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1.2 WHAT is the Ecosystem Services Approach?

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Many of us may now live in towns and cities and feel distanced from nature but we are all nevertheless dependant to a significant extent on the services and benefits that nature provides.

Over the past couple of decades, new ways of thinking have slowly begun to filter through into new ways of managing and governing the natural environment which emphasise integrated, holistic approaches that are able to combine ecological, economic and social considerations and recognise the value of local as well as scientific knowledge. These new ways of thinking about, and doing environmental management are often referred to as the Ecosystem Approach.


1 2 MaltbyEcosystemApproach

Figure: Overlapping objectives of the Ecosystem Approach and desired outcomes adapted from Maltby [2006Resource].

The Ecosystem Services Approach looks at the natural world in terms of how it provides the things people need and want.

The Ecosystem Services Approach is a tool to identify ecosystem services and assess how the associated benefits are linked to ecosystem processes, habitats and species. These services and benefits can be valued in terms of their contribution to our economic, social and cultural wellbeing.

In marine areas, ecosystem service assessment and valuation can support management by contributing to better decision making that takes into consideration the ecological, economic and societal importance of healthy seas.

1 2 YourInvoice“Your invoice”: A humorous multimedia feature about the value of nature. TEEB ( partnered with Mofilm ( to host a film competition to communicate "Why nature is so precious." Your Invoice by Karen Erbach won 3rd prize.

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