Economic valuation has been presented as an important tool for enhancing the consideration of ecosystem services (ES) in decision-making. Recent literature provides evidence that an implementation gap between theoretical findings, consideration in the policy sphere, and measurable action in practice persists. Our paper aims to contribute to its closure. First, we assess why this gap exists by reviewing the literature on how the ES concept is adopted in policy documents and the legal system. Secondly, we present tools and structures that enhance better information transfer from valuations among actors in order to achieve transdisciplinary collaboration. Therefore, this article complements literature on science-policy interfaces (SPI) with elements from implementation research. It shows that SPIs are beneficial for different implementation contexts. Thirdly, we analyze case studies that reveal how ES valuation (ESV) could integrate the needs of various actors to get relevant to decision-makers and practitioners. We find that opportunities of different implementation contexts are not sufficiently accounted for in the design of ESV. This could be achieved by combining traditional monetary valuation with deliberative techniques whose capacities to communicate and transfer information varies with implementation contexts. Exploiting this complementarity will help researchers, decision-makers and practitioners to close the implementation gap.
Implementation context and science-policy interfaces: Implications for the economic valuation of ecosystem services
14 October 2020