ESPA Blog

Opinion pieces and features from our team, ESPA researchers and others working on science and practice relevant to ESPA…

ACES: A Story About Ecosystems

27 March, 2017
By Sam Mwangi

Our regional advisor for Africa Sam Mwangi attended the final workshop for our ACES project. Here he gives us his personal perspective on the project and its findings. 

Victorio looked across his land and was struck with a new realisation: he could see across several of his neighbour’s gardens and see the low lying foothills about a mile away from his house. He had not consciously acknowledged this before, and this troubled him even more than the realisation that the landscape had altered. The giant trees were gone.

The old man sighed as he contemplated the long day ahead. For a couple of months he had been relatively idle, tending to the soil and wondering whether to travel down to Maputo to seek employment as a casual labourer in one of the numerous construction sites in the city. He realised that the regular income he had grown to expect for the three years he traded in...

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Defining Poverty Is Vital If You Want To Fix It

22 February, 2017
By Frank Vollmer, Pedro Zorrilla-Miras and Bjorn Schulte-Herbruggen

What does poverty actually mean, and does it even matter? This fundamental question was discussed at a special session during the European Ecosystem Services Conference held in Antwerp last year.

ESPA researchers were the only participants looking at ecosystems at a global level, and more specifically in the context of helping poorer communities across the world. Here, in a joint blog, our researchers share the presentations and their insight in to why it is vital to define poverty if you want to fix it.

The services that nature provides contribute to human wellbeing in many ways, as highlighted in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment project. Ecosystem services can act as a “safety net” for local communities to support livelihoods in times of crises, or they can be commercialised to provide a “pathway out of poverty” through the likes of eco-tourism, fisheries, charcoal production etc.

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