press release, 12. January 2016
Ecosystem services research and stakeholder involvement: between theories and practice
What do people value, why and how? This should be a leading question in sustainability research, but putting it into practise can be tricky. A new paper published in the journal Ecosystem Services looks at how to improve stakeholder participation in the research on and governance of ecosystem services (ESS) as a stepping stone to more comprehensive and participatory research practises.
Stakeholder participation in the governance of ecosystem services (ESS) is conceptually necessary, especially in the light of the failure of monetary valuation to provide assessment instruments suitable as policy guidance. To answer the Whys and Hows of ESS research real involvement and participation of stakeholders has proven to be a more valuable tool.
Building upon experience from transdisciplinary research projects in Asia, Africa and Europe, the new paper argues that successful participation depends on the specific socio-cultural context and requires different means and modes of participation during different project phases.
The paper provides a useful overview of tested methods, with their pros and cons listed. Alongside the challenges on the basis of different projects experiences, the research also outlines the ways in which good project coordination can help for such difficulties to be anticipated and handled. The main conclusions and recommendations are extracted in five core lessons, with regards to:
- Target groups
- Limits to economic valuation.
Joachim H. Spangenberg, Christoph Görg, Josef Settele: "Stakeholder involvement in ESS research and governance: Between conceptual ambition and practical experiences - risks, challenges and tested tools", Ecosystem Services, Volume 16, December 2015, Pages 201-211, ISSN 2212-0416, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.10.006.
This paper benefitted from the experience in transdisciplinary research projects over the last 20 years, in particular the EU FP 6 Integrated Project "ALARM", "LEGATO" (German Ministry for Education and Research), "EO-Miners" (EU FP 7), "APPEAL", "EJOLT" (EU FP7), "ENRI" (ESF European Science Foundation), "DEEDS" (EU Leonardo da Vinci Programme), "SUSTRAT" (EU FP5) and earlier projects.
Dr. Joachim Spangenberg
UFZ-Department Community Ecology
UFZ press office
Phone: +49 341 235-1630
In the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), scientists conduct research into the causes and consequences of far-reaching environmental changes. Their areas of study cover water resources, ecosystems of the future, environmental technologies and biotechnologies, the effects of chemicals in the environment, modelling and social-scientific issues. The UFZ employs more than 1,100 staff at its sites in Leipzig, Halle and Magdeburg. It is funded by the Federal Government, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.www.ufz.de
The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy; Earth and Environment; Health; Key Technologies; Matter; and Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With some 39,000 employees in 19 research centres, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation.www.helmholtz.de