Is green the new gold? exploring the possible implications of an Ecosystem Services based wave of Neo-mercantilism
Authors: Katharine Farrell
Abstract: This paper develops a set of conceptual and methodological tools for studying the political economy of ecosystem services. These build on the paper ‘Intellectual mercantilism and franchise equity.’ The concept of Intellectual Mercantilism is unpacked, as a tool that points to the power asymmetric ecological political economy of international payments for ecosystem services (IPES), where physical materials that were not previously part of the global money system are accreted, via commodification, to private paper money book values, by creating the idea of a product. Methodologically it is argued that this neo-mercantilist logic compromises the existential right of local and indigenous peoples in tropical countries to political and economic self determination. The methodological tool of ‘walking forward together,’ is proposed as an alternative: not only do the ideations of these local ‘service providers’ guide problem framing, but these persons collaborate in establishing the ontological, epistemological and theoretical foundations of our work.
Ecosystem services flows: why stakeholders’ power relationships matter
Authors: María Felipe-Lucia, Berta Martín-López, Sandra Lavorel, Luis Berraquero-Díaz, Javier Escalera-reyes, Francisco A. Comín
Abstract: The ecosystem services framework has enabled the broader public to acknowledge the benefits nature provides to people. However, not everybody profit equally from these services. Power relationships mediate the access of people to ecosystem services. We propose a conceptual framework to reflect power relationships that mediate ecosystem services flows by integrating the analysis of biophysical interactions among ecosystem services and of stakeholders’ interactions. We tested the framework in a case study detecting: (i) keystone ecosystem services that determine the provision of other ecosystem services, (ii) relevant services for each stakeholder group, (iii) the capability of stakeholders for managing each service and their implications in other ecosystem services, and (iv) power asymmetries between stakeholders derived from their capacities of managing ecosystem services. Finally, we discuss the application of this conceptual framework for the management of ecosystem services and socio-ecological systems.
Power and institutions: A critical institutionalist perspective to Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)
Authors: Gert Van Hecken, Johan Bastiaensen, Catherine Windey, Sam Wong
Abstract: This paper offers an analysis of the key issues and different perspectives in the Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) debate. Drawing on important questions and critiques that have emerged from this debate, we argue that an expanded actor-oriented and more power-sensitive conceptualization of PES is still needed in order to understand the variegated ways in which PES projects play out on the ground. Building on insights from ‘critical institutionalism’, we explore three key challenges for future PES research: (1) the autopoietic character of social-ecological systems and its consequences for institutional fit; (2) the power and political dimensions related to institutional arrangements; and (3) the diversity of knowledge and motivations based on socio-culturally informed models of agency. A more explicit focus on these challenges can help generate novel insights in the power geographies underlying institutional logics, and thus the complex ways in which PES is designed and experienced in the field.
PORES workshop: stepping into the debate of power relations and ecosystem services
Authors: Elisa Oteros-rozas, Luis Berraquero-Díaz, Marta Berbes-blazquez, Oscar Coppieters, Giacomo D’alisa, Maria Del Mar Delgado Serrano, Art Dewulf, Javier Escalera-reyes
Abstract: We believe there is an urgent need to address power relations of and within the ecosystem services (ES) framework. During 23-24 October 2014, in a workshop (PORES) held in the Universidad Pablo de Olavide of Seville, 22 academics participated at a critical and innovative space for debate on this topic. Given the aim of this Special Session to continue that moment, in this contribution we will present the lines along which the debate at PORES flowed. The debate pivoted around two scales of analysis: the power of the ES framework itself, and the analysis of power relations in ES research. Debates and proposals emerged both in terms of theory/epistemology and methods/tools to be applied in ES research. An overall reflection was expressed that the relation between the ES framework and power relations’ analysis is a meta-framework, a starting point of a path difficult to go across.