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1 September 2012 The Common Ground of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Demonstrated: A Response to Faith
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There is a curious parallel between our article (Reyers et al. 2012) exploring the alleged differences between biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services and the alleged differences between Faith's views and our own. In fact, Faith's concern with our paper reiterates and demonstrates one of our main points: Narrow interpretations of values make the common ground between biodiversity and ecosystem services seem smaller than it is.

Faith accuses us of narrowing this common ground by focusing on the “biocentric, intrinsic-value perspective” of biodiversity, when in fact, we do not. Faith quotes us as saying “the concept of biodiversity emerges from an intrinsic context” and then argues that “biodiversity conservation equally has its roots in anthropogenic values.” We make this very point within the same sentence: “[A]lthough the concept of biodiversity emerges from an intrinsic context, the conservation of biodiversity is usually motivated by a wide variety of human values and choices.” Similarly, he quotes us as saying that some biodiversity conservation may have “no apparent human benefit,” but our next sentence states that “Such cases may prove hard to find in the real world, since there are few places where protected areas provide absolutely no benefits to people.”

It would appear that our views and those of Faith are not different on this point: Instrumental values hold much potential for finding common ground. Instrumental values are more than direct current use values (a point we make in the paper) and include current and future use and nonuse values, a sentiment that Faith apparently does not share when he states that biodiversity and ecosystem services “differ in how well they capture current and future uses. They are similar but different.” We propose, rather, that improved understanding and quantification of the impacts of environmental change on future provision of services will highlight even more common ground between biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.

Some scientists focus on differences while others focus on similarity and common ground. We think in this case that differences have been exaggerated and common ground is, in fact, common.

Reference cited


B Reyers , S Polasky , H Tallis , HA Mooney , A Larigauderie . 2012. Finding common ground for biodiversity and ecosystem services. BioScience 62: 503–507. Google Scholar
Belinda Reyers, Stephen Polasky, Heather Tallis, Harold A. Mooney, and Anne Larigauderie "The Common Ground of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Demonstrated: A Response to Faith," BioScience 62(9), 785-786, (1 September 2012).
Published: 1 September 2012

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