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Title: Reframing the payments for ecosystem services framework in a coupled human and natural systems context: strengthening the integration between ecological and human dimensions

Introduction:As challenges to biodiversity mount, land-use policies have been implemented to balance human needs and the integrity of ecological systems. One such program, Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), incentivizes resource users to protect ecosystem services and has been implemented around the world to reduce soil erosion, create or improve wildlife habitats, and improve water quality and other environmental goals. The PES policy, at its core, is a concept that aims to capture the reciprocal relationships between human systems and ecological function and process. As such, PES epistemologically embodies a coupled human and natural systems approach.

Outcomes:Yet, despite this conceptual alignment, the on-the-ground implementation or evaluation of PES typically does not adopt this coupled approach and PES programs have little integration between socioeconomic, sociocultural, human demographic, and ecological elements. To advance the evolution of PES, we consider what and how socioeconomic and ecological factors have been incorporated into PES program implementation and evaluation. We also present a conceptual model to articulate how PES research can capture the reciprocal relationships among socioeconomics, demography, and ecology and discuss the quantitative modeling approaches that can support this conceptual development, i.e., structural equation and agent-based modeling, and latent trajectory models.

Conclusions:By strengthening the conceptual framework for PES within a coupled human and natural systems approach and identifyinganalytical approaches that can be used to quantify and characterize these complex cross-disciplinary relationships, we aim to support the evolution and advancement of PES, in service of more meaningful and positive outcomes for human well-being and ecological sustainability.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.34133
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Ecosystem Health and Sustainability
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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