Does using the ecosystem services concept provoke the risk of assigning virtual prices instead of real values to nature? Some reflections on the benefit of ecosystem services for planning and policy consulting

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Abstract

This forum article intends to discuss the question if using the ecosystem services concept in planning, management and decision-making can impair nature conservation objectives by hiding the intrinsic values of nature through overemphasizing monetary aspects in environmental assessments. The conclusion is drawn that using ecosystem services in a holistic social-ecological system understanding would help to overcome justified criticisms of a too narrow perspective on the real values of nature.

The article is referring to and reflecting some thoughts and criticism of “Concerns about the use of ES as a tool for nature conservation: From misleading concepts to providing a price for nature, but not a value” by Morelli and Moller (2015).

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