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The governance of ecosystem services from tropical upland watersheds

Authors
Journal
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
1877-3435
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
1
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2009.07.008
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Political Science

Abstract

Upland watersheds in the tropics provide a range of crucial ecosystem goods and services. How they are governed can be crucial to human well-being and environmental sustainability. Communities, governments and firms have taken many different approaches to sharing these benefits, negotiating trade-offs between them, and allocating the risks and burdens if services are degraded or lost. This review of policies and projects draws four initial conclusions: (1) multi-stakeholder planning improves the assessment of underappreciated services and users, but does not eliminate importance of power relations; (2) regulations invariably create winners and losers with outcomes that often depend on pre-existing institutions; (3) information and incentives can change behaviours and are therefore important complement to plans and regulations; (4) monitoring is the least well developed area of governance. Many challenges in integrating ecological and social understanding remain.

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