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Questioning the ecosystem services argument for biodiversity conservation


Ridder, BP, Questioning the ecosystem services argument for biodiversity conservation, Biodiversity and Conservation, 17, (4) pp. 781-790. ISSN 0960-3115 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10531-008-9316-5


One of the central justifications for the conservation of biodiversity is the notion that species diversity is essential for the maintenance of ecosystem services. However, an important observation overlooked by proponents of this argument is that most ecosystem services are provided not by whole ecosystems, but by any group of species that fulfils certain basic functional criteria. Distinguishing between services that are resilient in response to species decline, and those that are not, is a far less challenging task than identifying the precise influence on ecosystem functioning of rare species. Conservationists have been almost unanimous in their failure to acknowledge this distinction between resilient and sensitive ecosystem services. Not only does this threaten the credibility of conservation science, but also increases the likelihood that natural area management becomes hijacked by the demand that ecosystem service provision be made the dominant management criteria. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Applied ethics
Research Field:Applied ethics not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Ridder, BP (Mr Benjamin Ridder)
ID Code:51856
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:45
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2008-05-06
Last Modified:2009-03-19

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