My main research interest is the integration of ecosystem services into management and conservation decision making. Ecosystem services are the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. There has been several high profile initiatives have brought the concept of ecosystem services to the attention of scientists and policymakers globally (e.g. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, The Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), and The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)). As a result, ecosystem services have become an important concept in science and policy as decision makers have to plan for a growing demand of ecosystem services for multiple stakeholders. Despite great accomplishments on ecosystem services research these are still lacking in most policy support tools.
The focus of my PhD research is to contribute in making the ecosystem services concept more operational for policy issues applying the theory and principles of structured decision making. In the first chapter we reviewed the ecosystem services literature to align the ecosystem services paradigm with a comprehensive framework for decision making. In the following chapters we will apply this framework to address the key shortcomings identified in the review. One of the key challenges that we found in the review is that few studies are embedded in a social process designed to address stakeholders needs. We will address this challenge by developing a participatory approach for the assessment of ecosystem services involving multidisciplinary scientific expert knowledge and decision makers.
Information on the spatial and temporal distribution of ecosystem services is fundamental in order to make informed decisions regarding the management and conservation of the supply and demand on ecosystem services. In this study we will develop such knowledge and we will assess their changes resulting from the application of different potential decisions represented by participatory scenarios. The outcomes of this research will be highly contingent for ecosystem services research providing an applied example to inform and guide stakeholders in integrating ecosystem services in policy and decision making.
This project is supported through a Chilean Postgraduate Award (Becas Chile), the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions Postgraduate Award, and a CSIRO Integrative Natural Resource Management Postgraduate Fellowship.