Farmers benefit from flourishing crops, cattle owners from green pastures, and tourists from the beautiful landscape: ecosystems are advantageous to us all. These benefits are crucial to the livelihood of millions of people around the world.
But what happens if ecosystems get disturbed and cease to produce the services that stakeholders need? What if land degradation starts producing serious side effects? Who pays for these side effects? We'll now adopt the perspective of society as a whole: a benefit for one stakeholder may be a loss for a larger community.
This week, we will examine the characteristics of ecosystem services in order to deepen our understanding of the affects they have on society and our environment: how do they fit into the bigger economic picture?