Use of ecosystem services economic valuation for decision making: Questioning a literature blindspot

Abstract : Ecosystem Services economic Valuation (ESV) is often seen as a tool that can potentially enhance our collective choices regarding ecosystem services as it factors in the costs and benefits of their degradation. Yet, to achieve this, the social processes leading to decisions need to use ESV effectively. This makes it necessary to understand if and how ESV is or is not used by decision-makers. However, there appears to be a literature blindspot as to the issue of the Use of Ecosystem Services economic Valuation (UESV). This paper proposes a systematic review on UESV in peer-reviewed scientific literature. It shows that this literature gives little attention to this issue and rarely reports cases where ESV has been put to actual use, even though such use is frequently referred to as founding the goal and justification of ESV. The review identifies three categories of potential UESV: decisive, technical and informative, which are usually mentioned as prospects for the valuations published. Two sets of hypotheses are examined to explain this result: either the use of ESV is a common practice, but is absent from the literature reviewed here; or the use of ESV is effectively rare. These hypotheses are discussed and open up further avenues of research which should make the actual use of ESV their core concern. Highlights ► The paper addresses the Use of Ecosystem Services economic Valuation (UESV) for decision-making. ► It reviews treatment of UESV in hundreds of peer-reviewed papers. ► UESV is hardly addressed in the selected literature. ► The most commonly mentioned UESV is “informative” rather than “decisive” or technical. ► Hypotheses and research avenues are classified and discussed.
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Yann Laurans, Aleksandar Rankovic, Raphaël Billé, Romain Pirard, Laurent Mermet. Use of ecosystem services economic valuation for decision making: Questioning a literature blindspot. Journal of Environmental Management, Elsevier, 2013, 119, pp.208 - 219. ⟨10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.01.008⟩. ⟨hal-01567611⟩



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