Focusing on the most impoverished populations, we critically review and synthesise key themes from dominant frameworks for assessing the relationship between well-being and ecosystem services in developing countries. This requires a differentiated approach to conceptualising well-being that appropriately reflects the perspectives of the poorest–those most directly dependent on ecosystem services, and their vulnerability to external and policy-driven environmental change. The frameworks analysed draw upon environmental sciences, economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, and were selected on the basis of their demonstrated or potential ability to illustrate the relationship between environmental change and human well-being, as well as their prevalence in real world applications. Thus, the synthesis offered here is informed by the various theoretical, methodological, and hermeneutical contributions from each field to the notion of well-being. The review highlights several key dimensions that should be considered by those interested in understanding and assessing the impact of environmental change on the well-being of the world’s poorest people: the importance of interdisciplinary consideration of well-being, the need for frameworks that integrate subjective and objective aspects of well-being, and the central importance of context and relational aspects of well-being. The review is of particular interest to those engaged in the post-2015 development agenda.
The value of commodity soybean depends on the concentration of protein and oil in the seeds. While seed composition is primarily genetically determined, environmental conditions during seed development also affect seed component accumulation, and can result in protein and/or oil deficits for processing. To understand the general environmental effects on soybean composition, we conducted a meta-analysis of published data quantifying the effect of water stress, temperature, and/or nitrogen supply on seed protein and oil accumulation and their final concentrations. The meta-analysis showed that water stress reduced the content (mg per seed) of protein, oil and residual seed fractions. Protein accumulation, however, was less affected than were oil and residual accumulation, resulting in an increase in final protein concentration (% dry weight). Growth at high temperature also increased protein concentration in a manner similar to that observed for water stress. But in neither case was the increase in protein concentration due to an increase in protein synthesis per se. Increasing nitrogen supply to seeds Cultured in vitro and to plants grown hydroponically increased both final seed protein concentration and content. But the magnitude of seed component response to experimental manipulation under field conditions was far less than that observed in the Uniform Soybean Regional Field Tests. Greater knowledge of the physiological processes that regulate these responses is essential to predict when and where future protein deficits might occur. Limitations of the meta-analysis approach and implications for future research on soybean seed composition are discussed.
The meta-analysis method was applied to quantitatively investigate effects of the elevated ozone concentration ([O-3]) on chlorophyll concentration, gas exchange and yield components of wheat. There were 39 effective references through Web of Science (ISI, USA) and Chinese journal full-text database (CNKI, China). The results of meta-analysis indicated that elevated [O-3] decreased grain yield, grain weight, grain number per ear, ear number per plant and harvest index by 26%, 18%, 11%, 5% and 11%, respectively, relative to ambient air. The decrease in leaf physiological characters was much greater than that in yield when wheat was expose to elevated [O-3], while light-saturated photosynthetic rate (Asat), stomatal conductance (Gs) and chlorophyll content (Chl) decreased by 40%, 31%, and 46%, respectively. The responses to elevated [O-3] between spring wheat and winter wheat were similar. Most of the variables showed a linear decrease trend with an increase of [O-3]. The most significant decrease for Asat, Gs and Chl was found in grain filling stage. Elevated [CO2] could significantly ameliorated or offset the detrimental effects caused by elevated [O-3].
High ambient temperature (T) is one of the most important climatic factors influencing pig performance. Increased T occurs sporadically during summer heat waves in temperate climates and year round in tropical climates. Results of published experiments assessing the effects of high T on pig performance are surprisingly variable. Thus, a meta-analysis was performed to aggregate our knowledge and attempt to explain differences in the results across studies on the effect of increased T on ADFI and ADG in growing-finishing pigs. Data for ADFI and ADG were extracted from 86 and 80 trials, respectively, from articles published in scientific journals indexed in PubMed, Science Direct, and from proceedings of scientific meetings through November 2009. Data on ADFI and ADG were analyzed using a linear mixed model that included the linear and the quadratic effects of T and BW, and their interactions as continuous, fixed effects variables, and the trial as a random effect factor (i.e., block). In addition, the effects of housing type (2 levels: individual and group housing) and the year of publication (3 levels: 1970 to 1989, 1990 to 1999, and 2000 to 2009) on the intercept and the linear regression term for T (i.e., the slope) were also tested. Results showed that high T had a curvilinear effect on ADFI and ADG and that this effect was more pronounced in heavier pigs. Across T, ADFI was less when pigs were group-housed. The intercept and the regression coefficient (slope) for T were significantly affected by the year of publication. The effect of increased T was greater in more contemporary works, suggesting that modern genotypes could be more sensitive to heat stress than older genotypes of lesser growth potential. In conclusion, pig performance decreases at an accelerating rate as T is increased. The large between-study variability on the effects of high T on pig performance is partially explained by differences in pig BW and to a lesser extent by the year the study was published.
This book examines how biodiversity loss affects the spread of human diseases, causes a loss of medical models, diminishes the supplies of raw materials for drug discovery and biotechnology and threatens food production and water quality.
This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
Many threats to human health are an intrinsic part of ecosystems. Ecosystems that are sufficiently stable and biologically diverse tend to maintain the quality of human health. On the other hand, degraded or collapsed ecosystems seem to have a significant impact on human health. Changes in the distribution and ecological activity of organisms, often resulting from environmental modifications, may give early evidence of environment-related shifts in human health risks. In many cases, disease appearances are symptoms of ecosystem dysfunction. Three fundamental mechanisms and forms of ecosystem degradation affecting human health were identified: • Indirect depletion of ecological systems (soil degradation, water supplies degradation, biogeochemical cycles alterations, climate change, ozone layer depletion, and water, air and soil pollution; • Direct depletion of non-human living systems (loss of biodiversity, renewable resources exhaustion, pest outbreaks, spread of alien species); • Direct depletion of human systems (epidemics, emerging and re-emerging diseases, and reduced quality of life). Indices of the sustainability of health status should focus on the integrity and stability of the global ecological systems that maintain the life and health of the population. Such indices would not directly measure human biology but rather the degree to which human biophysical needs are being satisfied by the sustainable use of ecosystem services. The indicators could include bio-indices predictive of human disease risk e.g., the degree of balance between population size and available resources or vegetation cover and groundwater levels in relation to infectious disease transmission. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
Climate changes are altering patterns of temperature and precipitation, potentially affecting regions of malaria transmission. The authors show that areas of the Amazon Basin with few wetlands show a variable relationship between precipitation and malaria incidence, while areas with extensive wetlands show a negative relationship. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
This paper reviews a study of community-based marine protected areas in the Philippines to determine tradeoff outcomes measured in terms of children’s health and coral reef health. Disentangling the various factors that contribute to effective conservation and improved human welfare is difficult but necessary for understanding when these win-win scenarios are likely to emerge. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
Sponsored initially by the Government of Canada and supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency, HELI was designed to translate scientific knowledge on environmental threats to human health into policy action. In 2002, WHO and UNEP joined forces and HELI is now a global UN effort. It supports valuation of ecosystem 'services' to human health and well-being – services ranging from climate regulation to provision/replenishment of air, water, and food and energy sources. It builds upon UNEP and WHO’s ongoing work with methods for quantifying the environmental impacts of policies and population health impacts (burden of disease). This report summarizes scientific knowledge on the linkages and Chapter IV highlights the importance of measuring impacts of the environment on health in economic terms. It describes how burden of disease and economic assessment have been used in real life settings to support sustainable policies. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
Arising out of discussions among environment ministers at a G8+5 meeting in May 2007, a joint initiative was launched to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity and the costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. Taking inspiration from ideas developed in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project was developed to promote a better understanding of the true economic value of ecosystem services and to offer economic tools that take proper account of this value. The project recognizes that society is still learning the “nature of value” as we broaden our concept of “capital” to encompass human capital, social capital and natural capital. By recognizing and by seeking to grow or conserve these other “capitals”, we are working our way towards sustainability. We are still struggling however to find the “value of nature”. Nature’s value mostly bypasses markets, escapes pricing and defies valuation - underlying causes for the observed degradation of ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity. Human, in turn, are suffering the consequences. The TEEB project is being conducted in two phases and this interim report summarizes the results of Phase I. It demonstrates the huge significance of ecosystems and biodiversity and the threats to human welfare if no action is taken to reverse current damage and losses. Phase II will expand on this and show how to use this knowledge to design the right tools and policies. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
As an economy grows, natural capital such as timber, soil and water is reallocated to the human economy. The conflict between economic growth and biodiversity conservation creates a challenge as traditional forms of conservation action require funding. The authors reveal that conservation spending in the US was highly correlated with income and wealth and economic indicators (e.g., stock market indices) predicted conservation activity over time. However, GDP and personal income explained more variation in conservation activity that did stockmarket wealth variables. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
The authors review direct approaches (i.e., direct observation of people’s behavior in a market situation – what they pay - or direct questioning) and indirect ones (valuations estimated by inference from behavior not directly related to the specifics of the environment assets of interest). Examples of indirect approaches include: i) hedonic valuing (to identify implicit differences in valuation between situations with an attribute and others without it), ii) avertive behavior (valuation of a change as costs incurred to avoid the change), iii) conventional market approach (market values where prices exist) iv) dose response (observing or introducing a change and measuring the cost/benefit of attributable consequences) and v) replacement cost (valuation on the basis of costs incurred to replace or restore the lost asset). This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
This paper considers problems applying cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to projects involving environmental costs or benefits. It argues that a major problem lies in placing monetary values on non-market goods. It also addresses the problems of (i) differences between citizen and consumer values; (ii) complexity of ecosystems; (iii) irreversibility and uniqueness; and (iv) inter-generational equity and discounting. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
CV was used to obtain estimates of willingness to pay (WTP) for restoring ecosystem services in rural China using a parametric model. Interviews revealed that households were willing to pay but the amount per household was higher for the main river area versus households in the rest of the basin. Additionally, while the surrounding general public was willing to pay to restore the ecosystem, the amount was substantially less than the estimated restoration costs. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
The authors describe a set of computer-based models, the “Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs” tool (InVEST) that apply a production function-based approach to natural-resource decision making. The tool allows the user to visualize relationships among multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity, focusing on ecosystem services rather than biophysical processes. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
The authors use InVEST, a spatially-explicit modeling tool, to predict changes in ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, and commodity production levels. In an analysis of stakeholder-defined scenarios of land-use/land-cover change in the US, high scoring scenarios for a variety of ecosystem services had high scores for biodiversity. This suggests there was little tradeoff between biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. Development scenarios had higher commodity production values but lower levels of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
This paper looks at links between biodiversity conservation and the livelihoods of rural people living on the fringes of Ruteng Park, Flores Island, Indonesia as an empirical example of ecosystem valuation. Spatially patchy watershed protection allowed for impacts of watershed services on human health (diarrhea prevalence) in the park’s buffer zone to be estimated. In this case study reported diarrhea reduction benefits were not likely high enough on their own to justify the costs of the protected area. But when combined with previous analyses from Ruteng Park on ecosystem services, the investigators found that the park provides an entire suite of economically valuable services. Recommendations included: scaling up valuation efforts of underappreciated services such as health; and shifting focus from valuing services individually to valuing multiple benefits from the same area. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
It is often assumed that ecosystem services are provided linearly (unvaryingly, at a steady rate), but natural processes are characterized by thresholds and limiting functions. The authors describe the variability observed in wave attenuation provided by marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs and therefore in coastal protection. They calculate the economic consequences of assuming coastal protection to be linear, suggesting that natural variability and cumulative effects must be considered in the valuation of ecosystem services. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
The explicit inclusion of beneficiaries makes values intrinsic to ecosystem services whether or not those values are monetized. The authors provide an overview of ecosystem functions responsible for producing terrestrial hydrologic services, review valuation tools useful for ecosystem service protection and provide examples of land management using these tools. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract
One of today’s economic challenges is to decide how much ecosystem structure can be converted to economic production and how much must be conserved to provide essential ecosystem services. The author estimates the marginal value of environmental benefits by examining the role and effectiveness of the price mechanism in a well-functioning market economy. Issues preventing markets from pricing ecological benefits are considered including problems inherent to valuing services generated by complex and poorly understood ecosystems subject to irreversible change. The author focuses on critical natural capital (CNC), i.e. capital that generates benefits essential to human welfare that have few if any substitutes. When ecological thresholds threaten CNC, the author argues conservation is essential and marginal valuation becomes inappropriate. Only when conservation needs have been met should remaining ecosystem structure be potentially available for economic production. Demand for this available supply will determine prices. That is, conservation needs should be price determining, not price determined. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract