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Elasticity in ecosystem services: exploring the variable relationship between ecosystems and human well-being. 2016. Daw, T. M., C. C. Hicks, K. Brown, T. Chaigneau, F. A. Januchowski-Hartley, W. W. L. Cheung, S. Rosendo, B. Crona, S. Coulthard, C. Sandbrook, C. Perry, S. Bandeira, N. A. Muthiga, B. Schulte-Herbrüggen, J. Bosire and T. R. McClanahan

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Response to the Elasticity paper by Tim M. Daw and others
Wandén on Oct 12, 2016 11:22:19

I appreciate your seminal approach using the concept of ES elasticity to discuss trade-offs (conflicts) and synergies in environmental policy. In particular, you pay attention to the important issue of conflicting needs of different groups of people. Your case studies are illuminating.

But it seems to me that your Figure 2 could be improved by adding an arrow from the sad face in f. (Well-being contribution) back to a. (Ecosystem Stocks). The reason is that groups or societies that are negatively affected by environmentally motivated measures may well take physical action to protect their interests. In the worst case even military activities can result, leading to ecological damage and loss of ecosystem stocks. This is not only a theoretical possibility. Clearly armed groups or even countries have used violence against one another to protect their assumed rights to use scarce environmental resources such as fresh water supplies (in the Middle East) and forests (in the Amazonas). Should ecologically motivated measures lead to increased scarcity of resources for social and human use, this might in the same way directly lead to violence and damage to the ecosystem stocks. So I suggest that a term Ef,a be added to your definition of ES elasticity – this term may of course be positive as well as negative.

Mr Stig Wandén

Former researcher at the Swedish National Environmental Agency

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087