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Transformative agenda, or lost in the translation? A review of top-cited articles in the first four years of Ecosystem Services

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  • van den Belt, Marjan
  • Stevens, Sharon M.

Abstract

“Ecosystem services†(ES) has been described both as a trans-disciplinary bridging concept and as a boundary object for sustainability, indicating ES sutures discourses in ways that are bound to be in tension. Given the international attention that has been accorded to ES, it is subject to considerable pressure from growth-oriented economic thinking and practices. Our concern for a co-opted agenda prompted a qualitative discourse analysis of those articles published during the first four years of Ecosystem Services that have had the most influence on the development of the journal’s discourse, which we operationalized as top-cited articles. We assessed the extent to which these have delivered on the journal’s inaugural, transformative agenda and/or the extent to which this agenda has been lost in translation. Our analysis indicates that the normative goals of strong sustainable development are indeed being served by many (though not all) publications within the journal. There are, however, important research gaps, for example, in the welfare of future generations and ecological thresholds. There is also evidence of a positive trend toward in-context research and outcomes assessment that warrants further development.

Suggested Citation

  • van den Belt, Marjan & Stevens, Sharon M., 2016. "Transformative agenda, or lost in the translation? A review of top-cited articles in the first four years of Ecosystem Services," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 22(PA), pages 60-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:22:y:2016:i:pa:p:60-72
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.09.006
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