An optimist’s guide to managing ecosystem services

Keynote Lecture Series: “An optimist’s guide to managing ecosystem services”

Wednesday, 6th September 2017 – 17:30 to 20:30
The Edinburgh Room (QA075)
Queen Anne Court
University of Greenwich
30 Park Row
SE10 9LS

This Valuing Nature Keynote Lecture will be given by Tom Oliver, Associate Professor in Landscape Ecology at the University of Reading. This 45 minute lecture will be followed by a panel discussion, Q&A and light refreshments. Members of the panel are Georgina Mace, Michael Winter, Charles Godfray and Rob Fish.

Please find more information here: 

Lecture Abstract

“Traditional conservation based on moral imperatives hasn’t worked. The new paradigm in conservation is to engage, rather than shun, the neoliberal market system by quantitatively integrating the value of nature into economic decision making.  Ecosystem services provided by nature are measured and this information is brought to bear on land use decisions, increasingly through monetary valuation”. We might think that this is a rational, pragmatic approach to conservation, compared to the naive optimism of ‘traditional’ approaches. Yet, is it equally idealistic? For example, how do we pick and prioritise which ecosystem services we want in a given location? How do we measure all the services that are important for society, not just a select few that are more amenable to measurement? How can we value and plan for the resilience of ecosystem services under environmental perturbations (e.g. extreme weather events, disease outbreaks etc.) that are likely to occur in the future? In this lively presentation, I will use selected scientific examples to make the case that seeking solely a quantitative economic approach to ecosystem service management is naïve and unrealistic. A reality check is needed, because whilst the advancement of quantitative accounting and valuation methodologies is still necessary, there is an urgent need to look towards more systemic and transdisciplinary approaches if we are to safeguard essential biodiversity and ecosystem services under accelerating global change in the Anthropocene.

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