Axis 3

    Ecosystem goods and services and human well-being

    This research axis emphasizes the biodiversity-ecosystem services relationships and the economic dimensions of biodiversity science. Axis 3 researchers explore themes related to the evaluation of the market and non-market value of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services and their use in public and private decision-making processes. Research in this axis will also explore ways of linking science to policy, management and governance of ecosystem goods and services.
    Research axis 3 is aligned with three of the five goals set by the Convention on Biological Diversity’s strategic plan: “(A) address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity issues across government and society; (B) reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use; (C) improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity.
    It is also aligned with key focal challenges of the Future Earth program: “i) deliver resources and manage the synergies and trade-off among them by understanding how these interactions are shaped by environmental, economic, social and political changes, ii) de carbonise socio-economic systems, iii) safeguard natural assets underpinning human well-being and iv) build healthy, resilient and productive cities.”
    Axis 3 researchers work at the forefront of innovation in sustainability. They provide government, private and civil society leaders with knowledge required to support adaptation-transformation-transition toward resilient ecosystems as a base for global sustainability and human well being. Collaborating institutions include the Montreal-based Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets), the OURANOS consortium (ECOBIOCC program and others on forests, cities, etc.) and many other partners (Institut de la statistique du Québec , Hydro-Québec, etc.).

    Research goals

    • To reveal socioeconomic drivers of biodiversity loss.
    • To evaluate biodiversity and associated ecosystem services using different tools.
    • To identify key policy, management elements needed to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services in human-dominated landscapes.

    Research themes

    Axis 3 researchers will explore topics related to the following themes:

    Theme 3.1. Ecosystem services

    Theme 3.1 focuses on the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services within human-transformed landscapes. Ecosystems are often managed so as to maximize one or two services, thus leading to reduced biodiversity. If multiple services are considered, the maintenance of biodiversity will likely be facilitated. However the spatial and temporal aspect of the representation of EGS remains a challenge. Accesses to spatial and temporal data remain a major obstacle to the characterization of EGS and the development of standardized approaches. The objective of this theme is to demonstrate how land use can influence the distribution of biodiversity, and consequently, the ecosystem services of that territory. Research in this theme includes the role of perception and representation of biodiversity in decision-making regarding usage, management and conservation.

    Theme 3.2. From economic valuation of ecosystem goods and services to ecosystem natural capital accounts

    Theme 3.2 focuses on instruments for informing, valuing and managing ecosystem goods and services. Economic instruments are key in this regard, but not the only ones. Research in this theme includes the analysis of literature-derived data on the socioeconomic causes of biodiversity loss, in particular the recent discovery that the distribution of socioeconomic power may affect biodiversity loss.
    Projects in theme 3.2 will foster research on ecosystem goods and services using several approaches like market and non-market valuation, the alternatives when it comes to the avoid- mitigate-compensate sequence for development projects and the establishment of a national ecosystem accounting system. Research on EGS must be incorporated to the issues addressed by the social responsibility of organizations and more globally within the concept of shared value creation.

    Theme 3.3. Integration of biodiversity into business practices and the development of new management systems

    Theme 3.3 focuses on how ecosystem goods and services management, decision-making processes and policies are the product of negotiation between stakeholders. Theme 3.3 focuses on how these actors negotiate policy and management issues including biodiversity standards, auditing practices for biodiversity and their legitimacy through International Accreditation Programs. The issues of accountability is essential for both the measure biodiversity with reliable indicators and to demonstrate progress in this domain.

    Theme 3.4. Multi-Scale Biodiversity Governance

    Theme 3.4 focuses on biodiversity policy at local and international levels (including traditional/customary systems). The governance of biodiversity across social and ecological scales (from global to local) with International negotiations takes place within a framework of international regimes on climate change and biodiversity. Climate change and other anthropogenic drivers like agriculture have a significant impact on biodiversity. To address these issues, we need capacity building and decision-supporting tools such as a national biodiversity observatory, environmental impact assessment mechanism, international management standards, corporate social responsibility and conservation leadership and partnerships a well as a better legal framework.