Ecosystem services and human well-being-based approaches can help transform our economies

Kamaljit K. Sangha, Iain J. Gordon, Robert Costanza

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10 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)


Despite wider recognition of human interdependence with the rest of nature, our economies continue to fail to adequately value ecosystem services. This failure is largely attributed to the economic frameworks and related measures that focus on the production and consumption of marketed goods and services, but do not consider the other essential elements upon which our lives depend. This paper highlights how the Ecosystem Services approach can shift the focus to human wellbeing while remaining within biophysical planetary boundaries. An Ecosystem Services approach applies three fundamental principles of Ecological Economics: sustainable scale, efficient allocation, and fair distribution, which are vital for sustainable economies and societies. We provide case studies, from both a local and national scale, demonstrating how such an approach offers a holistic perspective of understanding what “development” actually means. Transforming our economies to appropriately consider planetary limits, overcome societal addictions, learn from Indigenous and local communities about ways of sustainable living, and realizing the importance of ecosystem services will contribute to developing economies that are resilient, and that enhance sustainable human wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number841215
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022

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Copyright © 2022 Sangha, Gordon and Costanza.


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