Conflicting interests of ecosystem services: Multi-criteria modelling and indirect evaluation of trade-offs between monetary and non-monetary measures
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEcosystem Services. 2016, 22 280-288. 10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.10.003
Ecosystems provide services for many stakeholder groups, often with a conflict of interests that hampers sustainability. Core to these conflicts is the challenge of trading-off monetary and non-monetary measures. Using the boreal forest as a case, we present a socio-ecologically integrated trade-off model for partly competing services (wood, game hunting, livestock grazing). Drawing on multi-criteria analyses (MCA), we found that wood production unequivocally yielded the highest net present value, but led to a substantial reduction in the performance of hunting and grazing. By imposing multiuse conditions set as minimum performance of the less profitable services, we evaluated the opportunity costs of multiuse without directly pricing non-commodities. We also quantified normalized indices of realized performance potential to evaluate the cost of multiuse with a single, joint metric. Both approaches consistently showed that accepting a rather small loss in one service may secure large gains in other services. By democratically providing a combined monetary and non-monetary evaluation, our approach should facilitate broader acceptance for the decisional metrics among stakeholders. It thereby has the potential to mitigate conflicts, feeding into the larger scheme of adaptive management.