Study reveals true value of elephants

An assessment of the categories used in current ecosystem valuation frameworks, including our additional elements. Categories are from the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) (Haines-Young & Potschin, 2012) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (Díaz et al., 2015). the inclusion of moral values ​​and the feedback loop from societal consequences to biodiversity. The moral values ​​that should be included in nature conservation are social cohesion (included in the IPBES), intergenerational heritage, nature rights, environmental justice and human rights. The specific and tangible services and benefits of elephants to human and non-human nature and the values ​​related to elephant conservation are grouped (middle) in a system of 16 categories ((adapted from Díaz et al., 2018). 16 categories classified predominantly earthly (circle with green border) , partly earthly/partly sacred (brown circle) and mainly sacred (orange circle) The benefits of Nature are presented as a one-way flow from biodiversity to humans according to existing frameworks (below) (Kenter, 2018), but to ensure the improvement of biodiversity and sustainability We include a feedback loop from the collective human sacred principles (sensu Van de Water et al., 2022). Intrinsic value emphasizes this feedback between humans and nature: humans are inherently part of nature. Thus, the feedback loop allows the transition from linear aiming at growth based on the exploitation of natural resources to a cyclical loop aiming mutual welfare based on respect for nature (Va n Norren, 2020) . (For interpretation of color references in this figure legend, the reader is directed to the web version of this article.). Credit: ecosystem services (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2022.101488

New research examining the services and benefits of elephants has revealed that many values ​​are often overlooked when deciding how to protect elephants.

Collaboration between universities in the UK and South Africa, including the University of Portsmouth, has revealed that conservation strategies often have a narrow focus and tend to prioritize certain values ​​of nature, such as economic or ecological, over moral values.

When looking at elephants in particular, the study found financial benefits from ecotourism, trophy hunting, and ivory or as a labor source, often at odds with the animal’s ecological, cultural, and spiritual contributions.

The authors argue that failure to fully understand or consider the value systems of all stakeholders involved in conservation, including local residents, leads to social inequality, conflict and unsustainable strategies.

Co-author Antoinette van de Water, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, said: “We chose to consider elephants as a case study because their conservation can be particularly challenging and contentious.

“We are not saying that the economic contributions are not important, but there are many different values ​​at play and they all need to be considered in conservation strategies if they are to be successful.”

The study also highlights that conservation decision makers tend to take a single worldview when considering the value of nature.

Co-author Dr. from the University of Portsmouth. Lucy Bates said, “A comprehensive approach to values, whether economic, ecological or social, can influence the success of a conservation strategy.

“Think of something like the ivory trade, for example. The international ivory trade is illegal, but many South African countries want to restart trade, which is creating contention on the African continent. If you focus less on the potential economic value of ivory and other ways Elephants can support communities, you’ll be able to play the rules of the game. can change.

“On a smaller scale, you can also apply this framework to define protected areas and what land can be offered to elephants. By listening to those who live in these areas, you can get a clear understanding of how decisions will affect human life as well, and find ways to solve any problems.”

newspaper, published Ecosystem Servicessays nature’s intangible benefits include fun, inspiration, mental health, and social cohesion.

However, he points out that broader moral values ​​such as human rights, environmental justice, nature rights and intergenerational heritage also play a large role in the success of conservation.

The study proposes incorporating moral values ​​for biodiversity conservation into the valuation framework to create a positive cycle between benefits to humans and nature.

The researchers believe this approach will help policymakers and managers better understand what elephants mean to humans, why elephants are important in themselves, and what values ​​and interests are at stake. It can also be applied to other species and ecosystems.

“What is really needed is a change of mind,” Antoinette van de Water added.

“Conservation policies are often based on price tags. Our pluralistic valuation system offers solutions based not on the economic achievements or political status of a few individuals, but rather on the long-term common good and the goals and aspirations of societies.”

More information:
Antoinette van de Water et al, The value of elephants: A pluralistic approach, ecosystem services (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2022.101488. … ii/S22120416220845

Provided by the University of Portsmouth

Quotation: Study reveals true value of elephants (2022, 21 December) retrieved from on December 21, 2022

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