26 Sep The Role of Environmental Ethics in ESS
A major strength of the ecosystem services concept is that it allows a description of how human well-being depends on nature, showing that the neglect of such dependencies has negative consequences on human well-being and the economy. It is refered to human needs and interests, values are to be considered when dealing with the concept in practice. As a result we argue that in using the concept there is a need to be clear about what different dimensions of value are involved, and be aware of ethical issues that might be associated with the concept.
The ecosystem service concept in ESS is increasingly being used in the fields of biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and development policies.
In 2011 the European Commission adopted the “Biodiversity strategy to 2020” (European Commission, 2011) in which the protection of biodiversity is intimately linked to the protection and restoration of ecosystem services, and in 2012, the United Nations established an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).Likewise, following the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005), several countries have established national ecosystem assessments based on the ecosystem services concept (e.g. EME (Evaluación de los Ecosistemas del Milenio de España), 2011, UK NEA, 2011, or are planning to do so.
Although various definitions have been proposed, the core idea of the ecosystem services concept is that ecosystems contribute to human well-being. Provisioning services are characterised by the ability of humans to obtain products from ecosystems, such as food, water and resources, including wood, oil and genetic resources and medicines. Regulating services are categorised as any benefit obtained from the natural processes and functioning of ecosystems. Examples include climate regulation, flood regulation and other natural hazard regulation, pollination, water purification and more.