To broaden the ecosystem service research agenda, Sarah Klain, Terre Satterfield and Kai Chan used Sarah’s Vancouver Island field research to demonstrate methods that could improve ecosystem service assessments and marine spatial plans. They see a need for local people, rather than primarily outside experts, to identify and characterize why nature is important. Their research shows how people bundle services, benefits and values linked to the natural world in ways that are not reducible to production functions, a common concept in much ecosystem service research. This research also highlights important layers of intangible values, like place-based identity and spiritual values, that connect people to ecosystems. Interviewees used diverse metaphors, not just the ecosystem service metaphor of nature as a service provider, when they explained the importance of marine ecosystems. This research contributes to the ongoing challenge of integrating diverse environmental values into natural resource decision making.
Klain, S.C., Satterfield, T.A., Chan, K.M.A., 2014. What matters and why? Ecosystem services and their bundled qualities. Ecological Economics 107, 310–320. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.09.003