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Just Ecosystem Management: Linking Ecosystem Services with Poverty Alleviation

DEV Key Contact: Thomas Sikor

Project Dates: 2010 - 2013

Project Status: Complete





This research starts from the premise that scientists must tackle the relationship between ecosystem services and wellbeing with reference to environmental justice. Ecosystem services tend to benefit some stakeholders more than others. Decision making in ecosystem management is likely to involve some more than others. Can those winner and losers be identified and their responses anticipated? Can the involved social tradeoffs be mapped, just as ecological tradeoffs between competing environmental services, to support ecosystem conservation and poverty alleviation?

Recognition of ecological and social tradeoffs is a crucial precondition for just ecosystem management, i.e. ecosystem management that distributes ecosystem services fairly and includes all stakeholders in decision making.

Project overview
The research serves the overarching goal to promote just ecosystem management as a new and innovative concept. The project will contribute to the overarching goal by developing a novel conceptual framework to guide research and practice.

Project objectives:

  • incorporate attention to multiple stakeholders and socio-ecological tradeoffs into the ecosystem services approach
  • analyse the justice dimensions of critical changes in ecosystem services in the management of water, health, forests, biodiversity and coastal ecosystems
  • illustrate key justice dimensions in the management of selected coastal and terrestrial ecosystems in China, India and Central Africa

The project has recently been featured in an impact story 'Doing justice to poverty and ecology' commissioned by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme.

A video 'Why does justice matter for ecosystem management' has also been produced.


Dev Researchers:

Partner Organisations:


Selected Outcomes:

Daniel, T.C., Muhar, A., Arnberger, A., Aznar, O., Boyd, J.W., Chan, K.M.A., Costanza, C., Elmqvist, T., Flint, C.G., Gobster, P.G., Grêt-Regamey, A., Lave, R., Muhar, S., Penker, M., Ribe, R.G., Schauppenlehner, T. Sikor, T., Soloviy, I., Spierenburg, M., Taczanowska, K., Tam, J., von der Dunk, A. Contributions of Cultural Services to the Ecosystem Services Agenda, in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 109, 23, 8812-8819, 2012.

Thomas Sikor (ed.) 2013. The Justices and Injustices of Ecosystem Services. London, Earthscan.

Tim Forsyth and Thomas Sikor, 2013, Forests, development, and the globalization of justice, Geographical Journal