Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation: Trade-offs and Governance

ESPA's book - Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation: Trade-offs and Governance - synthesises ESPA's academic findings

As governments across the world seek to achieve the 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the findings of the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme have never been more timely and relevant.

The SDGs have poverty alleviation, wellbeing and sustainable environmental management at their heart. Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation: Trade offs and Governance brings together a state-of-the-art review of current thinking on the links between these ambitions. The book draws on the editors’ vast experience working at the ESPA programme – which spanned 9 years and over 120 projects – and their own academic careers in development, biodiversity and ecosystems.

Available as open access, the book’s cross-cutting, thematic chapters challenge conventional wisdom in some areas, and validate new methods and approaches for sustainable development in others. The book will provide a rich and important reference source for advanced students, researchers and policy-makers in ecology, environmental studies, ecological economics and sustainable development.

The co-editors, Dr Kate Schreckenberg, Prof Georgina Mace and Dr Mahesh Poudyal, said: “ESPA’s book reveals that there are tough decisions to be made in achieving poverty alleviation and sustaining the environment at the same time. Many environment decisions are taken without sufficient consideration of social and ecological trade-offs.” “For example, land use intensification may help lift people out of poverty through higher crop production, but at the cost of biodiversity loss. It is important to make these trade-offs explicit, and negotiate solutions that respect people’s different notions of wellbeing and their aspirations. In order to take good decisions, we need to understand people’s wellbeing in a more comprehensive way than we do now.”

The book synthesises the headline messages and compelling evidence to address the questions at the heart of ecosystems and wellbeing research. The authors, all leading specialists, address the evolving framings and contexts for the work, review the impacts of ongoing drivers of change and present new ways to achieve sustainable wellbeing, equity, diversity, and resilience. They evaluate the potential solutions that can be offered by carefully-designed conservation projects, payment schemes, and novel governance approaches across scales – from local to national and international.

About the Editors:

Kate Schreckenberg is a Reader in Development Geography at King’s College London, UK, and Director of the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme. Her research focuses on equity in natural resource governance.

Georgina Mace is Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystems and Director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, University College London, UK, and scientific adviser to the ESPA research programme. Her research focuses on the causes and consequence of biodiversity loss and ecosystem change.

Mahesh Poudyal is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Programme Directorate. He is an environmental social scientist with research focusing on the poverty-environment nexus.

For more information

Download your free electronic copy here.

To order a review copy, please request in the online form. The title is available as Open Access. When referencing the book, please include: Edited Kate Schreckenberg, Georgina Mace and Mahesh Poudyal, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).