This article was originally published in Ecosystem Services


Highlights:

  • Complex links between governance, ecosystem services (ES) and human well-being.
  • ES assessment frameworks miss the direct links from governance to well-being.
  • Concept of governance services (GS) is introduced to understand such links.
  • GS cascade framework from governance instruments to benefits and values via four GS.
  • ES & GS co-produce human well-being.

“Ecosystem services (ES) can be defined as intermediate and connecting links between an ecosystem’s biophysical structures and processes on the one hand, and human benefits and values on the other (Potschin and Haines-Young, 2011). ES are commonly divided into three classes: 1) provisioning (e.g. timber and crops), 2) cultural (e.g. natural attractions) and 3) regulation and maintenance (e.g. pollination; flood control) services (Santos-Martín et al., 2013; CICES, 2013).

The ES underpin human well-being (MA, 2005; Haines-Young and Potschin, 2010; Sandifer et al., 2015). Flows of ES from stocks of natural capital have been seen as crucial contributions to human well-being (e.g. TEEB, 2013). The literature has also highlighted the dependency of economic growth and resulting well-being on ES and biodiversity (e.g. Guo et al., 2010). Frameworks for global ecosystem service assessments by Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005), its update (Carpenter et al., 2009), and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES, 2016; Díaz et al., 2015) have identified previously unrecognized ways through which environmental governance indirectly affects human well-being by (re)organizing interactions between ecosystems, ecosystem services, and people (see Liu et al., 2007; Raymond et al., 2013)…”

Read on and access the full paper at: Ecosystem Services.