Linking biodiversity with ecosystem services and their economic dimensions





This axis reconciles the conservation of biodiversity with ES supply by studying synergies and trade-offs between them in changing landscapes and climate. New quantitative methods are improving our ability to model ES in a wide array of ecosystems. The axis also estimates the economic value of biodiversity and ES and the human perception of their importance. Current projects are guiding local, national and international policies and engaging the participation of a broad set of stakeholders


Axis 3 themes

Theme 3.1. Landscape planning for understanding and protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services

This axis is designed to reinforce our understanding of synergies and trade-offs among ecosystem services (ES) as well as their relationship with biodiversity. Some ES are antagonists to the protection of biodiversity while some others are more easily compatible with traditional conservation such as protected areas. This axis aims to explore the link between ES supply and how ES are benefiting human populations. Landscape planning methods will be developed for taking into account the spatial relationships between localities where ES are provided and those where ES are in demand, as well as the connecting area between both. Alternative conservation measures will be investigated in order to integrate people needs and improve their life quality, particularly in urban environments and agricultural landscapes. Refining our ability to characterize ES through proxies will be explored. All these tools will be extended to improve our capacity to plan restoration at the regional (e.g. watershed) scale in order to fulfill future requirements for compensating natural habitat losses.

Theme 3.2. The value and perception of biodiversity and ecosystem services in decision making

The instrumental value of nature has been associated mainly with activities such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Other services such as carbon storage, flood regulation, recreation and aesthetics have been neglected in decision making in spite of their social and economic importance. As well, biodiversity has been rarely a strong lever for social acceptance of conservation projects. This axis aims at exploring the importance of nature and its biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) for local populations and how people perception of nature and green infrastructures is affected by social and economic contexts. This information will help refine strategies contributing at increasing nature’s protection or favoring better landscape management. A specific emphasis will be dedicated to native people and how to beneficiate from their traditional knowledge, especially for option value in regards to future utilization of nature. This axis will also include the estimation of market and non-market value of biodiversity and ES. The economic importance of integrating biodiversity and ES into actions and strategies implemented by private industries and companies will be one particular aspect of this axis.

Theme 3.3. Governance of biodiversity and ecosystem services

This axis aims to increase the coherence between research insights and politics set in place for protecting biodiversity. How to integrate ecosystem services into legislation will be explored, notably in regards to habitat compensations and protection against global warming effects. Conservation choices made in accordance with development lobbies and politics will be analyzed, in the lens of social-ecological systems and institutionalism. Ecosystem services are not provided uniformly across a landscape and some specific populations might get less benefits from nature. This engender environmental injustice, an aspect that will be integrated into research of this axis.