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In the Sahel, evaluating ecosystem services limited by poor understanding of ecosystem complexities, reports Institute

Posted by gmarkets on 25 September, 2007

Mélanie Requier-Desjardins, Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), Tunisia, presented on the economics of ecosystem services in the Sahel, focusing on production and regulation services, at the International Forum on Soils, Society and Global Change: 31 August – 4 September 2007.

Consequences of poor understanding of ecosystems’ complexities: Requier-Desjardins stressed that the loss of ecosystem services was costly to societies, but that current ways of evaluating these services, particularly regulation services, were limited by a poor understanding of the complexities of ecosystems. She reported, for example, that the diversity of agricultural systems was not adequately represented. She noted that while sustainable land management (SLM) techniques are beneficial for ecosystem services, poor rural people do not often have the means to pursue SLM, and that some SLM practices such as eucalyptus planting may have contradictory or negative effects on other ecosystem services. She called for the incorporation of the concept of multi-functionality into economic analyses of ecosystem services.

Reference: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), “Summary of International Forum on Soils, Society and Global Change: 31 August – 4 September 2007”, Vol. 144 No. 1, 7 September 2007.

Erisk Net, 23/9/2007

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