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Exploring the Gap between Ecosystem Service Research and Management in Development Planning

  • Nadia Sitas

    ()

    (Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
    Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, PO Box 320, Stellenbosch 3599, South Africa
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Heidi E. Prozesky

    ()

    (Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
    Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Karen J. Esler

    ()

    (Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
    Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

  • Belinda Reyers

    ()

    (Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
    Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, PO Box 320, Stellenbosch 3599, South Africa
    These authors contributed equally to this work.)

Registered author(s):

    The gap between science and practice has been highlighted in a number of scientific disciplines, including the newly developing domain of ecosystem service science, posing a challenge for the sustainable management of ecosystem services for human wellbeing. While methods to explore science-practice gaps are developing, testing and revisions of these methods are still needed so as to identify opportunities for mainstreaming ecosystem service science into development policies and practice. We designed and tested an approach to explore the presence and nature of a research-management gap in order to identify ways to close the gap, using a South African case study. Our combining of traditional review processes with stakeholder interviews highlighted that ecosystem services are not explicitly referred to by the majority of ecosystem management-related documents, processes or individuals. Nevertheless, at the local level, our approach unearthed strategic opportunities for bridging the gap in the tourism, disaster management and conservation sectors. We also highlighted the current trend towards transdisciplinary learning networks seen in the region. While we found a gap between the research and management of ecosystem services, a rigorous study thereof, which transcends its mere identification, proved useful in identifying key opportunities and challenges for bridging the gap.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 3802-3824

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:6:y:2014:i:6:p:3802-3824:d:37045
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    1. Merle Sowman & A. L. Brown, 2006. "Mainstreaming environmental sustainability into South Africa's integrated development planning process," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(5), pages 695-712.
    2. Egoh, Benis & Rouget, Mathieu & Reyers, Belinda & Knight, Andrew T. & Cowling, Richard M. & van Jaarsveld, Albert S. & Welz, Adam, 2007. "Integrating ecosystem services into conservation assessments: A review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 714-721, September.
    3. Brandt, Patric & Ernst, Anna & Gralla, Fabienne & Luederitz, Christopher & Lang, Daniel J. & Newig, Jens & Reinert, Florian & Abson, David J. & von Wehrden, Henrik, 2013. "A review of transdisciplinary research in sustainability science," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 1-15.
    4. S Sathirathai & EB Barbier, 2001. "Valuing Mangrove Conservation In Southern Thailand," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(2), pages 109-122, 04.
    5. Norgaard, Richard B., 2010. "Ecosystem services: From eye-opening metaphor to complexity blinder," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1219-1227, April.
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