Natural capital and ecosystem services, developing an appropriate soils framework as a basis for valuation

Robinson, D.A.; Hockley, N.; Cooper, D.M.; Emmett, B.A.; Keith, A.M.; Lebron, I.; Reynolds, B.; Tipping, E.; Tye, A.M.; Watts, C.W.; Whalley, W.R.; Black, H.I.J.; Warren, G.P.; Robinson, J.S.. 2013 Natural capital and ecosystem services, developing an appropriate soils framework as a basis for valuation. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 57. 1023-1033.

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Natural capital and ecosystem service concepts are embodied in the ecosystems approach to sustainable development, which is a framework being consistently adopted by decision making bodies ranging from national governments to the United Nations. In the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment soils are given the vital role of a supporting service, but many of the other soil goods and services remain obscured. In this review we address this using and earth-system approach, highlighting the final goods and services soils produce, in a stock-fund, fund-service model of the pedosphere. We also argue that focusing on final goods and services will be counterproductive in the long run and emphasize that final goods and services are derived from an ecosystem supply chain that relies on ecological infrastructure. We propose that an appropriate ecosystems framework for soils should incorporate soil stocks (natural capital) showing their contribution to stock-flows and emergent fund-services as part of the supply chain. By so doing, an operational ecosystems concept for soils can draw on much more supporting data on soil stocks as demonstrated in a case study with soils data from England andWales showing stocks, gaps in monitoring and drivers of change. Although the focus of this review is on soils, we believe the earth-system approach and principles of the ecosystem supply chain are widely applicable to the ecosystems approach and bring clarity in terms of where goods and services are derived from.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 3 - Managing Threats to Environment and Health > BGC - 3.3 - Deliver effective advice, models and applied science ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0038-0717
Additional Keywords: soil science, ecosystem services, natural capital, sustainability, earth-system, global soil partnership, stock and flow, soil change, ecological infrastructure
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 18 Oct 2013 12:02 +0 (UTC)

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