Implementing ecosystem service assessments within agribusiness: challenges and proposed solutions.

Published online
26 Oct 2022
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Durán, A. P. & Smith, M. & Trippier, B. & Godoy, K. & Parra, M. & Lorca, M. & Casali, I. & Leal, G. R. & Orts-Agullo, N. & Rodriguez, A. & Barbosa, O.
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Incorporating the assessment of ecosystem services into land management decisions is increasingly recognized as an opportunity to support sustainable development. This, however, can be particularly challenging within the productive sector, a highly technical system often driven by multi-level private entities. Here we present five key challenges, and suggest their corresponding solutions, when promoting the operationalization of ecosystem services within agribusiness. The challenges we developed are as follows: (a) building a common understanding of ecosystem services; (b) navigating strong power dynamics; (c) a highly technical system with diverse types of expertise; (d) limited understanding of the opportunity costs of alternative practices and (e), dealing with uncertainty. We draw on our experience generated through the Wine, Climate Change and Biodiversity programme, a science-based initiative promoting the conservation of biodiversity and strategic use of ecosystem services in Chilean vineyards. Synthesis and applications. This perspective piece provides advice to scientists and practitioners on how to navigate technical and practical challenges when promoting the incorporation of ecosystem services into agricultural management. While the assessment of ecosystem services can be a highly technical process, its successful integration into land management decisions relies on active engagement, balancing expectations and an ability to construct a shared understanding among different stakeholders. The approaches suggested here rely on principles of co-production and are illustrated with examples that are transferable to other crop and geographical contexts.

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