The concept of ecosystem services is widely used in academia and policy circles but a recent research paper, publised in the Feb 2014 issue of 'Conservation Letters' outlines the main critiques of the concept, with the extremes of both arguments:
Ecosystem service knowledge: who uses it, when and for what purpose?
The concept of ecosystem services is increasingly being promoted as a means better to protect ecological systems through more informed decision–making, but in practice much less is known about how far this shift in thinking is actually affecting the way in which ecosystem knowledge is used, especially by decision makers.
Funding is available under the EU Horizon 2020 scheme for research on Sustainable Food Security - deadline 26 June 2014.
For more information see the europa.eu/research site.
A research paper published on 24 March 2014 in Ecosystem Services looks at where to target peatland restoration to get best value for money, taking into account considerations such as the cost of restoration, carbon capture and wildlife benefits.
Read the full paper on the Ecosystem Services website.
Applications are invited for up to £1.1milion over 5 years to form a Coordination Team for the Valuing Nature Programme.
The Natural Capital Commmittee report highlights the need for more research on natural capital and says that the NERC Valuing Nature programme is an excellent start to this.
A recent article on Research Professional states:
'The Natural Environment Research Council’s Valuing Nature programme contributes to filling the gaps and is an “excellent start”, the report says.
The introduction of biodiversity offsetting and possibly a related market in habitat/species banking could provide growth in the low carbon and sustainability sectors in Scotland, working closely with academia and SMEs, for example in the development and implementation of new metrics to support biodiversity measurement and monitoring; or through the creation of new sources of income for landowners.