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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Beware ecosystem services for conservation Seminar

8 March 2017
Shackleton Building, Lecture Theatre B

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Nathaniel O'Grady at N.O' .

Event details

Ecosystem services have been taken up by academia, GO's and NGO's around the world as a solution to degradation of ecosystems, as an alleviator of poverty, a mitigator of climate change and natural hazards, a funder of conservation and a key tool towards greater sustainability. Indeed some large conservation organisations previously focused on biodiversity have turned there focus almost entirely to nature's benefits to people. Ecosystems services is a heavily loaded bandwagon. In this seminar I use analyses with sophisticated spatial policy support systems "WaterWorld" and "Co$ting Nature" to provide examples of the dangers of focusing on ecosystem services as a reason to protect ecosystems and conclude that conservationists in particular have to beware of relying on ecosystem service value as a means of conservation. WaterWorld and Co$tingNature are big-data tools which bring together a range of detailed spatial datasets and process-based models for mapping of baseline potential and realized ecosystem services, and the impacts of scenarios for land use and climate change and of proposed policy interventions. The tools have a long history and are widely used by more than 1200 organisations in 141 countries. They facilitate a better understanding of the Geography of ecosystem services and the interactions of service supply and demand. In this way they help point out the dangers of the ecosystem service approach as well as the benefits. There are cases where focusing on ecosystem services for conservation is the right approach and others where it is not. We will look at both.

Speaker information

Dr Mark Mulligan, King's College London. Reader in Geography and Senior Fellow UNEP-WCMC

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