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Linking equity, power, and stakeholders’ roles in relation to ecosystem services

Linking equity, power, and stakeholders’ roles in relation to ecosystem services

The issues of power and equity are gaining attention in research on ecosystem services (ESs). Stakeholders benefiting from ESs are not necessarily able or authorized to participate in ES management. Thus, we have proposed an analytical framework to identify and qualify stakeholders’ roles in relation to ES flows. Building on existing frameworks in the ES literature, we aimed to unravel the different direct and indirect management contributions to ES flows and link them to ES benefits. Direct management targets the functioning of ecosystems, the flows of services, and the benefits received by society, whereas indirect management facilitates, controls, or restricts the activities of direct managers. We applied this framework to the Mariño watershed (Peru) to describe stakeholders’ roles using a set of 8 ESs. We have discussed the implications of our findings in terms of equity and power distribution. We conducted face-to-face semistructured interviews with representatives of 52 watershed stakeholders to understand how they managed and benefited from ESs. We used statistical analysis (permutation tests) to detect significant differences in the number of received and managed ESs among stakeholder sectors, i.e., civil society, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), business, and the public sector, and scales, from local to national levels. Indirect forms of ES management were more frequent than direct ones for all ESs. Water quantity, water quality, and agricultural production were managed by the largest number of stakeholder types. The differences in the number of stakeholder types benefiting from and managing ESs could result from intentional choices, e.g., preferences for local benefits. We also found clear differences in the identity of stakeholders who managed or benefited from ESs. Local stakeholders and the business sector benefited from a higher number of ESs, and public organizations and NGOs were most involved in ES management. More equitable governance of ESs should aim to integrate more diverse stakeholders into decision making. Further empirical research could use our framework to explore the factors determining stakeholders’ roles and power distribution. There is a particular need to understand how rights, endowments, and entitlements, as well as spatial configuration, underpin inequities in different social and cultural contexts.

Authors: Vallet, A.; Locatelli, B.; Levrel, H.; Dendoncker, N.; Barnaud, C.; Quispe Conde, Y.

Topic: ecosystem services, watershed management, governance, policy, decision making, landscape, sustainability

Geographic: Peru

Publication Year: 2019

ISSN: 1708-3087

Source: Ecology and Society 24(2): 14

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-10904-240214


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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