Elasticity in ecosystem services

exploring the variable relationship between ecosystems and human well-being

Tim M. Daw, Christina C. Hicks, Katrina Brown, Tomas Chaigneau, Fraser A. Januchowski-Hartley, William W. L. Cheung, Sergio Rosendo, Beatrice Crona, Sarah Coulthard, Chris Sandbrook, Chris Perry, Salomao Bandeira, Nyawira A. Muthiga, Bjorn Schulte-Herbruggen, Jared Bosire, Tim R. McClanahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although ecosystem services are increasingly recognized as benefits people obtain from nature, we still have a poor understanding of how they actually enhance multidimensional human well-being, and how well-being is affected by ecosystem change. We develop a concept of "ecosystem service elasticity" (ES elasticity) that describes the sensitivity of human well-being to changes in ecosystems. ES Elasticity is a result of complex social and ecological dynamics and is context dependent, individually variable, and likely to demonstrate nonlinear dynamics such as thresholds and hysteresis. We present a conceptual framework that unpacks the chain of causality from ecosystem stocks through flows, goods, value, and shares to contribute to the well-being of different people. This framework builds on previous conceptualizations, but places multidimensional well-being of different people as the final element. This ultimately disaggregated approach emphasizes how different people access benefits and how benefits match their needs or aspirations.

Applying this framework to case studies of individual coastal ecosystem services in East Africa illustrates a wide range of social and ecological factors that can affect ES elasticity. For example, food web and habitat dynamics affect the sensitivity of different fisheries ecosystem services to ecological change. Meanwhile high cultural significance, or lack of alternatives enhance ES elasticity, while social mechanisms that prevent access can reduce elasticity.

Mapping out how chains are interlinked illustrates how different types of value and the well-being of different people are linked to each other and to common ecological stocks. We suggest that examining chains for individual ecosystem services can suggest potential interventions aimed at poverty alleviation and sustainable ecosystems while mapping out of interlinkages between chains can help to identify possible ecosystem service trade-offs and winners and losers. We discuss conceptual and practical challenges of applying such a framework and conclude on its utility as a heuristic for structuring interdisciplinary analysis of ecosystem services and human well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages13
JournalEcology And Society
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Coastal ecosystems
  • Conceptual framework
  • East Africa
  • Environmentalists
  • Fisheries
  • Mangroves
  • Paradox
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Coral-Reefs
  • Conceptual-Framework
  • Conservation
  • Impact
  • Future
  • Biodiversity
  • Management
  • Tradeoffs

Cite this

Daw, T. M., Hicks, C. C., Brown, K., Chaigneau, T., Januchowski-Hartley, F. A., Cheung, W. W. L., ... McClanahan, T. R. (2016). Elasticity in ecosystem services: exploring the variable relationship between ecosystems and human well-being. Ecology And Society, 21(2), [11]. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-08173-210211
Daw, Tim M. ; Hicks, Christina C. ; Brown, Katrina ; Chaigneau, Tomas ; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A. ; Cheung, William W. L. ; Rosendo, Sergio ; Crona, Beatrice ; Coulthard, Sarah ; Sandbrook, Chris ; Perry, Chris ; Bandeira, Salomao ; Muthiga, Nyawira A. ; Schulte-Herbruggen, Bjorn ; Bosire, Jared ; McClanahan, Tim R. / Elasticity in ecosystem services : exploring the variable relationship between ecosystems and human well-being. In: Ecology And Society. 2016 ; Vol. 21, No. 2.
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Daw, TM, Hicks, CC, Brown, K, Chaigneau, T, Januchowski-Hartley, FA, Cheung, WWL, Rosendo, S, Crona, B, Coulthard, S, Sandbrook, C, Perry, C, Bandeira, S, Muthiga, NA, Schulte-Herbruggen, B, Bosire, J & McClanahan, TR 2016, 'Elasticity in ecosystem services: exploring the variable relationship between ecosystems and human well-being', Ecology And Society, vol. 21, no. 2, 11. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-08173-210211

Elasticity in ecosystem services : exploring the variable relationship between ecosystems and human well-being. / Daw, Tim M.; Hicks, Christina C.; Brown, Katrina; Chaigneau, Tomas; Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.; Cheung, William W. L.; Rosendo, Sergio; Crona, Beatrice; Coulthard, Sarah; Sandbrook, Chris; Perry, Chris; Bandeira, Salomao; Muthiga, Nyawira A.; Schulte-Herbruggen, Bjorn; Bosire, Jared; McClanahan, Tim R.

In: Ecology And Society, Vol. 21, No. 2, 11, 2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Elasticity in ecosystem services

T2 - exploring the variable relationship between ecosystems and human well-being

AU - Daw, Tim M.

AU - Hicks, Christina C.

AU - Brown, Katrina

AU - Chaigneau, Tomas

AU - Januchowski-Hartley, Fraser A.

AU - Cheung, William W. L.

AU - Rosendo, Sergio

AU - Crona, Beatrice

AU - Coulthard, Sarah

AU - Sandbrook, Chris

AU - Perry, Chris

AU - Bandeira, Salomao

AU - Muthiga, Nyawira A.

AU - Schulte-Herbruggen, Bjorn

AU - Bosire, Jared

AU - McClanahan, Tim R.

N1 - UID/SOC/04647/2013; PIRSES-GA-2013-612615

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N2 - Although ecosystem services are increasingly recognized as benefits people obtain from nature, we still have a poor understanding of how they actually enhance multidimensional human well-being, and how well-being is affected by ecosystem change. We develop a concept of "ecosystem service elasticity" (ES elasticity) that describes the sensitivity of human well-being to changes in ecosystems. ES Elasticity is a result of complex social and ecological dynamics and is context dependent, individually variable, and likely to demonstrate nonlinear dynamics such as thresholds and hysteresis. We present a conceptual framework that unpacks the chain of causality from ecosystem stocks through flows, goods, value, and shares to contribute to the well-being of different people. This framework builds on previous conceptualizations, but places multidimensional well-being of different people as the final element. This ultimately disaggregated approach emphasizes how different people access benefits and how benefits match their needs or aspirations.Applying this framework to case studies of individual coastal ecosystem services in East Africa illustrates a wide range of social and ecological factors that can affect ES elasticity. For example, food web and habitat dynamics affect the sensitivity of different fisheries ecosystem services to ecological change. Meanwhile high cultural significance, or lack of alternatives enhance ES elasticity, while social mechanisms that prevent access can reduce elasticity.Mapping out how chains are interlinked illustrates how different types of value and the well-being of different people are linked to each other and to common ecological stocks. We suggest that examining chains for individual ecosystem services can suggest potential interventions aimed at poverty alleviation and sustainable ecosystems while mapping out of interlinkages between chains can help to identify possible ecosystem service trade-offs and winners and losers. We discuss conceptual and practical challenges of applying such a framework and conclude on its utility as a heuristic for structuring interdisciplinary analysis of ecosystem services and human well-being.

AB - Although ecosystem services are increasingly recognized as benefits people obtain from nature, we still have a poor understanding of how they actually enhance multidimensional human well-being, and how well-being is affected by ecosystem change. We develop a concept of "ecosystem service elasticity" (ES elasticity) that describes the sensitivity of human well-being to changes in ecosystems. ES Elasticity is a result of complex social and ecological dynamics and is context dependent, individually variable, and likely to demonstrate nonlinear dynamics such as thresholds and hysteresis. We present a conceptual framework that unpacks the chain of causality from ecosystem stocks through flows, goods, value, and shares to contribute to the well-being of different people. This framework builds on previous conceptualizations, but places multidimensional well-being of different people as the final element. This ultimately disaggregated approach emphasizes how different people access benefits and how benefits match their needs or aspirations.Applying this framework to case studies of individual coastal ecosystem services in East Africa illustrates a wide range of social and ecological factors that can affect ES elasticity. For example, food web and habitat dynamics affect the sensitivity of different fisheries ecosystem services to ecological change. Meanwhile high cultural significance, or lack of alternatives enhance ES elasticity, while social mechanisms that prevent access can reduce elasticity.Mapping out how chains are interlinked illustrates how different types of value and the well-being of different people are linked to each other and to common ecological stocks. We suggest that examining chains for individual ecosystem services can suggest potential interventions aimed at poverty alleviation and sustainable ecosystems while mapping out of interlinkages between chains can help to identify possible ecosystem service trade-offs and winners and losers. We discuss conceptual and practical challenges of applying such a framework and conclude on its utility as a heuristic for structuring interdisciplinary analysis of ecosystem services and human well-being.

KW - Coastal ecosystems

KW - Conceptual framework

KW - East Africa

KW - Environmentalists

KW - Fisheries

KW - Mangroves

KW - Paradox

KW - Poverty Alleviation

KW - Coral-Reefs

KW - Conceptual-Framework

KW - Conservation

KW - Impact

KW - Future

KW - Biodiversity

KW - Management

KW - Tradeoffs

U2 - 10.5751/ES-08173-210211

DO - 10.5751/ES-08173-210211

M3 - Article

VL - 21

JO - Ecology And Society

JF - Ecology And Society

SN - 1708-3087

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ER -