This thesis explored the use of ecosystem services information in environmental decision-making. The research questioned the presumption held by researchers in this field that ecological service valuation, as a means to define and value the function of ecosystems, offers an improved means for delivering information about the importance of environmental protection to decision-making processes. The research examined how value is understood, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in making decisions about how we use or preserve our natural environment. Also explored is how the understanding of value can influence sustainable societal transformations not only through the resulting decisions, but also through choices of the frameworks used to support decision-making. The research sought to explore whether the concept of sustaining ecosystem services (characterized as measurable ecological conditions/outcomes providing utility defined by stakeholders) is useful information to promote the success of socio-economic strategies for environmental protection; and if so, what decisions might best benefit from the information. Conclusions include, ecosystem services information evaluated was largely qualitative and low cost; increased qualitative use of ecosystem services information in society can lead to support over time for its more quantitative use to inform important environmental decisions, such as land-use; the framework for decision-making, itself, is an important dimension contributing to the relative success of ecosystem services information in decision making; and ecosystem services information, with the three dimensional structure of ecological function, societal values, and economic value accounting can bridge between the normative, qualitative social world and the positivist, rationalization dominant in quantitative institutional decision processes. The three dimensional structure of ecosystem services is also consistent with the analytical structure widely espoused to describe sustainable development. This suggests that the use of ecosystem services information will be reinforced through adoption of sustainability decision-making frameworks; and the inverse, that sustainability frameworks will be well-served by information on ecosystem services.

Ecosystem Services, decision-making, values, sustainability
W.A. Hafkamp (Wim) , D. Huisingh (Donald)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Martin, L. (2018, October 25). The Use of Ecosystem Services Information for Environmental Decision-Making. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from