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Environmental Values

Should Biodiversity be Useful? Scope and Limits of Ecosystem Services as an Argument for Biodiversity Conservation

Glenn Deliège and Stijn Neuteleers

Environmental Values 24 (2015): 165-182. doi: 10.3197/096327114X13947900181275


This article examines the argument that biodiversity is crucial for well-functioning ecosystems and that such ecosystems provide important goods and services to our human societies, in short the ecosystem services argument (ESA). While the ESA can be a powerful argument for nature preservation, we argue that its dominant functionalist interpretation is confronted with three significant problems. First, the ESA seems unable to preserve the nature it claims to preserve. Second, the ESA cannot explain why those caring about nature want to preserve it. Third, the ESA might undermine its own goal because it potentially decreases environmental motivations.


Biodiversity, ecosystem services, functionalism, substitution, motivation

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Depending on Something Bigger. Simon Hailwood

The Green Economy: Pragmatism or Revolution? Perceptions of Young Researchers on Social Ecological Transformation.Dalia D'Amato, Nils Droste, Sander Chan, Anton Hofer

Widening the Evaluative Space for Ecosystem Services: A Taxonomy of Plural Values and Valuation Methods. Paola Arias-Arévalo, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Berta Martín-López, Mario Pérez-Rincón

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