Identifying governance challenges in ecosystem services management – Conceptual considerations and comparison of global forest cases

Falk, T and Spangenberg, J H and Siegmund-Schultze, M and Kobbe, S and Feike, T and Kuebler, D and Settele, J and Vorlaufer, T (2018) Identifying governance challenges in ecosystem services management – Conceptual considerations and comparison of global forest cases. Ecosystem Services (TSI), 32 (B). pp. 193-203. ISSN 22120416

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Ecosystems around the world generate a wide range of services. Often, there are trade-offs in ecosystem service provision. Managing such trade-offs requires governance of interdependent action situations. We distinguished between (1) enhancing action situations where beneficiaries create, maintain, or improve an ESS and (2) appropriation action situations where actors subtract from a flow of ESS. We classified ESSs in order to identify focal action situations and link them to ESS governance types which are likely to strengthen sustainable ecosystem management. The classification is applied to six forest cases in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Our results confirm that ecosystem management, which more strongly supports the provision of public goods and common pool resources, is often under strong pressure to be transformed into systems that mainly provide private goods. This can be partly explained by incentive constellations in the action situations of public goods and common pool resources. Therefore, governance has to be adapted to specific ESSs. ESS governance needs to identify institutions which best fit to different ESSs and to harmonize them for all the ESSs provided by the system. Our approach helps to understand why institutions fail or succeed in maintaining ESSs.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social-ecological systems, Action situations, Institutional fit, Forest ecosystems, Case comparison, Online diagnostic tool, Ecosystem services, Ecosystem services management, Governance challenges, Case study
Subjects: Others
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2018 09:20
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 09:20
Official URL:
Funders: German Federal Ministry for Education and Research
Acknowledgement: We thank the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research for funding this research under the Sustainable Land Management funding measure through the following projects: INNOVATE (01LL0904A), SuMaRiO (01LL0918J), LEGATO (01LL0917A-01LL0917O), SuLaMa (01LL0914A), TFO (01LL0912A) and SASSCAL (01LG1201B). All case experts thank their project teams for the background information provided. Special acknowledgements go to all involved stakeholders for their time and support. The cases and scenario descriptions reflect their knowledge. We thank Praveen T Reddy and Abhishek Rathore of the Breeding Informatics Unit of the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics for the technical implementation of the online diagnostic tool. We thank Eeva Primmer and two anonymous reviewers for their very constructive and helpful suggestions.
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