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Knowledge needs for the operationalisation of the concept of ecosystem services

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  • Esther Carmen
  • Allan Watt
  • Laurence Carvalho
  • Jan Dick
  • Ioan Fazey
  • Gemma Garcia-Blanco
  • Bruna Grizzetti
  • Jennifer Hauck
  • Zita Izakovicova
  • Leena Kopperoinen
  • Camino Liquete
  • David Odee
  • Eveliene Steingröver
  • Juliette Young


Publication details

JournalEcosystem Services
DateAccepted/In press - 18 Oct 2017
DatePublished (current) - 27 Oct 2017
Issue numberC
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)441-451
Original languageEnglish


As environmental challenges and their management are increasingly recognised as complex and uncertain, the concept of ecosystem services has emerged from within scientific communities and is gaining influence within policy communities. To better understand how this concept can be turned into practice we examine knowledge needs from the perspective of the different stakeholders directly engaged with the operationalisation of ecosystem systems concept within ten socio-ecologically different case studies from different countries, levels of governance and ecosystems.We identify four different but interrelated areas of knowledge needs, namely; (i) needs related to develop a common understanding, (ii) needs related to the role of formal and informal institutions in shaping action on the ground, (iii) needs related to linking knowledge and action, and (iv) and needs related to accessible and easy to use methods and tools. These findings highlight the need to view knowledge as a process which is orientated towards action. We discuss the potential to develop transdisciplinary research approaches and the development of tools and methods explicitly as boundary objects in the ecosystem service science community to develop more collaborative practices with other stakeholders and facilitate the operationalisation of the concept of ecosystem services across contexts.

Bibliographical note

© 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

This work was carried out as part of the OpenNESS project funded by European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 308428. We thank the participants from the OpenNESS project for their willingness to share information and views on knowledge needs for the operationalisation of the concept of ecosystem services. More information on this project can be found at

    Research areas

  • Ecosystem services, Knowledge needs, Operationalisation, Transdisciplinary research

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