Ecosystem services and sustainable water management
The idea for this forum came from a research exchange that took place in Limoges, France in 2014 through a workshop called “ecosystem services and sustainable river management”. This workshop was organized by the research program “environmental capital and sustainable river management” at Géolab, University of Limoges.
Workshop participants examined how the concept of ecosystem services is applied to sustainable river management. Forty international participants attended the workshop (from countries including France, Canada, Peru, Holland, Spain, USA, Cameroon). Academics and water resource practitioners gave twelve presentations, followed by discussion. Debate focused on the use of economic valuation of ecosystem services in river management, on the links between governance and ecosystem services, and finally on methodological and philosophical uncertainties of the concept of ecosystem services. Representatives of eight research centers were present, as well as water managers and representatives of many public agencies involved in water management. This workshop had an extensive and lively discussion on the current and potential use of ecosystem services in water management, as well as the limitations and problems encountered in the implementation of the concept.
We would like to keep the dynamism of our research in this forum and develop a space for exchange, discussion and debate on ecosystem services and water management in three languages (French, English and Spanish) and various disciplines (biology, forest sciences, geography and economics).
We will address ideas relating to the opportunities and uncertainties associated with an ecosystem services approach, including:
- What is the relevance and effectiveness of the ecosystem services approach in water resource management?
- What are some limits to successful application of the ecosystem services concept in policy decisions? What does success mean?
- Why is this approach still relatively uncommon in water resource management?
- How might this approach be integrated into river basin management and conflict resolution?
- At a local level, how might the concept of ecosystem services be relevant to different stakeholders in river basin management?
- What are the possible links between ecosystem services and public participation in managing rivers?