Adhikari, K., & Hartemink, A.E. (2016). Linking Soils to Ecosystem Services — A Global Review. Geoderma, 262, 101-111. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2015.08.009.
This is a literature review on the relationship between soil and ecosystem services. The article reviews studies on provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services, noting that the latter category is sparse. The authors found that the most commonly studied services in recent years have been carbon sequestration and climate and gas regulations. Finally, the authors call for interdisciplinary research to advance both scientific and policy-level understandings of soil-based ecosystem services.Open access »
Ansell, D., Freudenberger, D., Munro, N., & Gibbons, P. (2016). The cost-effectiveness of agri-environment schemes for biodiversity conservation: A quantitative review. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 225, 184-191. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2016.04.008
This is a global review of agri-environmental evaluation literature and an assessment of the extent to which existing studies that evaluate programs have incorporated cost considerations. Agri-environment schemes are payment programs wherein farmers are paid for the provision of public goods and services, like biodiversity. Authors highlight the importance of incorporating cost-analysis when reviewing the effectiveness of these conservation methods. Evaluating several obstacles to integration of cost-consideration, the authors argue that these are increasingly surmountable.Open access »
Baofo, Y.A., Saito, O., Kato, S., Kamiyama, C., Takeuchi, K., & Nakahara, M. (2016). The role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecosystem services management: the case of four rural communities in Northern Ghana. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 12(1-2), 24-38. doi:10.1090/21513732.2015.1124454
This study examined the perceptions held by rural households in Northern Ghana regarding the value of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in the management of ecosystem services. The study employed surveys, field observations and dissemination meetings to collect data in four rural communities. TEK is divided into four categories: taboos and totems, customs and rituals, rules and regulations, and traditional protected areas. Findings show an inverse correlation between awareness and compliance with TEK systems, and that there is relatively high awareness but low compliance. The article recommends that policymakers mainstream TEK into formal education curricula and incorporate more assessment of TEK.Open access »
Barrios, E., Valencia, V., Jonsson, M., Brauman, A., Hairiah, K., Mortimer, P. E., & Okubo, S. (2018). Contribution of trees to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 14(1), 1-16. doi:10.1080/21513732.2017.1399167
The article looks at the impacts of changing tree cover on conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in different agricultural landscapes. It includes six agroforestry and tree cover transition studies. The case studies highlight the fact that agroforestry practices do not always bring about positive effects and their effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services can be highly context dependent.Open access »
Baveye, P., Baveye, J., & Gowdy, J. (2016). Soil “Ecosystem” Services and Natural Capital: Critical Appraisal of Research on Uncertain Ground. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 4(41), 1-49. doi:10.3389/fenvs.2016.00041
This is an overview of ecosystem services theory and practice with a focus on soil-based ecosystem services. The authors discuss how to integrate soil into an ecosystem services model by using economic valuation and market indicators. This article considers soil itself to be “natural capital,” concluding that progress requires the general public to understand the significance that soil holds in their daily lives.
Bhatta, L. D., Oort, B. E., Rucevska, I., & Baral, H. (2014). Payment for ecosystem services: Possible instrument for managing ecosystem services in Nepal. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 10(4), 289-299. doi:10.1080/21513732.2014.973908
This article adopts the following definition of payment for ecosystem services: (1) a voluntary transaction, in which (2) a well-defined land use likely to secure that service is (3) bought by a (minimum of one) ecosystem services buyer from (4) a (minimum of one) ecosystem services provider if (5) the ecosystem services provider secures ecosystem services provision (conditionality). The article places great stock in the ability of payment schemes to remediate global challenges like food scarcity, climate change, and ecosystem management, so long as both developed and developing countries comply with their integrative implementation.Open access »
Boyd, J.W. & Banzhaf, H.S. (2006). What Are Ecosystem Services? The Need for Standardized Environmental Accounting Units. SSRN Electronic Journal, doi:10.2139/ssrn.892425
This article calls for greater consistency and uniformity in defining, measuring, and quantifying ecosystem services in order to enhance practical utility of the concept. Authors propose such a definition of ecological units and present examples of implementation. They argue that uniformity and adoption of their framework would greatly benefit conservation efforts in all sectors – public, non-profit, and private.Open access »
Braat, Leon C., & Rudolf De Groot. (2012). The Ecosystem Services Agenda: Bridging the Worlds of Natural Science and Economics, Conservation and Development, and Public and Private Policy. Ecosystem Services, 1(1), 4-15. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2012.07.011
This article is the introductory chapter to the first edition of the Ecosystem Service Journal, started in 2012 in the wake of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and TEEB projects (pioneering projects in the field of ecosystem services). The article provides a broad overview of ecosystem services theory and introduces key issues that scientists and policy analysts should be considering in their development of the field and in implementation of theory into practice.Open access »
Caride, C., Piñeiro, G., & Paruelo, J.M. (2012). How Does Agricultural Management Modify Ecosystem Services in the Argentine Pampas? The Effects on Soil C Dynamics. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 154, 23–33. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2011.05.031.
This article presents the results of a study done in Argentina on the impacts of agricultural management on soil carbon dynamics. The article discusses the different impacts to soil characteristics and soil carbon balances associated with different types of farming systems present in the areas included in the study. The authors offer predictions of further soil organic carbon loss in the area if agricultural management does not change.Open access »
Carpenter, S. R., Mooney, H.A., Agard, J., Capistrano, D., DeFries, R.S., Diaz, S.,…Whyte, A. (2009). Science for Managing Ecosystem Services: Beyond the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(5), 1305-1312. doi:10.1073/pnas.0808772106
This article calls for more scientific data to demonstrate the value of policies and programs that increase the provision of ecosystem services. There is a lengthy discussion on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which is a seminal piece of research that resulted in a widely used framework for conceptualizing, classifying, and valuing ecosystem services. The authors put forth a series of questions that need to be explored to fill gaps in knowledge on ecosystem services provisioning, such as what combinations of ecosystem services flow from one particular landscape and what institutions and policies are most effective to sustain ecosystem services.Open access »
Casalegno, S., Bennie, J. J., Inger, R., & Gaston, K. J. (2014). Regional Scale Prioritization for Key Ecosystem Services, Renewable Energy Production and Urban Development. PLoS ONE, 9(9), 1-14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107822
This article uses a zoning algorithm to establish priority areas for the provision of key ecosystem services and environmental services in Cornwall, UK. The study found that: (1) there are two main patterns of service distribution in this region (clustered services and dispersed services); (2) more than half of the services are spatially correlated and there is high non-stationary in the spatial covariance between services; and (3) it is important to consider both ecosystem services and other environmental services in identifying priority areas. This article shows how ecosystem services can be utilized in land use planning by prioritizing areas that align with certain values to services.Open access »
Clarkson, B., Brown, M., Barton, B., & Joshi, C. (2013). Implementing ecological compensation in New Zealand: Stakeholder perspectives and a way forward. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 44(1), 34-47. doi:10.1080/03036758.2013.860377
According to the authors, ecological compensation is “a practice where the negative effects of development are sought to be offset by positive environmental activity, either on the same site, or on one nearby.” The article discusses the slow rise in the use of ecological compensation in New Zealand, attributing this to lack of basic information, difficulties in management, and lack of guidance. The article suggests that effective implementation of ecological compensation depends on promotion of the service through law and policy.Open access »
Conservation Technology Information Center. (2017). Annual Report: 2016-2017 Cover Crop Survey. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.
Cover cropping provides ecosystem services in several ways: sustaining soil biota, weed control, soil moisture retention, and yield consistency. In addition to ecosystem benefits provided by cover cropping, farmers may benefit through “planting green,” or seeding cash crops into living cover crops to multiply the benefits, increase yields, and maximize cover crop growth periods. Overall, the survey indicates that more farmers would increase their use of cover crops if they learned more about the benefits and the changes to field productivity from other farmers.Open access »
Costanza, R., d’Arge, R., de Groot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., …van den Belt, M. (1997). The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital. Ecological Economics, 25(1), 3-15. doi:10.1016/s0921-8009(98)00020-2.
Cited more than twenty thousand times, this article is considered one of the most seminal publications on ecosystem services theory to date. In this paper, the authors estimate the monetary value of seventeen of the world’s ecosystem services. The article lays out definitions and valuation methods critical to their analysis, and ultimately calls for the development of mechanisms to pay for the value that is provided to humans by global ecosystems, in order to preserve and sustain their contributions.Open access »
Costanza, R., de Groot, R., Sutton, P., van der Ploeg, S., Anderson, S.J., Kubiszewski, I., … Turner, R.K. (2014). Changes in the Global Value of Ecosystem Services. Global Environmental Change, 26, 152–158, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.04.002.
Written by Robert Costanza, author of the seminal ecosystem services publication, The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services (Costanza 1997), this 2014 article builds on previous arguments in support of developing institutions and frameworks to value, manage, and sustain ecosystem services. The author also notes that ecosystem services approaches are complementary with other nature conservation methods, and actually enhances those other methods.Open access »
Costanza, R., Groot, R. D., Braat, L., Kubiszewski, I., Fioramonti, L., Sutton, P., Farber, S., & Grasso, M. (2017). Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go? Ecosystem Services, 28(2017), 1-16. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.09.008
This is a historical analysis of the development of the idea of ecosystem services. It offers clear descriptions of core concepts in the growing field of research and real world work around ecosystem services and methods for preserving them. The article has a robust discussion of frameworks for classifying services and it highlights existing comprehensive systems of valuation.»
Cranford, M., Mourato, S. (2014). Credit-based payments for ecosystem services: evidence from a choice experiment in Ecuador. World Development, 64(0), 503-520. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.06.019
This study proposes a solution to problems with payments for ecosystem services related to sufficient conditioning of payments to achieve desired results and payments that improve market functions. The paper looks at conditional credit as an option and uses a choice-based experiment in Ecuador demonstrates market demand for such a solution.Open access »
Daily, G. (ed.). (1997). Nature’s Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems. Washington, DC: Island Press.
Published the same year as Robert Costanza’s seminal article, this book is also considered to be a seminal publication that gave rise to much of the research and investment in ecosystem services theory and practice. The book compiles papers written by leading scholars in ecosystem services, including Costanza and Ehrlich, representing a landmark influence on the rise of efforts to understand, enhance, and spread conceptualizing and practicing ways of valuing and preserving the values humans derive from natural ecosystems.
Davidson, M. (2013) On the relation between ecosystem services, intrinsic value, existence value and economic valuation. Ecological Economics, 95, 171-177. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.09.002.
This article discusses the ethics of ecosystem services valuation and the complexity that arises from attempting to reconcile different views of the natural world. The article stokes the fires of ethical discussions involving of ecosystems and humans, their intersectional nature and our attempt to catalog and silo subsequent variations. These questions are contextualized at the intersection of consequentialism – the valuation of secular objects of natural derivation merely from the direct or indirect serving of human interest – and deontological ethics – a body of thought that aligns itself with the recognition of intrinsic value of a given natural entity.
DeLonge, M., Miles, A., & Carlisle, L. (2015). Investing in the transition to sustainable agriculture. Environmental Science & Policy 55(1), 266-273. doi:10.106/j.envsci.2015.09.013
The article evaluates the availability of federal funding for agroecology by looking at the number of projects receiving USDA Research, Extension, and Economics (REE) funding and their relevance to sustainable agriculture. The article identifies 824 projects, which accounted for just over ten percent of the entire 2014 USDA REE budget. Further, findings show that eighteen to thirty-six percent of the analyzed funds have the component of improving system efficiency to reduce the use and cost of inputs, twenty-four percent contribute to incorporating more sustainable inputs and practices into farming systems, fifteen percent contribute to redesigning systems based on ecological principles, and fourteen percent to reestablishing connections between producers and consumers to support a socio-ecological transformation of the food system. The article calls for a rapid and substantial increase in REE funding for systems-based research in biologically diversified farming and ranching systems.Open access »
Duff, A.J., Zedler, P.H., Barzen, J.A., & Knuteson, D.L. (2017). The Capacity-Building Stewardship Model: assessment of an agricultural network as a mechanism for improving regional agroecosystem sustainability. Ecology and Society 22(1), 1-11. doi:10.5751/ES-09146-220145
This is a case study of the Healthy Grown Potato Program in Wisconsin. The article highlights the importance of an engaging and dialectical network for organizing landowners to participate in a voluntary program to change production practices. This network involves diverse stakeholders and strategies to ensure that the program is able to adapt as needed to provide long term benefits to participating farms.Open access »
Elevitch, C. R., Mazaroli, D. N., & Ragone, D. (2018). Agroforestry Standards for Regenerative Agriculture. Sustainability, 10(9), 1-21. doi:10.3390/su10093337
This article looks at agroforestry as an example of regenerative agriculture. It compares agroforestry certification programs and the metrics and criteria used to verify that forests registered are in fact regenerative. Authors draw conclusions about which certifications most effectively create positive change on the landscape.Open access »
Engel, S., Pagiola, S., & Wunder, S. (2008). Designing payments for environmental services in theory and practice: An overview of the issues. Ecological Economics, 65(4), 663-674. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.03.011
This article is an introductory chapter to a special issue in Ecological Economics that includes case studies of payment for ecosystem / environmental services (PES) in practice, and analysis of the convergence of theory with implementation. As such, it provides a review of the main issues common to PES design and implementation efforts, discussing the issues against an environmental economics theoretical background. The article briefly discusses definitions in the literature of PES – adopting the definition of Wunder (2005) for the article, the limitations of PES in scope, and the main characteristics of a typical PES program. The article compares PES to other policy instruments such as environmental taxes, regulation, conservation efforts, and policy mixes that incorporate PES. Authors focus the bulk of discussion on two main issues: the effectiveness and efficiency of PES and the distributional implications of PES programs.Open access »
Ezzine-de-Blas, D., Dutilly, C., Lara-Pulldo, J., Le Velly, G., & Guevara-Sangines, A. (2016). Payments for Environmental Services in a Policymix: Spatial and Temporal Articulation in Mexico. PLOS One, 11(4), 1-15. doi:10.137/journal.pone.0152514
This paper examines the political process and results on the landscape of the design and implementation of a forest protection program in Mexico. Findings show that the design of the program as well as its implementation was highly influenced by the parties who had access to the design process. The ultimate result on the landscape was higher enrollment of communities that had already enrolled their programs in other government programs and were at relatively low risk of deforestation.Open access »
Farley, J., & Costanza, R. (2010). Payments for ecosystem services: From local to global. Ecological Economics, 69(11), 2060-2068. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.06.010
This article is a “follow-up” of results based on a scientific workshop entitled Payments for Ecosystem Services: From Local to Global, held in Heredia, Costa Rica in March 2007. The article discusses the environmental economies approach and ecological economies approach to payment for ecosystem services respectively. It developed a set of principles concerning PES systems including measurement, bundling, scale-matching, property rights, distribution issues, sustainable funding, adaptive management, education and politics, participation and policy coherence.Open access »
Farley, J., Aquino, A., Daniels, A., Moulaert, A., Lee, D., & Krause, A. (2010). Global mechanisms for sustaining and enhancing PES schemes. Ecological Economics, 69(11), 2075-2084. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.02.016
This article takes the position that there are costs to the provision and protection of ecosystem services and that someone must pay. However, payment does not require commodification, as many PES critics argue. The article attempts to reconcile purportedly opposing perspectives on PES between ecological economics, environmental economics, and PES critics, and authors propose a definition and unifying framework that synthesizes contrasting views and provides guidance to identify which institutions are most appropriate for implementing PES, based on physical characteristics of ecosystem services provided. The authors diverge from mainstream literature on PES, advocating for government-based programs and against market approaches, due to their inability to cure market failures.
Fisher, B., Turner, R. K., & Morling, P. (2009). Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making. Ecological Economics, 68(3), 643-653. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.09.014
This article divides ecosystem services value into three categories: (1) intermediate services, such as wild pollination by pollinators; (2) final services, such as increased yields because of that pollination; and (3) benefits, or the economic returns based on those increased yields. Through this methodology, ecosystem services can be tracked and valuated throughout each step and provide both private goods (derived by the land owner) and public value (derived by community). This, in turn, may allow land-managers and policy-makers to consider the flow of ecosystem services across a specific landscape, and thus better understand where management intervention can be increased to meet multiple objectives.Open access »
Fleming, W.M., Rivera, J.A., Miller, A., & Piccarello, M. (2014). Ecosystem services of traditional irrigation systems in northern New Mexico, USA. The International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 10(4), 343-350. doi:10.1090/21513732.2014.977953.
Traditional irrigation systems in New Mexico, acequias, provide ecosystem services beyond irrigating farmland. This article explains that acequias “function as a wetland system,” and thus are able to retain water, control erosion, increase biodiversity and riparian vegetation, and provide habitat for species. The article suggests that, because of these services provided, acequias should be valued for more than their traditional use as “artificial waterways” but also for their cultural and ecological value to the landscape and ecosystem, especially because of the risk of losing these many ecosystem benefits if the acequias are replaced by modern irrigation techniques.Open access »
Forest Trends, The Katoomba Group, & UNEP. (2008). Payments for Ecosystems Services: Getting Started: A Primer.
This report provides an overview of payments for ecosystem services, reviewing what they are and how they work. The first section explains ecosystem services and emerging markets and payments. The second section describes economically inclusive payment for ecosystem services schemes and explains the opportunities, risks, and ideal conditions for implementing a PES structure. The third section discusses a step-by-step approach to develop payment for ecosystem service deals. This primer provides a good resource for anyone interesting in the details of how to implement a PES program.Open access »
Galicia, L. & Zarco-Arista, A.E. (2014). Multiple ecosystem services, possible trade-offs and synergies in a temperate forest ecosystem in Mexico: a review. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 10(4): 275-288. doi:10.1080/21513732.2014.973907
The focus of this article is the high-elevation temperate forests in the tropical mountains of Mexico, which provide regional and global scales of ecosystem services like biodiversity, carbon storage, and water supply for cities, agriculture, and energy generation. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project provides the framework for analysis based on categories of ecosystem services (provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services).Open access »
Goldman-Benner, R., Benitez, S., Boucher, T., Calvache, A., Daily, G., Kareiva, P., Kroeger, T., & Ramos, A. (2012). Water funds and payments for ecosystem services: practice learns from theory and theory can learn from practice. Oryx, 461(1), 55-63. doi:10.1017/S0030605311001050
Authors claim that water funds are implemented successfully in countries in Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru) and can be an important method of PES to align investments in human and natural wellbeing. Models described in the article include the case of Pimpampiro, Ecuador. The article uses the example of a trust fund model to examine how best practices have the potential to reshape other practices. The purpose of this article is to show how public partnerships can lower transaction costs and provide transparent, successful watershed management.Open access »
Gómez-Baggethun, E., Groot, R. D., Lomas, P. L., & Montes, C. (2010). The history of ecosystem services in economic theory and practice: From early notions to markets and payment schemes. Ecological Economics, 69(6), 1209-1218. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.11.007
This is a theoretical review of how the concept of ecosystem services originally developed and has since evolved. There is discussion of various economics approaches – neoclassical, environmental, ecological, and the “new economics of ecosystems” – and how they contributed to the growth ecosystem services discourse. Authors note that the inception of ecosystem services as a concept was in 1981 by Ehrlich and Ehrlich. The article comments not only on how the concept developed over time but also on why – discussing how commodification of ecosystem services became mainstream.Open access »
Gravuer, K., Gennet, S., & Throop, H. (2018). Organic amendment additions to rangelands: A meta-analysis of multiple ecosystem outcomes. Global Change Biology, 25(3), 1152-1170. doi:1111/gcb.1445.
Farmers and ranchers can use organic amendments to provide ecosystem services by increasing soil health and soil carbon in croplands and rangelands. The evaluated outcomes of organic soil amendments include soil organic carbon concentration, productivity of vegetation and vegetation cover, plant species diversity, increased nitrogen concentration within plant tissue, soil water holding capacity, and decreased run off of nutrients like phosphorus and nitrate. Management of rangelands through organic soil amendments may impact the economic and ecological sustainability of beef cattle production by not only stimulating plant growth and reducing herbicide use, but also reducing pesticide runoff, stimulating plant growth, and reducing risk of fires.Open access »
Groot, R. D., Alkemade, R., Braat, L., Hein, L., & Willemen, L. (2010). Challenges in integrating the concept of ecosystem services and values in landscape planning, management and decision making. Ecological Complexity, 7(3), 260-272. doi:10.1016/j.ecocom.2009.10.006
This article focuses on the challenges and issues that are common to conceptualizing ecosystem services and translating theory into practical implementation. Issues discussed include defining, quantifying, and valuing ecosystem services, with the focal point on the question of how best to analyze trade-offs involved in land cover and land use change. The authors emphasize the significance of the impact ecosystem services and valuation efforts have had on nature conservation approaches.
Groot, R.S., Wilson, M.A., & Boumans, R.M. (2002). A Typology for the Classification, Description and Valuation of Ecosystem Functions, Goods and Services. Ecological Economics, 41(3), 393-408. doi:10.1016/s0921-8009(02)00089-7
This article contains an in-depth analysis, classifying twenty-three different ecosystem functions and the full range of goods and services that flow from each one. The authors present a conceptual framework for describing, classifying and valuing ecosystem functions, goods and services, and offer an organized and systematic method of determining their values (ecological, socio-cultural, and economic).Open access »
This article discusses traditional economic methodologies for valuing ecosystem services. After reviewing a number of different approaches for assigning value, the author asserts that properly assigning value is not a necessary step in designing an effective program. Rather, the important step is to ensure that the determined incentive to offer the land manager is sufficient to induce a behavior change despite opposing economic opportunities.Open access »
Hein, L., Bagstad, K., Edens, B., Obst, C., Rixt, d. J., & Lesschen, J. P. (2016). Defining ecosystem assets for natural capital accounting. PLoS One, 11(11), 1-25. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164460
This article explores ecosystem as assets in order to support ecosystem assessment, ecosystem accounting and ecosystem management. The article defines “capacity”, “capability” and “potential supply” in order to understand ecosystems as assets and in a way aligned with the accounting principles of Environmental-Economic Accounts-Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EEA). Authors draw on case studies from the Netherlands on carbon sequestration, from Norway on timber harvest, and from the United States on scenic views.Open access »
Herbert, T., Vonada, R., Jenkins, M., & Bayon, R. (2010). Environmental funds and payments for ecosystem services: RedLAC capacity building project for environmental funds. Rio de Janeiro: RedLAC.
Successful payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes depend on the maintenance of a specified service, such as clean water, biodiversity, or carbon sequestration, with the exchange economic value for the benefit. The article suggests payment models through five systems: (1) certification programs, (2) tax incentives, (3) self-organized private deals, (4) formal markets with open trading (cap and trade), and (5) public payment schemes for private land owners. While these schemes may be based on direct financial payments, PES can also be supported through indirect gains, such as financial support for community goals, in-kind payments, and recognition of rights. The payment scheme for PES will often be determined by individual circumstances, the chosen buyer and seller of the ecosystem service, and in developing PES schemes, policymakers and land owners should consider the financial values, the costs of alternatives, the market costs, and economic values, both direct and indirect, of the services being provided.Open access »
Hodas, D.R. (2013). Law, the Laws of Nature and Ecosystem Energy Services: A Case of Wilful Blindness. P.E.R., 16(2), 66-120. doi.10.4314/pelj.v16i2
As the concept of ecosystem services is increasingly used to develop policy, many guidelines and methodological tools for valuating ecosystem services neglect to include fossil fuels as an ecosystem service. This article proposes including fossil fuels as an ecosystem service as a better way to understand current energy-based ecosystem challenges. Ignoring fossil fuels as an ecosystem service also prevents further discussions on the exploitation of the ecosystem through fossil fuel subsidies and the “cheap-energy fossil fuel paradigm.” Valuating fossil fuels as an ecosystem service may correct the market failure that abounds with energy subsidies and change the way business and policy decision makers valuate and consider sustainable energy sources.Open access »
Huber-Stearns, H.R., Bennett, D.E., Posner, S., Richards, R.C., Fair, J.H., Cousins, S.J., & Romulo, C.L. (2017). Social-ecological enabling conditions for payments for ecosystem services. Ecology and Society 22(1), 1-15. doi:10.5751/ES-08979-220118
This article considers enabling conditions for successful implementation of a payment for ecosystem services (PES) program. Authors conducted a multi-disciplinary literature to determine how other researchers have thought about PES enabling conditions. Ultimately, the authors organize twenty-four enabling conditions into four thematic categories: biophysical, economic, governance, and social-cultural. The research found that there is no disciplinary perspective that alone provides all necessary insights for PES enabling conditions. Instead, authors conclude that PES needs to be viewed from an array of perspectives to create synthesized concepts, vocabulary, and frameworks.Open access »
Iftekhar, M.S., Polyakov, M., & Gibson, F. (2016). Restoring ecosystem services on private farmlands: Lessons from economics. In Ansell, D., Gibson, F., & Salt, D. (Eds.). Learning from agri-environment schemes in Australia. Australia: ANU Press. (127-138).
This is a book chapter in Learning from Agri-environment Schemes in Australia (Ansell 2016). The chapter discusses the factors that influence whether or not ecological management strategies are adopted on private land. Authors consider differences between preservation and restoration projects, as well as factors farmers consider when making management decisions, such as opportunity costs. It ends with a discussion on the importance of well-designed incentives for encouraging farmers to adopt practices that provide ecosystem services.Open access »
Jacobs, S., Dendoncker, N., & Martín-López, B. (2016). A new valuation school: Integrating diverse values of nature in resource and land use decisions. Ecosystem Services, 22(B), 213-220. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.11.007
This article is concerned with the need to appropriately capture all the different values created by a specific piece of land in any successful ecosystem services valuation program. It mentions existing efforts to value different dimensions of ecosystems services, but focuses most on the diversity of values types that should be included as well as the methodologies for capturing those values.Open access »
Jones, C. & Frish, T. (2015). SOS: Save our Soils. Dr. Christine Jones Explains the Life-Giving Link Between Carbon and Healthy Topsoil. ACRES USA: The Voice of Eco-Agriculture (45)(3).
This is an interview with Dr. Christine Jones, a leading scientist on soil carbon sequestration and climate change. There is some focus here on the Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme (ASCAS), which is a method of payment for ecosystem services.
Kemkes, R.J., Farley, J., & Koliba, C.J. (2010). Determining when payments are an effective policy approach to ecosystem service provision. Ecological Economics, 69(11), 2069-2074. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.11.032
This article presents a framework for identifying appropriate policy tools for provision of ecosystem services and the conditions necessary to design a viable payment for ecosystem services program. There is a brief introduction to ecosystem services theory and some background on different types of policy tools, adopted from Salzman (2005), which are prescription, penalty, property rights, persuasion and payment. The article discusses the different characteristics of these types of tools, which are all mechanisms for providing ecosystem services on private property. Finally, the authors explain the different classifications of ecosystem services and provide recommendations for appropriate and effective policy tools based on the classification of ecosystem services.Open access »
Kienast, F., Bolliger, J., Potschin, M., De Groot, R. S., Verburg, P. H., Heller, I., & Haines-Young, R. (2009). Assessing Landscape Functions with Broad-Scale Environmental Data: Insights Gained from a Prototype Development for Europe. Environ. Management, 44(6), 1099-1120. doi:10.1007/s00267-009-9384-7
This article assesses landscape function under an ecosystem services framework. The authors turn to the literature to analyze relationships between landscape function and specific land uses or other environmental properties. The discussion provides critical points which are needed in order to successfully apply the approach. They are landscape dynamics and functions, linking landscape functions and land characteristics, validating the continent-wide approach, quality data, and sensitivity analyses. The model framework then offers suggestions for implementation.
Kosoy, N., & Corbera, E. (2010). Payments for ecosystem services as commodity fetishism. Ecological Economics, 69(6), 1228-1236. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.11.002
This article is a critique of the PES concept based on two main arguments. First, technical problems and ethical concerns (how humans relate to and view nature) arise when ecosystem benefits are reduced to a single service. Second, PES results in the commodification of ecosystem services, which disregards the true and multiple values provided by ecosystems.Open access »
Kovacs, K., Polasky, S., Nelson, E., Keeler, B. L., Pennington, D., Plantinga, A. J., & Taff, S. J. (2013). Evaluating the return in ecosystem services from investment in public land acquisitions. PLoS One 8(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062202
This article evaluates how land use and land cover changes (LULC) impact ecosystem services and consequently influence investment in public land acquisition. The Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) is used to quantify how changes in LULC influence ecosystem services in terms of carbon sequestration, timber production, water quality, habitat quality, and outdoor recreation. Results show that the largest values are associated with carbon sequestration, followed by outdoor recreation and water quality improvement from phosphorus run-off reductions.Open access »
Kremen, C., & Miles, A. (2012). Ecosystem Services in Biologically Diversified versus Conventional Farming Systems: Benefits, Externalities, and Trade-Offs. Ecology and Society, 17(4), 1-25. doi:10.5751/ES-05035-170440.
The article takes the position that diversified farming systems – compared to conventional farming systems – can better sustain agrobiodiversity and supply more ecosystem services valuable to agriculture. The article discusses the literature that shows diversified farming systems are substantially better at supporting biodiversity, soil quality, carbon sequestration, and water-holding capacity in surface soils, energy-use efficiency, and resistance and resilience to climate change, as well as positive effects on weed control, disease and pest management, and pollination. The article does address one major disadvantage of diversified farming systems – lower crop productivity than conventional farming systems – but authors claim this can be outweighed by the lower environmental and social harms.Open access »
Kronenberg, J., & Hubacek, K. (2013). Could Payments for Ecosystem Services Create an “Ecosystem Service Curse”? Ecology and Society, 18(1), 10. doi:10.5751/es-05240-180110
This article develops the argument that because ecosystem services markets are like other systems that have developed around resource trading, rapid development of PES can negatively influence economies – regionally and nationally – as those similar systems have. The authors describe, using examples, how the ‘resource curse’ leads to revenue generation that does not result in investing in development and so does not improve economic problems in many countries. Problems arise like rent seeking, unequal bargaining power, and volatile payments. Further, authors argue that solutions to these problems will require careful planning to ensure PES has positive impacts.Open access »
Lal, R. (2002). Soil Carbon dynamics in cropland and rangeland. Environmental Pollution, 116(3), 353-362. doi:10.1016/s0269-7491(01)00211-1
This article discusses the primary practices that govern carbon pools in agricultural soils throughout the United States. The author assesses the sustainability of farm systems through carbon budgeting, and presents a ten-step assessment tool for soil carbon. The author highlights the need for monitoring of soil carbon dynamics using GIS, remote sensing, and modeling.
Lal, R. (2004). Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Science Direct, 123, 1-22. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2004.01.032
This article contains discussion of methods and management practices that enhance soil organic carbon (SOC) pools. The author addresses the Kyoto Protocol, highlighting the clauses that can be used to advance SOC sequestration. However, he also calls attention to the fact that SOC is ultimately a short-term strategy and there needs to be an alternative to fossil fuels as a long-term strategy to addressing climate change. SOC has the potential to be the bridge between these two solutions.
Lal, R. (2008). Carbon Sequestration. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society, 363, 815-830. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2007.2185
Here, soil carbon research pioneer, Ratan Lal, discusses procedural and technological options for using carbon sequestration in a long-lived global C pool to reduce the net rate of increasing atmospheric CO2. Several technological options exist for sequestering carbon and the use of them can be important for formulating energy policy that supports future economic growth and development at national and global scales. Strategies are grouped into two broad categories: abiotic sequestration and biotic sequestration – and there are benefits and consequences to both types. The article emphasizes the need to put policies and regulations in place to facilitate the use of carbon credits.
Lal, R. (2008). Soils and sustainable agriculture. a review. Agronomy Sustainable Development, 28, 57-64. doi:10.1015/agro.2007025
This is an overview of soil as an agricultural resource. The article mentions the benefits of utilizing soil trading and carbon credits to increase healthy soil management. The author highlights the necessity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discusses advancing food security, use of biofuels, responsible waste management, benefits of carbon farming, and water management.
Lal, R., & Bruce, J. (1999). The potential of world cropland soils to sequester C and mitigate the greenhouse effect. Environmental Science & Policy, 2(2), 177-185. doi:10.1016/s1462-9011(99)00012-x
This article discusses the need to implement improved land management and best management practices (BMPs). The authors mention the following improved farming/cropping systems: soil fertility management, organic manures and by-products, water management, and improvements in crop yields. The article also discusses the potential for policymakers to rely on the Kyoto Protocol to progress the implementation of carbon sequestration practices and emissions trading.
Lal, R., Follett, R., Kimble, J., & Cole, C. (1999). Managing U.S. cropland to sequester carbon in soil. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 54(1), 374-381.
This article discusses the use of agricultural soil for carbon sequestration. There is background discussion on the uses of cropland in the United States and a call to restore soil by implementing better practices. The author discusses the U.S. federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a provision first seen in the 1985 Farm Bill – and perpetuated though modified over time – that was intended to convert highly erodible land from active crop production to permanent vegetative cover for a ten-year period. Table 7 (379) summarizes the potential of U.S. cropland to sequester C.
LaNotte, A., D’Amato, D., Makinen, H., Paracchini, M., Liquete, C., Egoh, B., Geneletti, D., & Crossman, N. (2017). Ecosystem Services Classification: A Systems Ecology Perspective of the Cascade Framework. Ecological Indicators, 74, 392-402. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.11.030.
This paper uses the cascade framework to create a hierarchical organization of systems ecology that can be used to distinguish between ecosystem services and benefits. The authors state the need for a more standardized definition as ecosystem services become more integrated into policy instruments. By adopting a more comprehensive view, it should be easier to highlight differences between ecosystem functions, services, and benefits.Open access »
Laurans, Y., Rankovic, A., Bille, R., Pirard, R., & Mermet, L. (2013). Use of ecosystem services economic valuation for decision making: Questioning a literature blindspot. Journal of Environmental Management, 119(2013), 208-219. doi:10.1016/j.envman.2013.01.008
The article reviews the literature on ecosystem services economic valuation and how it can be best used for effective decision making. Ecosystem Services Economic Valuation (ESV) are produced in a “supply-side” logic, thus it is uncertain what type of tools offered to potential users are the best match for decision-making needs, and ESV is primarily geared towards an informative role for general influence and awareness-raising. The review found three categories of potential use of ecosystem services economic valuation (UESV): decisive, technical, and informative.Open access »
Lithgow, D., Martinez, M. L., Silva, R., Geneletti, D., Gallego-Fernandez, J.B., Cerdan, C.R., Mendoza, E., & Jermain, A. (2017). Ecosystem Services to Enhance Coastal Resilience in Mexico: The Gap between the Perceptions of Decision -Makers and Academics, Journal of Coastal Research, 77, 116-126. doi: 10.2112/S177-012.1
Ecosystem services can be considered by policy-makers to achieve economic and environmental goals. However, decisionmakers often overlook ecosystem services because many of the benefits provided are intangible or considered hard to measure. Ecosystem services are often not considered until there is a degradation or loss of ecosystem services, and at that point, decisions typically center around the perceived “trade-off” of socio-economic development or the management of natural resources. Thus, increasing consideration of ecosystem services by policymakers depends on reducing the gap in understanding of ecosystem services, educating about ecosystem services and regional economic development, resilience, and climate change adaptation, and promoting effective communication between scientists, policymakers, and land managers.
Liu, J., & Yang, W. (2013) Integrated assessment of payment for ecosystem services programs. PNAS, 110(41), 16297-16298. doi:10.1073/pnas.1316036110.
This article discusses the concept of how to communicate value of ecosystem services generated in one area that are sent to another area, where the benefits are derived. The authors use a case study from China where a river was dammed in order to provide water for a major city located thousands of miles away from the dam.Open access »
Maes, J., Liquete, C., Teller, A., Markus, E., Paracchini, M.L., Barredo, J.I., & Lavalle, C. (2015). An indicator framework for assessing ecosystem services in support of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. Ecosystem Services, 17(2016), 14-23. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.10.023
This study looked at the possibility of creating a large-scale landscape assessment of the condition of existing ecosystem services. The article uses well established categories of ecosystems services and looks at existing data compiled by government agencies. Authors conclude that more data is needed for a comprehensive assessment, but that the current information landscape is promising.Open access »
Matzdorf, B., Niedermann, C., Meyer, C., Nicolaus, K., Sattler, C., & Schomers, S. Paying for Green? Payments for Ecosystem Services in Practice: Successful examples of PES from Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The book divides PES into 4 categories: (1) voluntary non-governmental payments for voluntary actions, (2) voluntary governmental payments for voluntary actions, (3) mandatory polluter-funded payments for voluntary actions, and (4) voluntary and mandatory governmental payments for involuntary actions. An in-depth study was conducted on specific PES projects and programs within the first three categories that exist in the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. Authors also discuss potential, limits, and challenges of these PES systems.Open access »
Maynard, S., James, D., & Davidson, A. (2014). Determining the value of multiple ecosystem services in terms of community wellbeing: Who should be the valuing agent? Ecological Economics, 115(2015), 22-28. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.02.002
This paper looks at stakeholder knowledge in South East Queensland (SEQ) in order to create an integrated approach to natural resource management. The authors aim to create a value for ecosystem services based on the wellbeing of the SEQ community. The goal of the research was to offer decision makers the opportunity to think more broadly about potential impacts of decisions on the wellbeing of a community. The article shows how using ecosystem services to measure the wellbeing of a community can be incorporated into statutory planning policy in SEQ.Open access »
This is a short commentary on the ineffectiveness of market-based conservation, like PES, and the need to invest in other forms of conservation, for the sake of protecting nature rather than economic efficiency. The author explains that market-based programs imply that nature is only worth conserving if humans can profit from the conservation.Open access »
Meehan, T.D., Gratton, C., Diehl, E., Hunt, N.D., Mooney, D.F., Ventura, S.J., Barham, B.L., & Jackson, R.D. (2013). Ecosystem-Service Tradeoffs Associated with Switching from Annual to Perennial Energy Crops in Riparian Zones of the US Midwest, PLOS One, 8(11), 1-13. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080093
This study looked at the change in amount of a set of ecosystem services provided on land in Wisconsin in a hypothetical change in land use from corn grown for biofuel to perennial grass grown for biofuel. Researchers found that all ecosystem services would increase, except income provisioning, which would fall significantly for any farmers implementing such change.Open access »
Merrill, J., Brillinger, R., Kemp, L. (2015). Blueprint for a California Program on Climate and Agriculture, California Climate and Agriculture Network, CalCAN.
This blueprint was put together by agriculture and climate change experts to offer recommendations for the design of a state-funded California Program on Agriculture and Climate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration. The program design emphasizes research, education and technical assistance, and financial incentives accessible through a competitive grant process. The framework also provides an overview of how agriculture can play a constructive role in achieving California’s Global Warming Solutions Acts (Assembly Bill 32).Open access »
Munang, R.T., Thiaw, I., & Rivington, M. (2011). Ecosystem Management: Tomorrow’s Approach to Enhancing Food Security under a Changing Climate. Sustainability, 3(7), 937- 954. doi:10.3390/su3070937
This article discusses the four broad categories of ecosystem services delineated by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005): (1) provisioning services – production of food and water, (2) regulating services – control of climate and disease, (3) supporting services – photosynthesis, nutrient and water cycling and crop pollination, and (4) cultural services – spiritual and recreational benefits. Authors make the point that the main driver of degradation is under the guise of the economy, where “forests are destroyed because it is more profitable in the short term to use land for other purposes, or the environmental cost of water use in goods production is not included in the purchase cost to the consumer.” An important factor in the facilitation of degradation is the fact that property rights are poorly defined in impoverished areas. Authors call for greater integration on a local level of the four categories framework of ecosystem services, in pursuit of securing property rights, food security, and land tenure across the world. They argue that such measures would decrease the rate of land degradation and support the preservation and provision of ecosystem services.
Muradian, R., Corbera, E., Pascual, U., Kosoy, N., & May, P. H. (2010). Reconciling theory and practice: An alternative conceptual framework for understanding payments for environmental services. Ecological Economics, 69(6), 1202-1208. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.11.006
This theoretical article proposes a new framework for conceptualizing and designing PES schemes. The authors highlight the impracticalities of purely market-based approaches and identify key issues to be considered in designing successful PES programs. These include uncertainty, fair distribution, impacts on social norms and relations, and power distributions. The proposed approach is designed to consider and better manage such complexities.Open access »
Palm, C., Blanco-Canqui, H., DeClerck, F., Gatere, L., & Grace, P. (2014). Conservation Agriculture and Ecosystem Services: An Overview. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 187, 87–105. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2013.10.010
This article summarizes the state of the research on ecosystem services in conservation agriculture. It reviews existing evidence of ecosystem services provided by conservation agriculture. Examples include benefits to soil properties by building soil organic matter and contributions to biodiversity. The article includes discussion of the limitations of conservation agriculture to restore depleted soils and to increase crop yields.Open access »
Parrotta, J., Yeo-Chang, Y., & Camacho, L.D. (2016). Traditional knowledge for sustainable forest management and provision of ecosystem services. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 12, 1-4. doi:10.1080/21513732.2016.1169580
This articles discusses the main driving forces of tropical deforestation for economic gain, specifically mining, infrastructure, cash crop planting of palm oil and energy exploration. Authors focus on identifying the underlying issues and causes of deforestation and the need for the integration of indigenous and local knowledge of practical use and propagation of anthropic-based needs (food, water shelter etc.) in a less invasive manner than current practice. At risk are provisional ecosystem services, biodiversity, habitat, food and climate security, water purification and the positive attributes associated with climate regulation and forests as carbon sinks.Open access »
Pereira, P., Brevik, E., Munoz-Rojas, M., Miller, B., Smetanova, A., Depellegrin, D., Misiune, I., Novara, A., … Cerda, A. (2017). Soil Mapping and Processes Modeling for Sustainable Land Management. Soil Mapping and Processes Modeling for Sustainable Land Management, 2017, 29-60. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-805200-6.00006-2
This article considers sustainable land management as an ecosystem service. Different components of sustainable land management are discussed: practices and indicators, monitoring and assessment, spatial analysis and mapping, and soil modeling. Authors claim that these practices are an important tool for policy makers because they rely not only on scientific evidence but also on socio-economic analysis for decision-making.
Perrings, C., Naeem, S., Ahrestani, F., Bunker, D.E., Burkill, P., Canziani, G., & Weisser, W. (2010). Ecosystem Services for 2020. Science, 330(6002), 323-324. doi:10.1126/science.1196431
This article discusses how ecosystem services can be utilized to reduce biodiversity loss. Strategic goals are listed, and the authors urge that targets for 2020 should be focused on the highest priority threats to ecosystem services. The article also points out the need for collective action in identifying and implementing biodiversity targets. Written before its eventual formation, the ultimate goal was to establish the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to facilitate collaborative and structured management of changes in the biosphere.Open access »
Piccolo, J.J. (2017). Intrinsic values in nature: Objective good or simply half of an unhelpful dichotomy? Journal for Nature Conservation, 37, 8-11. doi:10.1016/j.jnc.2017.02.007
This article calls for the recognition of intrinsic values in nature as the basis of conservation biology, instead of viewing natural resources such as commodities for extraction and abuse. The article discusses environmental ethics and how people view and relate to nature. The author argues that recognizing intrinsic natural values carries with it an obligation to protect the public good.Open access »
Polasky, S., Nelson, E., Pennington, D., & Johnson, K.A. (2011). The Impact of Land-Use Change on Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Returns to Landowners: A Case Study in the State of Minnesota. Environmental Resource Economics, 48, 219-242. doi:10.1007/s10640-010-9407-0
Ecosystem services provision on private land can be valuated through the program Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST). InVEST uses maps and land use data to calculate potential values of ecosystem services and land use scenarios based on different ecosystem inputs and outcomes. For example, InVEST can evaluate how reduced phosphorus (input) might impact private farmland and public waterways (outcome). Land managers, private landowners, and policy-makers can use the program to weigh different ecosystem services, biodiversity considerations, and other land-use considerations.
Posner, S.M., McKenzie, E., & Ricketts, T.H. (2016). Policy Impacts of Ecosystem Services Knowledge. PNAS, 113(7), 1760-1765. doi:10.1073/pnas.1502452113
This article considers how policy makers use ecosystem service knowledge. A global pool was taken on similar ecosystem services for the study to see how use in decision-making varied. Researchers found that legitimacy of knowledge is more often associated with impact than is the salience of that knowledge. Many factors were found to be important, but aspects of science-to-policy processes tended to most enhance legitimacy and best explain the impact of ecosystem services science on decision-making. The purpose of this article is to show how ecosystem services knowledge can be used to understand factors that tend to enhance the impact of ecosystem services knowledge on policy.Open access »
Potter, C.A., & Wolf, S.A. (2014). Payments for ecosystem services in relation to US and UK agri-environmental policy: disruptive neoliberal innovation or hybrid policy adaptation? Agricultural Human Values, 31, 397-408. doi:10.1007/s10460-014-9518-2
Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is, generally, a voluntary program offering payment to farmers, foresters, and land managers to make land-use decisions to promote ecosystem services. Agri-environmental policy (AEP), however, exclusively compensates farmers for changing their land use practices and for changes in their income due to the new management practices that provide ecosystem services. AEP is beneficial because it considers the “whole farm” and “landscape-level management,” which incorporates considerations of water quality, biodiversity, and soil health into farm planning. AEP also promotes rural development and protects working lands by considering the protection of land and continuation of farming as an ecosystem service. Thus, AEP “decouples” farming from ecosystem services payments by providing income additional to agricultural profit.Open access »
Presnall, C., López-Hoffman, L., & Miller, M.L. (2015). Adding ecosystem services to environmental impact analyses: More sequins on a “bloated elvis” or rockin’ idea? Ecological Economics, 115, 29-38. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.02.001
The article considers the potential for incorporating ecosystem services into land management decisions, with a focus on the case study of the U.S. Forest Service as an example on the federal agency level. The authors surveyed over 500 U.S. Forest Service professionals about incorporating ecosystem services in environmental impact analysis processes. Results show that while 41% of the respondents were not familiar with the concept of ecosystem services, a majority thought that ecosystem services could be helpful in the environmental impact analysis process under NEPA. The article calls for clarification of the ecosystem services framework, metrics, and guidance.
Pretty, J.N., Thompson, J. & Hinchcliffe, F. (1996). Sustainable Agriculture: Increasing Food Production and Food Security. International Institute for Environment and Development, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Programme
This article considers the impact of global human population growth on the intensity of agricultural production systems and demand for natural resources. Authors compare five perspectives on food security and agricultural methodology, focusing on reality that there are such divergent understandings of how to sustainably grow food, manage resources, and sustain a growing population.
Reed, M. S., Moxey, A., Prager, K., Hanley, N., Skates, J., Bonn, A., & Thomson, K. (2014). Improving the link between payments and the provision of ecosystem services in agri-environment schemes. Ecosystem Services, 9, 44-53. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.06.008
This article presents the argument that agri-environment schemes could be significantly improved by revising their structure to incorporate spatially-targeted and outcome-based payments. The authors claim that such reform under the Common Agricultural Policy in Europe would result in increased economic efficiency, but they also describe challenges to implementation and analyze benefits and consequences of various options for resolving these problems. One of several interesting proposals included in the article is the blending of public and private funding for payment for ecosystem services schemes.Open access »
Ribaudo, M., Greene, C., Hansen, L., & Hellerstein, D. (2010). Ecosystem services from agriculture: Steps for expanding markets. Ecological Economics, 69(11), 2085-2092. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.02.004
This article considers the feasibility of ecosystem services markets as a mechanism to increase private investment in ecosystem services produced by farmers. The authors argue that without markets, farmers do not receive price signals for non-commodity ecosystem services and so those services are under-provided to society. The analysis contemplates six types of markets for ecosystem services – water trading, wetland mitigation, carbon cap-and-trade, over-the-counter carbon, eco-labeling, and fee hunting. Conclusions are drawn from these and recommendations presented for how to create an effective market to trigger provision of ecosystem services in agriculture.
Ricketts, T.H., Watson, K.B., Koh, I., Ellis, A.M., Nicholson, C.C., Posner, S., Richardson, L.L., & Sonter, L.J. (2016). Disaggregating the evidence linking biodiversity and ecosystem services. Nature Communications, 7(13106), 1-8. doi:10.101038/ncomms13106
This article examines and organizes existing literature on ecosystem services based on similar characteristics. Three categories – linkage groups – are identified: functional, spatial, and management. Spatial linkages compare levels of biodiversity and ecosystem services across space. Management linkages compare responses of biodiversity and ecosystem services to the same management intervention. Functional linkages test whether or not ecosystem services are a mechanistic function of biodiversity.Open access »
Robertson, M., BenDor, T. K., Lave, R., Riggsbee, A., Ruhl, J.B., Doyle, M. (2014). Stacking Ecosystem Services. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12(3), 186-193. doi:10.1890/110292
This article provides an overview of credit stacking and considers the complex issues associated with this type of scheme. Authors also discuss legal issues like property rights in the article and consider how market-based approaches to payment schemes interact with the subsequent establishment of property rights associated with these systems. Also mentioned is the example of the REDD+ credit scheme.
Robertson, M.M. (2006). The Nature That Capital Can See: Science, State, and Market in the Commodification of Ecosystem Services. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 24(3), 367-387. doi:10.1068/d3304
This is an in-depth article on the commodification of ecosystem services, the theory of commodification, and how the science of ecosystem services gives rise to commodification. The author, a federal government employee with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, provides recommendations to improve the government’s ability to support ecosystem assessment technicians’ abilities to accurately identify commodity values of ecosystem services in the field.Open access »
Robertson, P., Gross, K. L., & Hamilton, S. K. (2014) Farming for Ecosystem Services: An Ecological Approach to Production Agriculture. BioScience, 64(5), 404-415. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biu037.
Payment for ecosystem services in an agricultural setting can allow society to pay famers for their improvements to the land, through a process called “farming for services.” Farming for services may be most successful through payment for (1) food and fuel, (2) pest control, (3) clean water, (4) climate stabilization through greenhouse gas mitigation, and (5) soil fertility. While these outcomes can be gained through the work farmers already do, the article suggests the success of farming for services depends on “a farmers’ willingness to implement practices that deliver additional services” by offering economic compensation. As such, a farmer’s willingness to implement new practices will likely not be based on an increased yield or benefits of fertile soil to themselves, but on the direct payment, tax abatements, or other financial incentives offered. Thus, as ecosystem services provide for the public good, the public needs to be willing to pay for these services.Open access »
Rundgren, G. (2016). Food: From Commodity to Commons. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 29(1), 103-121. doi:10.1007/s10806-015-9590-7
This article examines historic and contemporary forces that have helped to create our current food system as well as some statistics that describe the outcomes the system has created. There is some brief discussion about existing models of payment for ecosystems services and problems with them. The author takes the position that payments tied to a farmer’s opportunity cost – rather than to the value of the service itself – are most likely to be successful.
Russi, D., Margue, H., Oppermann, R., & Keenleyside, C. (2016). Result-based agri-environment measures: Market-based instruments, incentives or rewards? The case of Baden-Württemberg. Land Use Policy, 54, 69-77. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.01.012
This article compares the effectiveness (environment, economic efficiency, and additionality) of “results-based” and “action-based” agri-environment schemes funded under the EU Common Agricultural Policy, taking the position that results-based schemes are superior in several ways. The authors discuss existing examples of such programs in the EU, with a primary focus on the one in Baden-Wurrtemberg, Germany, which began in 2000. The purpose of the article is to enhance the discourse on how to expand opportunities for results-based programs in Europe.
Rutgers, M., van Wijnen, H.J., Schouten, A.J., Mulder, C., Kuiten, A.M., Brussaard, L., & Breure, A.M. (2012). A Method to Assess Ecosystem Services Developed from Soil Attributes with Stakeholders and Data of Four Arable Farms. Science of The Total Environment, 415, 39–48. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.04.041.
This article documents the development of a model for quantification of ecosystem services and land use planning that can be used to improve soil management. The model was developed and field tested on a diversity of land types and with different types of land users in the Netherlands. The article focuses on soil attributes and ecosystem services for awareness and management assessment.Open access »
Schaefer, M., Goldman, E., Bartuska, A.M., Suttun-Grier, A., & Lubchenco, J. (2015). Nature as capital: Advancing and incorporating ecosystem services in United States federal policies and programs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(24), 7383-7389. doi:10.1073/pnas.1420500112
This article looks at existing federal efforts to incorporate ecosystem services into programs and agency initiatives. It contains a comprehensive list of government efforts up until 2012. Authors discuss the need for intersectional collaboration to design effective programs, top down support for implementation, and better technology for effective monitoring and evaluation.Open access »
Shapiro, C. (2015). Ecosystem services science, practice, and policy: Perspectives from ACES, A Community on Ecosystem Services. Ecological Economics, 115(2015), 1-2. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.04.001
This article provides an overview of the issues that complicate ecosystem services application in practice and policymaking. Specifically, the article mentions the lack of ability to bridge the gap between adequately assigning a dollar value to ecosystem services and how this challenge is one of the issues that underpins our inability to protect existing ecosystem services and to generate more ecosystem services as humans need.
Small, N., Munday, M., & Durance, I. (2017). The challenge of valuing ecosystem services that have no material benefits. Global Environmental Change, 44(2017), 57-67. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.03.005.
This article focuses on the cascading methods of ecosystem services valuation. The method is demonstrated through the example of the nutrient profile of a fish that is consumed by a child. Subsequently, the trophic levels of nutrient intake cascade from biotic form to monetary form based on the nutritional contribution to the child. The article highlights the semantic discord between the terms ‘use’ and ‘value’ where ‘value’ denotes monetary worth, while ‘use’ refers to services that may be non-consumptive in nature.Open access »
Sorice, M.G., Donlan, C.J., Boyle, K.J., Xu, W., & Gelcich, S. (2018). Scaling participation in payments for ecosystem services programs. PLoS ONE 13(3), 1-16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192211
Increasing participation in payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs depends on increasing support, scaling up programs, and offering self-enhancing motives, or financial benefits. PES programs also increase through reinforcing social norms and ecological outcomes that stimulate feelings of belonging, self-determination, and understanding. To increase these programs, PES can be offered in three ways: first, through monetary payments that provide an “external inducement to motivate conservation behavior”; second, through increasing monitoring requirements and enforcing contractual relationships; and third, through outcomes-based approaches that influence participation through self-enhancement and prosocial motivation. Overall, PES systems benefit greatly from strong information feedback between participants and program administrators.Open access »
Stanley, P.L., Beede, D.K., Rowntree, J.E., DeLonge, M.S., & Hamm, M.W. (2018). Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in midwestern USA beef finishing systems. Agricultural Systems, 162, 249-258. doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2018.02.003
This article evaluates the potential of adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing to improve animal and forage productivity and to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) as compared to continuous grazing. A life cycle analysis was carried out on two beef finishing systems – one using AMP and the other feedlot-finishing (FL) – in the Midwest. The analysis used on-farm data to examine the soil organic carbon sequestration on net greenhouse gas emissions. Results show that AMP records a negative finishing GHG emission while FL records a positive finishing GHG emission. This suggests there is potential of AMP grazing to support climate change mitigation through soil carbon sequestration.Open access »
Stavi, I., Bel, G., & Zaady, E. (2016). Soil functions and ecosystem services in conventional, conservation, and integrated agricultural systems. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 36(2), 32. doi:10.1007/s13593-016-0368-8
This is a study on the relationships between soil functions and ecosystem services in different farming models – conventional, conservation, and integrated agricultural systems. The authors conclude from their study that there is great potential for moderate-intensity and integrated farming to support both global food security and environmental quality through the provision of ecosystem services.Open access »
Teague, W. (2018). Forages and Pastures Symposium: Cover Crops in Livestock Production: Whole-System Approach: Managing Grazing to Restore Soil Health and Farm Livelihoods. Journal of Animal Science, 96(4), 1519 – 1530. doi:10.1093.
This article focuses on the valuation and monetization of ecosystem services with the spatial simulation model and the paddock forage quality model. The spatial simulation model was developed using research that showed conservation farming produced resource and economic improvements. This method shows that sufficient grazing on enough paddocks in addition to adequate recovery yield resource improvement and the best economic results. The paddock model focuses on lessening grazing impacts on watersheds. A number of other models are introduced in the article and compared. Authors call for policy support for these tools.Open access »
Teague, W.R., Apfelbaum, S., Lal, R., Kreuter, U.P., Rowntree, J., Davies, C., Cosner, R.,…Byck, P. (2016). The Role of Ruminants in Reducing Agriculture’s Carbon Footprint in North America. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 71(2), 156-164. doi:10.2489/jswc.71.2.156
Regenerative crops and functional grazing management can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can produce beneficial ecosystem services such as soil carbon sequestration. This article claims that permanent ground cover can help reduce soil erosion and that better ruminant grazing management can result in more carbon sequestration – sufficient to outweigh harm caused by methane emissions from livestock. Authors conclude that agricultural production needs to shift to more sustainable land management, and policies need to include the promotion of ruminant grazing to help support carbon sequestration and more resilient agroecosystems.Open access »
Tilman, D., Cassman, K.G., Matson, P.A., Naylor, R., & Polasky, S. (2002). Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices. Nature, 418(6898), 671-677. doi: 10.1038/nature01014
This article looks at different models of government incentive payments to support sustainable farming practices. Authors suggest a redirection of funding from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in order to create a system of ‘green payments’ to farmers who adopt sustainable or environmentally friendly farming practices. Other models of payment are consumer incentives, such as pricing and labeling livestock-based products to reflect the true total costs of production. Authors claim that internalizing these costs into the price a consumer pays can incentivize consumers to purchase sustainably produced food. The article focuses on the problem of large scale industrial agriculture – that it degrades soil quality, contributes to eutrophication of aquatic habitats and requires the burden of increased fertilization, irrigation and energy to maintain productivity on depleted soils.Open access »
This is a fact sheet about soil function, included here because its content is so widely circulated and cited. Included are the four soil health principles taught by the Natural Resources Conservation Service: minimize disturbance, maximize soil cover, increase diversity above and below the ground, and maintain the presence of living roots. This source also provides an overview of the benefits of healthy soil.Open access »
Ventrubova, K., & Dvorak, P. (2012). Legal framework for payments for forest ecosystem services in the Czech Republic. Journal of Forest Science, 58(3): 131-136.
Payment for ecosystem services (PES) for forest-based ecosystems requires, at minimum, a voluntary, conditional agreement between a seller and a buyer. The article proposed four classifications of PES: (1) public payment schemes, in which a government agency acts as the buyer, (2) trading between buyers and sellers with a regulatory floor and a cap, or cap and trade, (3) private-market based deals, with the beneficiaries of the services directly working with providers, and (4) certification programs, where the market pays a premium for a “label.” These four schemes for PES are best implemented amongst private property owners and with the use of contracts, or legally binding agreements.Open access »
Wendland, K. J., Honzák, M., Portela, R., Vitale, B., Rubinoff, S., & Randrianarisoa, J. (2010). Targeting and implementing payments for ecosystem services: Opportunities for bundling biodiversity conservation with carbon and water services in Madagascar. Ecological Economics, 69(2010), 2093-2107. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.01.002
This article defines payment for ecosystem services using five criteria: (1) they are a voluntary transaction; (2) they involve a well-defined environmental service; (3) the service is “bought” by at least one buyer; (4) the service is “provided” by at least one provider; and (5) the transaction is conditional on provision of that service. Available tools for payment are direct public payments, direct private payments, tax incentives, cap and trade markets, voluntary markets, or certification programs. The geographic area of focus is Madagascar, which is experiencing loss in forestry reserves and biodiversity due to industrial interests in harvesting natural resources.Open access »
Wood, S.A., Karp, D.S., DeClerck, F., Kremen, C., Naeem, S., & Palm, C.A. (2015). Functional Traits in Agriculture: Agrobiodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 30(9), 531–539. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2015.06.013
This article highlights the importance of expanding research on functional traits in ecosystems and agroecology. The authors argue that more research is needed to develop greater understanding of how ecosystem services vary amongst different environments and farm practices, and of what factors impact these services. With more information, farmers and decision-makers can better predict outcomes and make informed decisions for better agricultural and ecological management.Open access »
Wunder, S. (2005). Payments for environmental services: Some nuts and bolts. Center for International Forestry Research, Occasional Paper 42. doi:10.17528/cifor/001760
This article discusses the PES concept, its potentials and pitfalls, and relevant terminology. More importantly, the author offers what has become one of the most widely adopted definitions for PES in the literature. The author expresses concern about the trend in Latin America towards forcibly linking poverty alleviation efforts with conservation efforts. The article also highlights the main characteristics that distinguish PES from other conservation measures – and those that distinguish one PES scheme from another. Using primarily forest examples, the article provides recommendations of issues that should be considered when designing a payment scheme as well as questions that should be answered in advance.Open access »
Yang, W., Dietz, T., Liu, W., Luo, J., & Liu, J. (2013). Going Beyond the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: An Index System of Human Dependence on Ecosystem Services. PLoS ONE 8(5), 676 – 687. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064581
The Index of Dependence on Ecosystem Services system (IDES) can be used to measure the degree of human dependence on ecosystem services. IDES first focuses on the inputs and costs of ecosystem services, such as seeds, fertilizers, and other agricultural inputs, and the net benefits, rather than gross benefits, to better understand the costs of the services. IDES is offered as beneficial because it measures both the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of ecosystem services and the dependence of humans on those services.Open access »
Yang, Y., Wang, L., Yang, Z., Xu, C., Xie, J., Chen, G., & Lin, T. (2018). Large Ecosystem Service Benefits of Assisted Natural Regeneration. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 123(2), 676-687. doi:10.1002/2017jg004267
This article presents a study that attempted to quantify the ecosystem services provided in forests by using assisted natural regeneration (ANR). The study was conducted in Fujian Province, China because China manages the largest monoculture plantations in the world and Chinese fir plantations are the world’s most substantial plantation by acreage. The authors conducted comprehensive field manipulation experiments to compare key ecosystem services in secondary forests dominated by Castanopsis carlesii to ecosystem services on Chinese fir and C. carlesii plantations. Results show that ANR in C. carlesii forests – compared to plantations – leads to higher reduction in surface runoff, sediment yield, export of dissolved organic carbon and greater increase in plant diversity.Open access »
Young, R.F. (2013). Mainstreaming urban ecosystem services: A national survey of municipal foresters. Urban Ecosystems, 16, 703-722. doi:10.1007/s11252-013-0287-2
This study surveyed municipal staff managing city owned forest lands about how they perceived their own efforts to produce ecosystem services on public lands they manage. Results show that municipal forest managers believe they are producing ecosystem services through their management.
Zhang, W., Ricketts, T.H., Kremen, C., Carney, K., & Swinton, S.M. (2007). Ecosystem Services and Dis-Services to Agriculture. Ecological Economics, 64(2), 253–260. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.02.024
This article discusses the ecosystem services that agriculture can provide and how ecosystem services can contribute to agricultural productivity. Further, the article addresses the negative impacts that the depletion of ecosystem services can have on agriculture. The authors call for policy-relevant, multidisciplinary, and collaborate research on managing for ecosystem services on agricultural landscapes to support the provision of ecosystem services by agricultural managers.Open access »
Zhou, J., Sun, L., Zang, S.Y., Wang, K., Zhao, J.Y., Li, Z.X., & Liu, X.R. (2017). Effects of the land use change on ecosystem service value. Global Journal of Environmental Science Management, 3(2), 121-130. doi:10.22034/gjesm.2017.03.02.001
This study looked at land use change from 1995 to 2015 in China to assess the total change in the dollar amount of ecosystem services provided by the land included in the study. Dollar values were assigned to categories of land use and the amounts of each category present on the landscapes during the years examined were used to determine total ecosystem service value. The study found a decrease in total value over the study period.Open access »