Mar 23, 2021
The past decades have seen the rise to dominance of the ecosystem services framework, a worldview and scientific practice that sees the processes of the biosphere through a lens of how they prop up human activities. Within academic circles, the concept is hotly contested. Some see valuing nature with the language of neoclassical economics as the only way to motivate governments and corporate actors into doing responsible environmental action. Others see concepts of ecosystem services and natural capital as the inevitable deepening of predatory capitalist relations extending into new environmental domains. Dr Janet Fisher, an environmental social scientist at the University of Edinburgh, joins the podcast to discuss the newly published Dasgupta Report, an independent review of the relationship between the economy and biodiversity commissioned by the UK Treasury. The report made headlines when it asserted that we should treat nature like an asset and manage it like any other financial portfolio. We discuss how the report is evidence of a rise to dominance of applying economic thinking into the domain of ecology and environmental conservation and what that means for scholars working on landscape science.
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Van Hecken, G., Kolinjivadi, V., Windey, C., McElwee, P., Shapiro-Garza, E., Huybrechs, F., & Bastiaensen, J. (2018). Silencing agency in payments for ecosystem services (PES) by essentializing a neoliberal ‘monster’into being: a response to Fletcher & Büscher's ‘PES conceit’. Ecological Economics, 144, 314-318.
Fletcher R., (2021) “Review of Partha Dasgupta. 2021. The economics of biodiversity: the Dasgupta review.”, Journal of Political Ecology 28(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.2289
Additional research provided by Scott Herrett for this episode.