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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323168

Research Project: New Technologies to Enhance Sustainability of Northern Great Plains Grasslands

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Title: Incorporating sociocultural phenomena into ecosystem-service valuation: The importance of critical pluralism

item VAN RIPER, CARENA - University Of Illinois
item LANDON, ADAM - University Of Georgia
item KIDD, SARAH - Portland State University
item BITTERMAN, PATRICK - University Of Iowa
item FITZGERALD, LEE - Texas A&M University
item GRANEK, ELISE - Portland State University
item IBARRA, SONIA - University Of Alaska
item IWANIEC, DAVID - Arizona State University
item RAYMOND, CHRISTOPHER - University Of Copenhagen
item Toledo, David

Submitted to: Bioscience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/14/2016
Publication Date: 2/17/2017
Citation: Van Riper, C.J., Landon, A.C., Kidd, S., Bitterman, P., Fitzgerald, L.A., Granek, E.F., Ibarra, S., Iwaniec, D., Raymond, C.M., Toledo, D.N. 2017. Incorporating sociocultural phenomena into ecosystem-service valuation: The importance of critical pluralism. Bioscience. 67(3):233-244. doi:10.1093/biosci/biw170.

Interpretive Summary: Valuations of ecosystem services have too often focused on material benefits that humans derive from ecosystems and have largely ignored socio-cultural drivers of valuation. We present a framework and examples for how to more thoroughly engage the social and behavioral science disciplines in ecosystem service valuation. Using this framework to guide future ES valuation will expand the capacity to incorporate diverse opinions of individuals and groups and reconcile interpretive differences that likely affect human behavior and decision-making.

Technical Abstract: Ecosystem services (ES) scholarship has largely focused on monetary valuation and the material contributions of ecosystems to human well-being. Increasingly, research is calling for a deeper understanding of how less tangible, non-material values shape management and stakeholder decisions. Such research raises conceptual and applied challenges that are not fully understood. We propose a framework that characterizes the socio-cultural drivers of valuation, and describe how the tenets of our framework are grounded in key social and behavioral science disciplines currently underrepresented in the ES literature. Results from three case studies grounded in these disciplines emphasize the importance of considering the: (a) complexities of human behavior, (b) salience and specificity of the perceived benefits of nature, and (c) distinctions among value concepts. We assert that a critical pluralistic viewpoint should be adopted in future ES research to integrate diverse forms of knowledge and the socio-cultural drivers of valuation.