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    Are stakeholders’ social representations of nature and landscape compatible with the ecosystem service concept?2019

    DE VREESE R., DENDONCKER N., FONTAINE C.M., LEYS M., VAN HERZELE A.Journaux et Revues (scientifiques)

    aide à la décision, biens et services écosystémiques, incertitudes / biais

    Ecosystem Services
    Volume 37, June 2019, 100911

    • ES concept is not sufficiently reflecting stakeholders’ representations of nature.

    • Representations of nature include an anthropocentric view, as does the ES concept.

    • But stakeholders’ representations of nature also refer to relational values.

    • We warn against applying the standard theoretical ES concept when this is not appropriate.

    • Social representations approach can help to get insight in shared and relational values.

    Implementing ecosystem services (ES)-based planning and management processes in practice, and mainstreaming the results in decision-making, is limited. Literature suggests this can be explained by a limited overlap between the ES concept and stakeholders’ representations of nature.

    We introduce social representations theory as an approach to discuss whether the theoretical ES concept is compatible with stakeholders’ social representations of nature.

    Thirty-nine stakeholders actively involved in the use and management of a peri-urban study area in Belgium were interviewed about their representation of nature.

    Like the ES concept, stakeholders’ representation of nature includes an anthropocentric view, but stakeholders also stress the role and responsibility of humans in sustaining ecosystems and regulating nature (which is a relational value). From the qualitative analysis we conclude that the theoretical ES concept and ES classifications are not sufficiently reflecting stakeholders’ representations of nature, mainly on the human-nature relationship. The social representations technique provides handles to design ES-based processes according to stakeholders’ representations. This can result in more effective ES-based planning and management processes and improved understanding among stakeholders and between stakeholders and process managers.

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