Understanding the diversity of values of “Nature’s contributions to people”: insights from the IPBES Assessment of Europe and Central Asia

Michael Christie, Berta Martin-López, Andrew Church, Ewa Siwicka, Pawel Szymonczyk, Jasmin Mena Sauterel

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Abstract

Assessments of the value of nature (e.g., TEEB. The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity: ecological and economic foundations, London, 2010) have tended to focus on the instrumental values of ecosystem services. However, recent academic and policy debate have highlighted a wider range of values (e.g., relational and intrinsic values), valuation methods (e.g., socio-cultural methods), and worldviews [e.g., indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) systems]. To account for these new perspectives, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has developed the concept of ‘Nature’s contributions to people’ (NCP), which aims to be a more inclusive approach to understanding and accounting for the diversity of values held by different stakeholders. In this paper, we aim to critically appraise the merits of the IPBES conceptual framework by reviewing of the findings the IPBES Europe and Central Asia (ECA) assessment. Our objectives are: (1) To review and assess the instrumental and relational values of NCP in Europe and Central Asia? (2) To consider what additional insights into the value of NCP are gained through the inclusion of socio-cultural valuations and ILK? Our analysis demonstrates that the ECA assessment captures a wide range of instrumental and relational values of NCP; however, we acknowledge variation in the availability of this value evidence. We also highlight new insights that can be uncovered through the adoptions of socio-cultural valuation methods and analysis of ILK knowledge. We conclude that the NCP paradigm, with its focus on instrumental and relational values, treats values more holistically than previous assessments such as TEEB (2010). For example, by giving a ‘voice’ to ILK holders, we demonstrated new types of NCP such as carrion removal, along with evidence of relational values including sense of place, identity, symbolic values and sacredness. While the ECA assessments may be defined as an example of a ‘Multiple evidence base’ approach to valuation of ecosystem assessments, the ECA assessment fails to demonstrate how to incorporate this wider range of values in decision-making processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1282
Number of pages16
JournalSustainability Science
Volume14
Issue number5
Early online date17 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Sept 2019

Keywords

  • IPBES
  • nature's contribution to people
  • NCP
  • nature
  • ecosystem services
  • valuation
  • value
  • Nature
  • Valuation
  • Value
  • Ecosystem services
  • Nature’s contribution to people

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