Ecosystem Services in practice
The concept of Ecosystem Services is intergrated in different levels in the environmental conservation work. But how does it work in practice? In a newly published article, experiences of using the concept in a practical way are summarized.
The recently published article ''A thousand flowers are flowering just now" – Towards integration of the ecosystem services concept into decision making" by researchers Blicharska and Hilding-Rydevik at CBM, clearly shows that turning what was initially aimed to serve as a pedagogic concept into e.g. maps, numbers and presentations in formal formats in Ecosystem Service (ES) assessments and integrating it into organisations at large is a challenge, although the practice of ES seems to already meet many of the positive expectations.
The conclusions are based on interviews with actors in six types of public and private organisations. Included is different tables summarizing a broad array of experiences and ways ES contributes to planning and decision making.
The results show that the EU and Swedish policies on ES have inspired a number of environmental actors to initiate work with ES in the Swedish planning and decision making context. Implementation of the ES concept seems thus to have gained momentum in going from policy formulations to some kind of practice. This development is, however, still in its initial phase. Various actors try out different definitions, approaches and methods. This happens simultaneously at different governance levels and in different types of organisations and is perceived as ''a thousand flowers flowering" without national level co-ordination. There exist however a number of question marks and development needs in order for ES to become a meaningful tool in different planning and decision making contexts which is described and discussed in the article.
The article ''A thousand flowers are flowering just now" – Towards integration of the ecosystem services concept into decision making" is published in Ecosystem services, April 2018.
Tuija Hilding-Rydevik is professor in Environmental Assessment and director of Swedish Biodiversity Centre.
Malgorzata Blicharska is Associate Professor, now at Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University.