29(PC), pages 428-440.
    10. Primmer, Eeva & Varumo, Liisa & Krause, Torsten & Orsi, Francesco & Geneletti, Davide & Brogaard, Sara & Aukes, Ewert & Ciolli, Marco & Grossmann, Carol & Hernández-Morcillo, Mónica & Kister, Jutta , 2021. "Mapping Europe’s institutional landscape for forest ecosystem service provision, innovations and governance," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 47(C).
    11. Westling, Nils & Stromberg, Per M. & Swain, Ranjula Bali, 2020. "Can upstream ecosystems ensure safe drinking water—Insights from Sweden," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    12. Orsi, Francesco & Ciolli, Marco & Primmer, Eeva & Varumo, Liisa & Geneletti, Davide, 2020. "Mapping hotspots and bundles of forest ecosystem services across the European Union," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C).
    13. Sara Antognelli & Marco Vizzari & Catharina J. E. Schulp, 2018. "Integrating Ecosystem and Urban Services in Policy-Making at the Local Scale: The SOFA Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(4), pages 1-19, March.
    14. Danley, Brian & Widmark, Camilla, 2016. "Evaluating conceptual definitions of ecosystem services and their implications," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 132-138.
    15. Sakineh Ghorbanzadeh & Kaj Björkqvist, 2019. "Different Stakeholder’s Perspectives on Cultural Ecosystem Services: A Case Study of the Anzali Wetland, Iran," European Journal of Social Sciences Education and Research Articles, European Center for Science Education and Research, vol. 6, EJSER Jan.

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