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Have Ecosystem Services been oversold?

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641–648
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number11
Early online date1 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


The concept of ecosystem services (ES) neatly encapsulates the ways in which
human society depends upon the existence and functioning of nature, but also
draws power by chiming with dominant neoliberal ideology. Scientific paradigms
such as this have an inherent tendency to stop adherents from recognizing
alternative approaches. It is high time to examine whether the concept is
being oversold with potentially damaging consequences. Many authors have
questioned the monetization of ES, but the origin of the problem lies deeper in
anthropocentrism. By illustration with alternatives, I attempt to show how the ES
paradigm has constrained thought, particularly towards the monetization and
financialization of nature, even when many ecologists and others oppose this

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