Ecosystem management emphasises ecosystem service concepts in order to improve land management and to justify nature conservation. This approach rests on the assumption that conserving ecosystem services can deliver net benefits for human welfare in terms of economic development. To
retain credibility, the advocates of ecosystem service concepts must acknowledge the constraints that may limit the reliability of this assumption, including trade-offs with other land-use benefits. The fact that ecosystem service concepts have not been well integrated into management implies
that such initiatives have not been persuasive among land managers and agriculturalists. I argue that this is due to the combination of a failure by scientists, conservationists, and other advocates of the ecosystem management approach to account for the trade-offs and opportunity costs inherent
in land management, and a lack of willingness to accept that managing for ecosystem services may place constraints on future management options. However, the ecosystem service concept has the opportunity to make substantial contributions toward more effective management by influencing thinking
among policy makers, land managers, and the wider public.
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INTEGRATED CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS;
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2007
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