Exploring ecosystem services
Ecosystem services are the benefits mankind derives from ecosystems, or our natural resources. Following the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) by the United Nations in 2005, the concept can be certain of attracting a great deal of interest.
In spite of the economic importance of ecosystems, these natural resources are still being used in ways that are not sustainable. A significant reason for this is the structural undervaluing of ecosystems worldwide. By identifying more clearly the various dimensions that are involved, it will be easier to assess the value of natural resources and to formulate appropriate policies aimed at preserving them.
The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) has been evaluating ecosystems for some time. Thanks to the interdisciplinary character of the institute, it is relatively simple to overcome the complexity of ecosystem services.
The most important disciplines like economics, spatial sciences, and public administration and public policy studies are represented under one roof which has meant that in recent years, various influential studies have been conducted, leading not only to scientific publications, but also to policy changes.
In spite of the increasing international popularity of the notion of ecosystem services, it is not very widely applied in Dutch environmental policies. There is therefore a great need to highlight experiences and expertise in the field in order to generate interest and support among policy makers in the Netherlands.
With its ‘Exploring Ecosystem Services’ project, the IVM is seeking to develop an analytical framework with which ecosystem service applications can be demonstrated in the context of Dutch policies. The end products of this flagship project include a national workshop, a case study in Surinam, scientific publications and course material for Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes at VU University Amsterdam.
For more information, please go to ecosystem services.
This is a research project of the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM).