Understanding our responses to environmental change

Latest News

Complex social factors mediate the links between ecosystem services, wellbeing and resilience

Our SPACES research project has provided many rich insights into how different people are able to access and benefits from ecosystem. The latest paper, led by Tom Chaigneau and published in Ecosystem Services, explores the different mechanisms by which people derive these benefits.

Using data from focus groups across each of the SPACES field sites in Kenya and Mozambique, the study combined the “Theory of Human Need” and the “Capability Approach” into an analytic-interpretive framework, which enabled us to elucidate the perceived contribution of coastal ecosystem services to eleven different wellbeing domains.

We identified three types of mechanism through which ecosystem services contribute to wellbeing: money, use and experience. What this means is that improving the ability of individuals to gain wellbeing through ecosystem services does not only rely on monetary mechanisms, but also through use and experience mechanisms.

We argue that there are three reasons why all these three mechanisms should be considered across different contexts. Firstly, these mechanisms are associated with different sets of wellbeing domains. Solely focusing on monetary mechanisms would focus only on certain aspects of wellbeing, despite the mounting evidence that different domains are important in ensuring poverty alleviation. Secondly, enhancing wellbeing from ecosystem services through specific mechanisms may have important implications for the long-term sustainability of different social-ecological systems. A strong focus on experiential and use mechanisms may reduce the likelihood of overexploitation of natural resources, hence fostering the future availability of ecosystem services. Finally, our findings also suggest that these three mechanisms are interlinked and underpin each other. Benefitting through one mechanism can act as an outcome in itself, but can also serve as an enabler, i.e. by enhancing the capacities of individuals to convert ecosystem services for wellbeing through other mechanisms.

The paper is titled Money, use and experience: Identifying the mechanisms through which ecosystem services contribute to wellbeing in coastal Kenya and Mozambique published in Ecosystem Services August 2019 by Tomas Chaigneau, Katrina Brown, Sarah Coulthard, Tim M. Daw, and Lucy Szaboova

Link here

We also developed further work to understand how wellbeing and resilience are related and the types of trade-offs that exist between them. Through a review of research from the ESPA (Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation) research programme we synthesised findings on the dynamic linkages between resilience and wellbeing.

We developed a digital report which enables users to explore how these trade-offs play out for different people in different contexts, based on ESPA research projects.

The project team included Tom Chaigneau, Tom James, Lucy Szaboova, from Exeter, and Sarah Coulthard from Northumbria and Tim Daw from Stockholm, and with brilliant support from Leonora Oppenheim of Elio Studio.

Please explore the report at the Navigating Complexity website here.

Leave a Reply

Please solve this to register