Why Should Ecosystem Services be Used for Poverty Alleviation?

2015 - 2017

Project status: Complete

Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Science of the Environment & Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (espa)

This research aimed to find the answer to a fundamental question: why should ecosystem services be used for poverty alleviation?

Ecosystem services do not automatically benefit poor people, but have been demonstrated to accrue to better-off and more powerful actors, and although many environmental interventions continue to take place in settings characterised by entrenched poverty, its the demand and pressure from the non-poor on ecosystem services is predicted to rise in coming decades. It is a particularly timely question for the conservation community, because of active debates about the ‘new conservation’ and the ethical principles underpinning conservation practice.

This project has the potential to provide a step-change in how poverty and the governance of ecosystem services are conceptualised, and in turn, how related trade-offs (human wellbeing vs. non-human nature; current vs. future generations; the poor vs. the greater good of all humans) may be resolved.

University of Edinburgh

– University of East Anglia
– Flora and Fauna International

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